Ed Davey: ‘We were wrong to go along with the Tories on immigration’

The Guardian reports:

The Liberal Democrats were wrong to agree harsh immigration measures such as minimum income thresholds for families, one of the party’s former cabinet ministers has admitted, as the party sets out reforms to “detoxify” the debate.

Ed Davey, the party’s home affairs spokesman who was energy secretary during part of the 2010-2015 coalition, said imposing a minimum income level for British citizens to bring spouses or family from non-EU countries had been devastating for many people and had split up families.

Davey said it had been one of the “trade-offs” of coalition which the party would now campaign to reverse.

“It was one of the worst coalition decisions, one of the toughest for me personally and for many Liberal Democrats,” he told the Guardian. “We didn’t want to give in on some issues, like green energy, the pupil premium, income tax thresholds, and they didn’t want to give in on immigration.

“There were things we did have to go along with which I thought were wrong. This was an uncomfortable compromise, absolutely, and it’s one of the reasons why I would love to get rid of this as quickly as possible – it is nasty and unfair.”

You can read further remarks from Ed on this subject in the full Guardian article here.

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17 Comments

  • James Baillie 31st Aug '18 - 11:31am

    Pity that the minimum income cap isn’t properly being revoked – No Recourse to Public Funds, as it was in place under the Blair/Brown governments, did exactly the same thing in a more arbitrary and back-door manner. For the paper to match the rhetoric, we need to get rid of NRPF.

  • Just one of several wrong decisions which hammered us in local & national elections from 2011 onwards. Interestingly quite a good percentage vote at Sevenoaks yesterday but before we have any great celebrating headline, let us recall that this was a seat we won i9n 20003 & 2007.

  • So our MPs are already positioning for the leadership contest to come? Perhaps Mr Davey could remind us of how he voted on tuition fees?

  • John Marriott 31st Aug '18 - 1:39pm

    That’s what happens with coalition government. It’s called, amongst other things, compromise. If we ever get PR it’s quite likely that we shall get coalition government on a regular basis. After all, countries like Germany haven’t done that badly with only one majority government since 1949. It’s time we got used to it!

  • David Becket 31st Aug '18 - 2:33pm

    @ John Marriott
    So correct. I worked at Local Government level with both Labour and Tories, we got things done and we compromised.
    Rose Garden, Student Fees and Bedroom Tax without offering an alternative were wrong, but much of it we had little choice other than to walk away. We did get some of our policies through.
    The press does not like coalitions, and will continue to have a go at us However austerity went to far and it is right to offer alternatives now, without asking our MPs how they voted on individual matters.Let us look forward not back.

  • One alternative to a coalition in a hung parliament is that we would demand that 20% (say) of Government Bills would be Lib Dem Bills – introduced and steered through Parliament by Lib Dem spokespeople. Government bills have adequate parliamentary time and can have financial implications. We would have to win parliamentary support for them – most likely from MPs of the bigger party but it could be a cross-party coalition. But the bigger party would be minded that they would have to win parliamentary support for their proposals – most likely from us. We would only maintain our confidence in the Executive where they were being in our opinion “sensible”.

  • John Marriott 1 31st Aug '18 - 6:30pm

    @Michael 1
    My, that’s a short one for you! Here’s an even shorter one. How about reconsidering that verb “demand”. You’re beginning to sound like a Brexiteer. Now that wouldn’t do, would it?

  • Eddie Sammon 31st Aug '18 - 7:56pm

    Ed Davey is right. The minimum income limit for spouse’s has been cruel and even made people scared of applying for permanent residency in case they don’t meet it.

    If the spouse is a genuine spouse then income limits should be irrelevant. Don’t trust the Home Office and the Tories to develop a fair policy on whether someone is a “genuine spouse” either. They treat all migrants like guilty until proven innocent.

  • Steve Trevethan 1st Sep '18 - 8:25am

    Are the consequences of the attacks on Libya which created refugees and worse included in this ersatz apology?

  • An apology? It’s like ‘pulling teeth; so we were wrong on ‘immigration. What about NHS reorganisation, social care, disability, secret courts, bedroom tax, etc., etc.?

    frankie’s…“We where wrong to go along with the Tories”. would be simpler, far more honest with the electorate and far more beneficial to the party.,
    . ‘

  • Peter Hirst 1st Sep '18 - 11:44am

    I like to think that as a Party we have humanitarian principles at our heart though these are occasionally tempered by the reality on the ground. So, if and when we make decisions that are not ideal we should revert to our principles as soon as possible. I think people understand that sometimes you make decisions that you wish you weren’t as long as you are candid about the reasons and emphasise the underlying principles.

  • nvelope2003 1st Sep '18 - 12:12pm

    expats: Perhaps just “We were wrong”

  • nvelope2003 1st Sep ’18 – 12:12pm……………expats: Perhaps just “We were wrong”……

    Or, from our polling, just, “We were”.

  • nvelope2003 1st Sep '18 - 3:30pm

    expats: Unfortunately and unless the party stops trying to protect the status quo and returns to its radical origins it will never be again.

  • David Evans 1st Sep '18 - 6:55pm

    Another small apology (sort of) from a spokesman, most people haven’t heard of, for a party people just ignore. Until our leaders come to terms with the fact that they allowed Liberal Democracy to be almost totally destroyed by all their mistakes and can swallow enough pride to own up to it before no one can remember any of them, we will continue to flounder and decline.

  • @Peter Hirst – I really loved those ‘humanitarian principles’ as the Lib Dems voted to punish the sick and disabled over and over again.

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