A Conservative MP has called on the government to create separate immigration channels at airports for British nationals and those from countries that maintain HM The Queen as head of state. The call came during a Westminster Hall debate on improving immigration arrangements for Commonwealth Nationals.
At present there are two channels at immigration controls, one for UK, EU and EEA nationals and another for the rest of the world. But Conservative MP Andrew Rosindell has called for changes to allow the fast-tracking of all “subjects of Her Majesty” for those from large countries like Australia and Canada but also smaller countries like The Soloman Islands and The Bahamas.
Mr Rosindell said: “It is a travesty that citizens from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Jamaica, all of Her Majesty’s Realms have to queue up in the foreign nationals channel at London Heathrow airport, while citizens from European Union countries that have never had any historical connection to the Crown or the United Kingdon, are allowed to enter alongside British citizens by virtue of their EU membership.”
This is not the first time the Thatcherite has attempted to force the Home Office to give preferential treatment to the Queen’s other realms. In 2012 he introduced the UK Borders Bill but it ran out of time and never received a second reading.
He said: “Since my Bill, I became aware of the Smart Gates schemes in Australia and New Zealand, which allow for a separate queue for nationals from Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, the UK, and the US. This shows that similar designs could be adopted in the UK in a Commonwealth Realm context. This would illustrate powerfully the renewed value of being a subject of Her Majesty’s Realms.”
During his speech Mr Rosindell also attacked the government’s plan to give 25,000 free visas to Chinese tourists. He claimed that it was unacceptable to offer a preferential deal to China as long as they were denying the Foreign Affairs Select Committee the right to visit Hong Kong to monitor whether human rights were being abused. He called for these free visas to be given to the Commonwealth.
Rosindell said he advocated: “The ability to favour immigration from countries where Britain enjoys longstanding cultural and historic links. Countries where English is the common language; shared values and principles; the rule of law; and who share a common judicial and parliamentary systems.”
“These are, of course, the countries of the Commonwealth of Nations and most especially the fifteen Realms with whom an even closer bond exists, along with a shared constitutional link, in Her Majesty The Queen who remains as much their Head of State as she does our own.”
But the longstanding Eurosceptic warned: “Despite these special ties, since our accession to the Common Market, Britain appears to have discarded the potential for trade, immigration and co-operation with the Commonwealth in order to accommodate the new European political union that now dominates so much about the way we are governed today. It really is time for a radical re-think.”
Despite the British people “demanding change” nothing is likely to happen unless the UK leaves the EU.