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EU Settlement Scheme

Volume 664: debated on Thursday 5 September 2019

14. What recent discussions he has had with the Home Secretary on the level of uptake for the EU settlement scheme. (912287)

I spoke to the Home Secretary this week on the issues of the EU settlement scheme. The scheme is operating well: 1 million people have passed through the scheme out of the 3 million, and there have been no rejected applications. The Prime Minister has made a big, bold offer to EU citizens, who remain our friends and neighbours and who are welcome here in the United Kingdom.

The Minister says that the system is working well, but I can tell him that the reality is that it is not. My wife Cyndi is an EU citizen, and due to the Government rhetoric, she reluctantly decided to apply for settled status. I can tell the Minister that the system crashed, and that the officials operating it said that they could not handle the volume of traffic. Is it because this process is a shambles that the Government have had to do a U-turn on the threat to end freedom of movement on 31 October, or is it the threat of court action that has caused the U-turn?

We have improved the system on an ongoing basis, and we are keen to do so. The default position is that we want people to get that settled status. The hon. Gentleman makes specific points about a specific case, and I am sure that the Home Office would be happy to look at that and to understand how it can improve the system further.