Merkel Joins the Fray – Brexit Seems Ever More Likely

David Cameron has experienced enormous pressure to take a tough stance on immigration an EEA immigration issues of late. On the one side he has the simplistic and sometimes verging-on-racist “coming over here, taking our jobs” brigade. And the importance of their voice is vastly amplified by the defection of Tory MPs and voters to UKip.

From the other side he has the gentler and  more  thoughtful voices of elder statesmen from his own party as well as those of economists and business pointing out that the measures for which the crowd bays would be economically damaging to the UK.

The Conservatives have stated that they will try to curb EEA migration if re-elected (it is unclear how this would be lawful without withdrawing form the EU, as it violates a fundamental principle of the Union).

Now Angela Merkel has jumped in. She warns him that attempting to limit immigration from within the EU  would amount to “a point of no return” for the UK- Der Speigel has reported that for the first time Merkel has become increasingly worried about a British exit from the EU (dubbed “Brexit”). It is thought that Germany would cease its efforts to keep the UK within the Union if any effort was made to impose such a cap.

Cameron has stated that, if re-elected in May, he will hold an in-or-out referendum in 2017. He wishes to remain in the UK and knows it is best for the UK, but will sacrifice that benefit for his own and his party’s political gain.

This immigration blog post: Immigration Lawyer Jeremy Chipperfield, practising from the chambers of Michael Mansfield QC, Chancery Lane, also writes at Immigration Barrister website www.iBarristersChambers.com

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Photo: thanks Fabian

This immigration blog post: Immigration Lawyer Jeremy Chipperfield, practising from the chambers of Michael Mansfield QC, Chancery Lane, also writes at Immigration Barrister website www.iBarristersChambers.com

Mouth, Trousers, and the European Immigration Cap

Boris Johnson, Mayor of London suggested the idea.   Now No. 10 is letting it be believed  that it is considering a cap on immigration to the UK from the EEA.

It is hard to see how such a proposed cap could be consistent with the central treaty commitment of free movement [Ed- immigration barrister says a simple overall cap would not be lawful]. Whilst some other European nations are hearing similar anti-Euro-immigration rhetoric from their politicians, the promises made are different in kind.

In Germany, for example, there is talk about limiting the period for which immigrants can stay whilst unemployed (possibly through careful construction of the Treaty concept of exercise of treaty rights). In France there is talk of cracking down on “abus”of  social security benefits (the European laws on benefits are very much more flexible than those on free movement).

This is more than just a difference of opinion. Imposing a cap in the way suggested would require a change to the Treaty and this is impossible without unanimity. French PM has stated unequivocally that he would not support such a change. And others may express the same view (if asked).

Ourtgoing European Commission president José Manuel Barroso stated an arbitrary cap on immigration into Britain will never be accepted by the European Union…  it would give rise to first and second class citizens within the EU and would not be agreed by member states.

So, what are the Torys on about? Did they forget about the Treaty obligation? Do they expect the rest of Europe to follow its iead? Do they need to consult their own immigration lawyers, or is this just another “great deceit”, a cheap ploy to win naive political support?

thanks id iom
thanks id iom

This immigration blog post: Immigration Lawyer Jeremy Chipperfield, practising from the chambers of Michael Mansfield QC, Chancery Lane, also writes at Immigration Barrister website www.iBarristersChambers.com

Coup de Grâce Imminent? Immigration, Visas and a Ticket to No 10

Boris enters the ring for the third time, carrying a small red cape. He stares Cameron in they eye, taunting him with the cape and goading him to react. Under the cloth, he grips his weapon- the immigration debate.

Weakened by the humiliation of last week’s by-elections  and the prospect of more of the same from Rochester on November 20th, the Tory leadership was already hurting. Then, still bruised from the  UKip defections, and amidst dissatisfied murmuring from his once loyal audience, David Cameron has had to endure a vicious, barbed attack from behind- from those whom he might have hoped he could trust.

Despite Boris’ faintly ridiculous presentation (that well-crafted, charismatic Façade) this is a serious matter and London’s Mayor has mortal intent. Last week he told us (via David Marr) that the Tory manifesto pledge to cut immigration by 100,000 was a “great deception”. Now he he informs us via The Telegraph that Cameron’s UK immigration system is “out of control” and that Britain has become a “magnet for the hordes at Calais”.

With a flourish, he shows his superiority over his poor dumb opponent and reveals the simplicity of the dilemma it faces:- We can get our traditional Tory voters back, he says, if we just impose quotas for EU migration. Olé!

[Immigration barrister note: Yea, but:  there is no legal way, within the EU, to impose quotas on community citizens entering the UK].

The practicalities are unimportant. Because politics is about getting power and power is about getting votes, and votes can be got by the flamboyant actions, and overblown promises of larger-than-life personalities. By the time the lies and consequences are revealed- well, its too late. The careers of the more thoughtful (and principled?) discussants will lie broken and defeated, alongside the promises of the moment.

Whilst there is nothing surprising here, what is interesting is the marked increase in tempo- a dual attempt to stir the crowd generally into a frenzy of immigration hatred, and Tory Supporters in particular, into intolerable feelings of discontent with their current leadership. One thing is surely clear- Boris smells blood, and senses a leadership competition coming soon.

Love and Marriage; Horse and Carriage; “Immigrant” and “Illegal”; “Asylum-seeker” and “failed”; Politicians and unprincipled, power-hungry egotists.

Cruel Bullfight Barbaric primitive
Photo: thanks Mait Jüriado

This immigration blog post: Immigration Lawyer Jeremy Chipperfield, practising from the chambers of Michael Mansfield QC, Chancery Lane, also writes at Immigration Barrister website www.iBarristersChambers.com

Satanic Pacts, Long Knives, Discomfort and Joy – Politics and UK Immigration

Buoyed up by last week’s by-election victory and forecasts of another in November, Nigel Farage has named his price for UKip’s support of a minority Tory Government: an in-out Euro Referendum before August 2015. If this all sounds “a bit previous”, it is worth noting that two weekend polls  put UKip at having 25% and 15% of nationwide electoral support. So what does all this mean to the existing party political landscape? Quite a lot. For the Tory leadership the pressure is really on to move to to a UKipian stance on Europe and immigration generally. The party has lost supporters- but there is time to win them back before the May election if direction is changed on these key areas. But a shift now would look like exactly what it is- giving in on a point of principle; just waiting, on the other hand, could be fatal for the current leadership if they lose in November. Oh, and I have to mention Boris Johnson in this context- his comments on the Andrew Marr Show will increase David Cameron’s discomfort (Tory manifesto pledge on cutting immigration was a great deception). For the Tories generally the fear is that the significant anti-Europe and anti immigration sector of their electorate will continue to migrate to UKip, damaging their prospects at the next general election in May 2015. They are stuck with a leader who has been reluctant to commit to a firm position on Europe and many in their leadership who see the social and economic dangers of withdrawal from the EU. They are faced with the choice of two ignominies: being seen to back down to UKip’s demands- many still see it as an upstart and caving in would be a humiliation; or sacrificing their leadership, which would have the same effect but could be painted as something different- a pre-existing opinion amongst the party, independent of UKip’s demands and successes. Labour too has lost some support to UKip, though not so much as the Tories. The impact here will depend on what happens to the bulk of the anti vote- will UKip split the right and damage Tory election prospects to Labour’s advantage? Or will an alliance or a deal arise between those others? Labour’s response will depend on the direction taken by the Torys and UKip. If the anti-vote was in any significant way to split the right, Labour could benefit from presenting the only real alternative. If the next election turns into an anti-immigration fashion parade… well who knows? For UKip of course, things couldn’t be going any better. They’ll drink to that.

This immigration blog post: Immigration Lawyer Jeremy Chipperfield, practising from the chambers of Michael Mansfield QC, Chancery Lane, also writes at Immigration Barrister website www.iBarristersChambers.com

uk immigration barrister13oct14
thanks Johns Hopkins

This immigration blog post: Immigration Lawyer Jeremy Chipperfield, practising from the chambers of Michael Mansfield QC, Chancery Lane, also writes at Immigration Barrister website www.iBarristersChambers.com

Cutting UK Visas to Spite… what, exactly?

The attack against UK visa caps continues today in a letter to The Times  from eight award-winning scientists who point out that international collaborations lie behind a significant proportion of the UK’s scientific output and it is  as a result international element that  the UK remains a leader in scientific research. British science depends upon globalised research, they say. Nobel prize winner Professor O’Keefe (vivisector) spoke on Radio 4’s Today programme to describe how the Immigration Rules had presented “a very very large obstacle”. Replying to Home Office pleas that there is scope for world-leading scientists he said “I am very very acutely aware of what you have to do if you want to bring people into Britain and to get through immigration. I’m not saying its impossible, but we should be thinking hard about making Britain a more welcoming place”. Several university Vice Chancellors have hit out against the present UK government’s immigration controls- most recently Oxford University’s Vice-Chancellor Andrew Hamilton told fellow academics that the controls are “directly harming UK interests”. He continued “wherever I travel in the world, particularly China and India, one question persists- Why has the UK adopted a visa system so hostile to student entry?… the question baffles me as well”. The British Council predicted this week that the growth in international post-graduate students coming to Britain will slow by around 12% over the next decade. Last week, Business Secretary Vince Cable warned that restricting non-EU workers was beginning to damage UK’s economic recovery. And on and on… The Home Office have said that a new “exceptional talent visa” will provide for the needs in scientific and engineering fields. “The UK is open to the brightest and the best, including talented scientists and engineers, and it is wrong to suggest our companies are prevented from appointing the skilled workers they need”. BTW, Herald Scotland reports: Vince Cable has called his coalition partners “UKIP without the beer” and said Labour offered “French socialism without the sex”. It would be once to hear some thoughtful debate on these important issues without the inane soundbites,  puerile scrapping and appeals to the perceived baser instincts of the electorate. UK visa barrister

This immigration blog post: Immigration Lawyer Jeremy Chipperfield, practising from the chambers of Michael Mansfield QC, Chancery Lane, also writes at Immigration Barrister website www.iBarristersChambers.com

Hard to Swallow: Racially-Aggravated Criminal Damage

Screen Shot 2014-10-05 at 18.36.22 I thought you might like to see this. You won’t get to see the original as it was destroyed by Tendring District Council as part of its enlightened campaign against racism. Apparently. It seems there was a complaint that the work was racist and offensive. Whether to pigeons or the swallow is not stated. The painting materialised in Clacton-on-Sea (where Tory defector Douglas Carswell is about to fight a by-election for UKIP and where 32 of the 60 present Councillors are Conservative and 2 UKIP).

This immigration blog post: Immigration Lawyer Jeremy Chipperfield, practising from the chambers of Michael Mansfield QC, Chancery Lane, also writes at Immigration Barrister website www.iBarristersChambers.com

Tories to Reinvent Human Rights

The Conservatives have pledged to free the UK from the tyranny of Human Rights, if elected in the next May. “People in this Country are fed up with human rights being used as an excuse for unacceptable behaviour”- Justice Secretary, Chris Grayling.

The combined effect of the European Convention on Human Rights  and the Human Rights Act 1998 has been a constant dampener on Tory plans to make Britain a better place (for the British) and there has long been talk of limiting its effect. Immigration barristers have often heard criticisms of the ECHR made by Home Office immigration barristers at court.

Article 8 has come in for most criticism in this context. It provides for the protection of family and private life. The Home Office made changes to the Immigration Rules, effective from July 2012, variously described as intended to incorporate the Article 8 protection into the Immigration Rules and to free our domestic courts from the tyranny of the European Court of Human Rights. The effect, however is almost always restrictive of any protective effect.

The new proposals, which are to be included in the party’s general election manifesto, will reach much further. They will provide a parliamentary override of  judgements from the Strasbourg court, preventing those judgements from being followed by the domestic courts and tribunals. This effectively diminishes an important protection against State actions.

Opponents also claim this will add to existing threats against the rule of international human rights law arising from Russia and other nations’ resistance to the enforcement of Strasbourg Court decisions.

The text of the original Convention will be imported into domestic law (a similar tactic to that taken by the Home Secretary in her private legislation, the Immigration Rules, in relation to Article 8). The UK courts will be told they need not take into account Strasbourg jurisdiction to interpret it. The Human Rights Act 1998 will be scrapped.

immigration barrister Article *
thanks, Anon

This immigration blog post: Immigration Lawyer Jeremy Chipperfield, practising from the chambers of Michael Mansfield QC, Chancery Lane, also writes at Immigration Barrister website www.iBarristersChambers.co