is a barrister and owner of the Stanbury Legal Group. He is a Visiting Lecturer in law for the University of Leeds and Buckingham. Here he examines three key issues in the EU debate from a legal perspective
Immigration did reach its highest total ever last year (however this was during an immigration crises) This is like saying more bombs fell on Britain during 1941 than ever before (but that was during a war).
There is nothing to say that immigration will be as high next year. A concerted effort is in place to reduce the crisis throughout the EU. It may go up, or stay the same. But eventually it will reduce again.
The people who are immigrants are NOT migrating to take benefits from the UK. Yes, a very minuscule amount may be doing that, but the majority are moving out of necessity, fear, and no practical alternative.
The removal of persons who have immigrated to the UK illegally, or who have proven to be criminal once here, is subject to the Human Rights Act, and the European Convention on Human Rights. For this to change, it would require the repeal or amendment of the Human Rights Act. There are, of course, wider implications of such an action.
The UK will not expel all existing immigrants, regardless of the outcome. It may be that if we Leave, a points-based system could be introduced, and some existing immigrants may not meet the requirements, but this still would not mean they could automatically be expelled.
There are approximately 1.3 million British persons living and working in the EU. There could be negative implications for these persons as well, as they may lose their right to movement if the UK Leaves.
Immigration will not stop regardless of the result of the referendum.
Legal immigration will continue. It may be sought to be controlled in a different way if the UK Leaves. We do no know whether this will be more efficient or effective.
Illegal immigration will continue. It is illegal. It may be sought to be controlled in a different way if the UK Leaves. We do not know whether this will be more efficient or effective.
If the UK Remains, we will continue to pay the existing contribution to the EU, however we will continue to receive subsidies and rebates from the EU in return.
The figure of £350 million per week is artificial and is not representative of the net cost. The figure is, after taking into account the aforementioned counterbalance, approximately £250 million per week.
In reality, no one knows the exact figure. This contribution therefore amounts to an unknown amount per person.
The contribution pays for a range of different things, but most of all it pays for membership into the EU’s free market economy.
If the UK Remains, the nation’s trade will be maintained. In that respect, the UK will not need to worry about carving out a new niche in the world. Things will continue in much the same way as they currently do.
The UK’s economy is the fifth largest in the world and is currently, prior to the referendum, growing slowly but steadily.
If the UK Remains, there is nothing to indicate that this would suddenly change dramatically (save the presence of some intervening event such as another world banking crisis, for instance).
If the UK should Leave, there will no longer be the need to pay the contribution of £250 million per week. This amount could, in theory, be used for other domestic purposes by a future government. (There is no guarantee any future government would use the money for the purposes currently stated by the Leave campaign, or on the same basis the EU currently provide subsidies etc).
If the UK should Leave, there is the possibility that the UK could enter into free-trade agreements with the EU and other leading world economic powers. This could provide expansion and growth without the need to pay any contribution to achieve this.
However, the EU and, more recently, the US, have both indicated that this would:
a) Not be achievable at all; or b) Not take place within a reasonable period of time after withdrawing from the EU.
If the UK Leaves, there is no factual basis on which the economy will definitely proceed.
There are possible ways it may proceed. There is nothing to say it will definitely grow. There is nothing to say it will definitely not grow.
However, based on the current impact of the referendum on the currency and financial interests of the UK, the possibility of Leaving is having a negative, destabilising effect. This will eventually restabilise with UK economy in some condition.
To utilise what is, seemingly, the closest comparable country, Norway, they pay more than the UK currently pays to participate in the EU market. They pay this based on a trade agreement between the EU and Norway (a nonmember).
LAW AND SOVEREIGNTY
The EU does not make all of the UK’s laws.
The existing EU legislation will, in the main, continue to apply in the event the UK leaves the EU.
The EU is perceived to legislate in a restrictive way against UK interests. Naturally some laws will be restrictive on citizens rights, as that is fundamentally a role of the law, but in many instances the legislation passed by the EU sanctifies the rights of its citizens. Such laws have included:
The provision of the minimum wage
The provision of maternity pay
The provision of a minimum days amount of holiday
Protection from discrimination on the grounds of disability, sex, gender, sexuality, race etc.
The people of the EU elect their own representatives to the EU parliament. These people are known as MEP’s.
The figure of £350 million is artificial and not representative