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UK Labour’s shadow home secretary slams ‘disturbing’ EU detentions

Published: (Updated: ) in European News by .

Nick Thomas-Symonds said the detentions were ‘a shame on this government.’

LONDON — The detention of European Union nationals who have fallen foul of the U.K. government’s visa rules should not be happening, Labour’s shadow home secretary said Tuesday.

Nick Thomas-Symonds said he was “really disturbed” by POLITICO’s reports that EU citizens had been detained at the U.K. border and held in centers for up to seven days before being returned to their home countries.

“This is about a scheme, the EU settlement scheme, that the government is itself supposed to be administering. They have to make sure that it works in a humane, compassionate, and workable way. That sort of thing shouldn’t be happening to people, it’s a shame on this government,” he said.

Labour’s own immigration proposals would be “compassionate” and “fair,” he told a POLITICO Live event. Detention centers with “an appalling record of conditions” would be closed under Labour, he added. Last week, the government said that while air travel was disrupted due to the pandemic it would update its policy to avoid such detentions.

He also accused ministers of being too slow to impose “red-list” travel restrictions requiring hotel quarantine on arrivals from India, and a “longer-tail of failure to protect the border” during the coronavirus pandemic after 2,323 cases of a variant of the virus originating in India were discovered in the U.K.

Thomas-Symonds risked putting himself at odds with his leader Keir Starmer in making it clear he believed prisoners should not be given the right to vote. Starmer suggested in 1996 that prisoners could be given proxy votes.

Speaking as questions mount about Starmer’s strategy as Labour leader following his party’s defeat in the Hartlepool by-election and poor local election results in England, Thomas-Symonds insisted the opposition could build a coalition of voters both in former industrial heartlands and wealthier metropolitan areas. He cited his home nation of Wales as an example of success “staring us in the face,” where Labour had won votes in both the capital city Cardiff and more working-class areas in the Welsh valleys.

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He warned party members to be “open-minded” as the party reshapes its policy plan. Starmer is under pressure from many members of the party who see radical pledges drawn up under predecessor Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, including a promise to re-nationalize key industries, including rail, energy networks and Royal Mail, as key to Labour’s success.

“The issue we have is that we’ve had the global pandemic so it isn’t a question of picking bits of this manifesto or that manifesto or abandoning this bit or not abandoning that bit. We have to now reimagine how we are going to best come out of this pandemic, and build back a fairer society,” he said.

Source: POLITICO https://www.politico.eu/article/labour-slams-disturbing-eu-detentions/?utm_source=RSS_Feed&utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=RSS_Syndication

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