Feature of the fortnight
With Angela Merkel’s government facing turmoil, following an inconclusive election in September and failed talks to form a coalition, where does that leave Britain? The Guardian and The Daily Mail both hold opposing views on what Germany’s political turmoil may mean for the UK and Brexit. The Guardian argues that Germany, under Merkel, was supposed to be an ally for Britain in the Brexit negotiations, but now that the German government is in turmoil, it is unlikely any decisions will be made imminently. However, The Daily Mail believes the decline in Merkel’s popularity has come at an opportune time, claiming that Germany in disarray gives Britain the chance to ‘seize the initiative and fulfil what every person who voted for Brexit wanted’. The article argues that if Merkel cannot form another government, Britain should not wait for Brussels to decide our fate. The Independent provides a well-balanced piece weighing up both the positives and negatives of Merkel’s potential departure, concluding that either way, if Merkel leaves it will create more uncertainty for businesses, but may also provide a ‘ray of hope’ for the UK.
Meghan Markle and the Immigration Rules on marriage
Free Movement – 28 November
This week, the engagement of Prince Harry and American-born Meghan Markle was announced: Colin Yeo examines the immigration law on marriage as a result of this proposal and explores the position of the future royal. Yeo discusses the differences between a marriage visit visa and a fiancée visa.
Brexit strongly linked to xenophobia, scientists conclude
The Independent – 27 November
Two papers conducted by international research scientists have concluded that support for Brexit is linked to xenophobia. The study found that considerations of age, gender and education did not alter the outcome of the study. The Independent cite the Home Office ‘go home’ vans among other campaigns as contributing factors to xenophobia.
Record 71,000 foreign students are admitted to UK universities: Figures confound fears immigration policies would put potential graduates off
The Daily Mail – 27 November
Statistics published by UCAS reveal that a record number of overseas students attended UK universities this year. Nearly 71,000 students accepted places, a 2% rise from last year, which has quashed fears that Brexit would affect the number of university applications from foreign students.
Senior Indian diplomat: Britain must accept more immigration if it wants a free trade deal
Politics Home – 24 November
Although talks about a free trade deal between Britain and India have not started, Mr Sinha, India’s High Commissioner to the UK has stated that the UK would have to accept higher levels of immigration from India in order for a partnership to be profitable for both countries. Politics Home reports that Mr Sinha has suggested the free movement of professionals in return for a free trade deal.
Fourth death at Lincoln immigration removal centre prompts inquiry
The Guardian – 20 November
A 27-year old Iraqi man is the fourth person to die at the Lincoln immigration removal centre in the last year, sparking an investigation conducted by the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman. One detainee spoke to the Guardian and likened the conditions and treatment received in the detention centres to that of prisons. It is thought that the cause of death was suicide.
First child refugee from Greek camps comes to UK
The Guardian – 18 November
The first child refugee from the Greek camps is arriving in the UK in November, over a year after the government agreed to take hundreds of refugee children. The government have not kept their promises after changes by the Home Office have reduced the number of children eligible to come to the UK down to 40.
Revealed: legal advice for asylum seekers disappearing due to legal aid cuts
Yahoo News – 15 November
Changes made to the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act (LASPO) in 2013 are making it increasingly difficult for asylum seekers to access legal aid. Areas of law such as ‘refugee family reunion, deportation and claims for the right to remain in the UK for children and young adults’ are no longer eligible for legal aid. Last month, the government announced a review of current procedures.