I have spent much of my time over the last three weeks serving on the Committee scrutinising the Immigration and Social Security Coordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill, working with colleagues to try to improve the Bill which Labour opposed at Second Reading.
This is a contingency Bill, providing a legal framework for EU/EEA and Swiss nationals if we leave the EU without a deal later this month. It doesn’t establish the post-Brexit immigration system, on which the Government is currently consulting, so we are still headed for a ‘blindfold Brexit’ in this area as well as on the economy, which I wrote about in the New Statesman.
I spoke on a number of our amendments on citizens’ rights, including the Settled Status scheme for EU nationals and their family members, their right to appeal and call for physical documentation as proof of status, rather than just digital proof and the rights of British citizens in the EU.
We also used the Bill to raise wider concerns on our immigration system, including on introducing a 28-day limit on immigration detention on which I spoke. You can find the transcript for the entire proceedings and the written evidence we received here.
Unfortunately the Government used their majority on the Committee to defeat all of our amendments, but we will continue to push on these issues at Report Stage, when the Bill is debated by the whole House of Commons.