Reception of applicants for international protection
Delivered in Plenary - 12th June 2013
I am extremely proud to represent my London constituency, which is widely recognised as being one of the most multicultural and diverse cities in the world.
However, I stand firm in my opposition to the creation of a harmonised European asylum and immigration system. I strongly believe that, while cooperation in asylum and migration issues may undoubtedly be sometimes necessary, it is paramount that this remains primarily a Member State competence. Large-scale immigration to the UK in recent years is placing unsustainable pressure on Britainís public resources. I cannot support a directive that would jeopardise Britainís sovereignty to regulate in this priority policy area.
Nevertheless, I recognise that there are indeed certain beneficial aspects in the proposed directive: its focus on enhancing the quality of legislation cannot be questioned, for instance, and it does well to detail improved measures for the protection of unaccompanied minors, whilst also going some way in the direction of recognising the competence of Member States in regulating their own labour markets.
Tougher immigration controls are at the top of the political agenda in the UK right now, so I cannot support this directive as currently framed.