Parliament returned in dramatic style at the start of the week after the Easter recess. The Speaker, John Bercow, can divide opinion but he is a passionate supporter of the voice of backbenchers and the House of Commons as a whole and its duty to scrutinise the Government and hold it to account. On Monday he granted two emergency debates on our involvement in airstrikes in Syria as well as an Urgent Question on British citizenship and the Windrush Generation.
The Windrush Generation were the first significant number of people to move to this country from the Caribbean after the War, named after one of the large passenger ships involved. In some cases children came listed on their parents’ passports. All these years later some cases have emerged where the citizenships were never formalised. It has come to light as the Government have tightened some rules on access to NHS treatment and certain welfare entitlements. It is an unintended consequence, an example of one policy area affecting another in a way that was not predicted. It is not clear how many people may be affected in this way; certainly the vast majority of these Commonwealth citizens will have had cause to formalise their status over the years. The Home Office has now set up a special team aimed to resolve any outstanding cases in the next two weeks. However, any case where these people, many of whom have made great contributions to our country, paid taxes and raised families, is a case too many and any distress caused is a matter of deep regret. If you may be in the group affected and are worried about your status please do get in touch and I will do everything I can to help.
The UK involvement in airstrikes against chemical weapons facilities in Syria was successful in degrading those capabilities of the Assad regime and that is certainly a good thing. Without a preparedness to use force international law would be meaningless. That fast and decisive action was taken alongside France and America is also in contrast with the slow deliberations of the United Nations and also to some extent the European Union.
It is right that Parliament debates and scrutinises the Government’s actions. However, the debates themselves tend to demonstrate why it is not right that MPs vote on all matters of national security. It was pretty clear that those taking part have little access to our Intelligence gathering beyond what is in the newspapers. Perhaps given the company that some Labour MPs choose to keep that is just as well.
As always, if you would like to get in touch about these issues, if you think I may be able to help with a problem or would like to book an appointment at one of my regular advice surgeries across the constituency, please do call 01935314321 or email email@example.com