Paul Blomfield MP

Member of Parliament for Sheffield Central

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This morning I sought assurances from the Speaker of the House of Commons that I can continue to support the appeal against the deportation of my constituent Mr Pride Mbi, once Parliament is dissolved for the General Election.

Pride faces life-threatening removal to Cameroon, so I was pleased to hear from the Speaker this morning that I can continue to work on his case.

Pride has long fought for the rights of English-speaking Cameroonians, who face a specific threat in the country. Shortly after his arrival in the UK, Pride learned that his father who, like him, had been active in the opposition group Southern Cameroons National Council (SCNC), had been killed.

I have raised the lack of published country guidance for Cameroon with the Home Office and will to continue to push for the case to be properly considered. Pride has huge support in the city.

I will keep fighting for Pride

This morning I sought assurances from the Speaker of the House of Commons that I can continue to support the appeal against the deportation of my constituent Mr Pride Mbi,...

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Yesterday, I spoke in the final Commons debate on the Government’s Higher Education and Research Bill to repeat my calls for the Government to develop a positive strategy for international student recruitment. 

International students enable growth, generate earnings and create jobs in towns and cities across the country like Sheffield. They account for almost £11billion of UK export earnings.

As I said in Parliament yesterday, a sensible Government would be looking at those facts and saying ‘how can we strengthen our appeal to international students?’ But instead the Government has actually undermined our ability to recruit international students.

Policies like including students in net migration figures, which the Government is trying to slash, and reducing opportunities for students to take up employment here once they graduate have seen international student numbers stagnate. These policies have been pursued despite evidence showing the public don’t see international students as migrants, with 75% of people want to see numbers stay the same or go up.

The Prime Minister has ignored calls to change her approach, including from those within her own Government. So whilst international student numbers in the UK are stagnating, our competitors are seizing the advantage, with Australia having seen a 35% increase in numbers in 2015 following an active campaign to recruit more at the expense of the UK.

You can read the speech I made yesterday in Parliament here.

The Government’s approach to international students is harming our city

Yesterday, I spoke in the final Commons debate on the Government’s Higher Education and Research Bill to repeat my calls for the Government to develop a positive strategy for international...

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The Government has put dogma before common sense by announcing that they will not require universities to adopt the Sheffield student voter registration model, which gives students the option to register to vote when they enrol at university, despite backing from the House of Lords.

I have led the campaign to make the model of integrating university enrolment and voter registration, which was successfully developed between the University of Sheffield and Sheffield City Council, compulsory for all universities. The ‘Sheffield model’, which has been supported by the Cabinet Office, has won the backing of the Association of Electoral Administrators and the National Union of Students. In trials it achieved voter registration levels exceeding 65%, many times higher than other approaches.

I proposed an amendment to the Government’s Higher Education and Research Bill to achieve this objective, which was rejected in the House of Commons. An amendment to the same end proposed by Labour Peer Baroness Royall won support when the Bill was debated in the House of Lords, and was due to return to the Commons this week. During negotiations on the final drafting of the Bill, which must be concluded before Parliament is dissolved for the General Election campaign, I urged the Government to adopt the simple tried and tested Sheffield model. The Government’s agreed amendment to the Bill on the issue proposes a weaker obligation on governing bodies of universities to cooperate with electoral registration officers in local councils.

This is hugely disappointing. The Government clearly accepts there is a problem getting students on the electoral register, and they know that our system works, but their proposed amendment falls short of the action needed. 

Government rejection of Sheffield student voter registration model is a missed opportunity

The Government has put dogma before common sense by announcing that they will not require universities to adopt the Sheffield student voter registration model, which gives students the option to...


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