Government must ensure immigration policy applies equally across the UK

DUP Leader Gavin Robinson MP has called on the Government to prevent a fracture in immigration policy between different regions of the United Kingdom after the High Court in Belfast found that operating the Rwanda scheme in Northern Ireland would be incompatible with Article 2 of the NI Protocol.

By Gavin Robinson Candidate

Belfast East

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Responding to the judgement Mr Robinson said:

‘‘The DUP has repeatedly warned that the Government’s efforts on immigration would not apply in Northern Ireland. The Government repeatedly closed its mind to the incompatibility of their legislation with the Northern Ireland Protocol, yet our concerns have been accepted by the High Court in Belfast this morning.

Whilst today’s judgement does not come as a surprise, it does blow the Government’s irrational claims that the Rwanda scheme could extend equally to Northern Ireland completely out of the water. We presented the Government with an opportunity during the passage of the Safety of Rwanda Bill in the House of Commons and the Lords to accept an amendment which would have put beyond doubt what it claims to be the case around the operation of the scheme. It is telling that it chose not to do so.

This ruling must also mark a watershed moment in the Government’s approach. For Ministers to ignore what the courts have said would not be merely a case of sleepwalking into the creation of immigration border in the Irish Sea but rather embarking on such a path with eyes wide open.

It is imperative that immigration policy applies equally across every part of the United Kingdom. As unionists, we are clear that our national parliament should have the ability to make decisions on immigration that are applicable on a national basis. If that were not the case, it would not only be a constitutional affront but would make Northern Ireland a magnet for asylum seekers seeking to escape enforcement.’’

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