Mercury column – May 2018

Everyone hoped that the stormy weather had passed until next winter, giving respite for those residents in Hemsby who have seen their homes battered over-and-over again. Unfortunately, yet again a destructive combination of strong winds and high tides has wreaked havoc along the Hemsby coastline. It is heart breaking to see the situation worsen so quickly and more homes destroyed. Whilst undertaking my Parliamentary duties in London, I’ve been in constant contact with borough councillors, who have kept me updated with the work the council has undertaken to make the area safe. I was able to see that work when I visited later in the week and hear how the public agencies, the emergency services and the local community rallied together to provide shelter for those affected and ensure that people are kept safe. It remains vital that the Environment Agency completes their coastline review, consider the best options, and agree a way forward.

A very different storm was still howling around Westminster at the start of the week. It is right that the Home Office resolves the issues faced by the Windrush generation, yet Labour politicians seem determined to use it as a reason to disrupt the important work the Government is undertaking to tackle and deport illegal immigrants. It’s worthwhile restating what I said in my January column in this newspaper. The Government has focussed on building a controlled immigration system, making sure that people are in the UK legally, which resulted in net immigration falling by nearly a third in the last year. Where someone remains in Britain illegally they can expect the full force of the law to be used for their removal. That includes the new powers cracking down on rogue landlords and employers who abuse the system, who make it easier for illegal migrants to live and work here.  We will use new laws to close or freeze the bank accounts of illegal migrants. The previous Labour Government refused to tackle the problem of foreign criminals in our country, allowing thousands to continue to abuse our country and turn to crime. We’ll continue our hard-line approach of removing foreign offenders who have a serious crime record. It’s a tough but fair immigration policy.