The almost radical eminent sense and fraternal spirit of this speech is positively Churchillian, and deserves to be reprinted from the UK Parliament Hansard in its entirety. An outstanding idea and well-timed debate whose time should never have expired. Given that we used to share the same supranational designation as British subjects on our passports, I pine for the opportunity to enter the UK with the proper decorum that all Commonwealth subjects of Her Majesty humbly deserve and should reciprocate. I beseech the British Members of Parliament to make it so, and to enact the momentum required to one day bring about a meaningful monarchical union, a true United Kingdoms, one based on free trade and free movement of people and voluntary cooperation, not one based on the completely insane goal of political or federal integration/union.
Andrew Rosindell (Romford, Conservative): I beg to move,
That leave be given to bring in a Bill to allow subjects of Her Majesty’s realms to enter the United Kingdom through a dedicated channel at international terminals, to ensure that all points of entry to the United Kingdom at airports, ports and terminals display prominently a portrait of Her Majesty as Head of State, the Union Flag and other national symbols; to rename and re-establish the UK Border Agency as ‘Her Majesty’s Border Police’; and to enhance the Agency’s powers to protect and defend the borders of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity today to present my Bill, in which I propose a fundamental re-evaluation of how our national border operates as the gateway to the United Kingdom. The UK border currently orchestrates the arrival of more than 101 million people each year. Some 40 million are UK nationals, 28 million are from the European Union and European economic area, and a mere 2.5 million come from Her Majesty’s Commonwealth realms. It is on this point that I stand before the House today.
There is a great constitutional injustice occurring at our nation’s border. It is an injustice that is not known to too many UK nationals; however, it is well known to the 73 million people outside the UK who share Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II as their sovereign. The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is one of a family of 16 Commonwealth realms, which form our oldest and closest union: Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Canada, Grenada, Jamaica, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, the Solomon Islands and Tuvalu. The loyal people of those nations have fought alongside Britain, defended us and worked with us to form a global family of like-minded countries that have much in common with our cherished history, heritage and traditions, our culture and identity, our constitutional arrangements and parliamentary democracy, our legal system, our language and, of course, Her Majesty, as our Queen.
It is all too easy to forget that Queen Elizabeth II is not an exclusively British sovereign. She sits at the heart of the respective constitutions of the 15 other realms and is intertwined into the very fabric of each of those nations. The Queen’s image appears on their coins and stamps, and her name and symbols are visible on the insignia and emblems of their Government institutions. Their politicians, judges and military officers swear an oath of allegiance to her on taking office, and she is technically charged with administering laws, issuing Executive orders and commanding the military within the sovereign realms over which she reigns. Only last year, the Government of Canada decided to restore the “Royal” prefix to the Canadian air force and navy, in recognition of the role of the monarch in Canada’s heritage and constitution. [Readers of this blog will know why I bolded this]
However, the people of those nations have no special status upon arriving at the UK border where, sadly, they are treated without reverence. For example, it is a travesty that citizens from Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Jamaica 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 Kingdom—and that, in recent times, have fought against us in war—are allowed to enter alongside British citizens by virtue of their EU membership. We should surely extend that basic courtesy to all Her Majesty’s loyal subjects from the overseas realms that have enjoyed an enduring relationship with the United Kingdom and the Crown since long before the genesis of the European Union.
The Bill does not propose an immediate change to current immigration and visa requirements—although I hope that, in time, reciprocal arrangements can be put in place between the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth realms—but it will provide a visible, practical and relevant way to recognise those countries that have cherished and maintained a special relationship with the United Kingdom through the Crown.
I propose a dedicated channel at international terminals for those from the Commonwealth realms, operating next to the channel for UK, EU and EEA nationals, so that all Her Majesty’s subjects may enter the United Kingdom with appropriate decorum and not as second-class subjects. Of course, all 16 flags of Her Majesty’s realms should be displayed on signs pointing to this new entry channel, showing the whole world that being a subject of the Queen actually means something and is not just symbolic. That would have an added advantage for British passport holders, in that we could choose which queue to join. We would at last have the choice of whether to enter through the channel marked for Her Majesty’s subjects or that marked for EU citizens. I know which one I would choose.
I believe that categorising citizens of the Commonwealth realms as “foreign” is shameful—indeed, an insult to our collective history—especially for those with relatives who have laid down their lives in the name of the Crown. But that is not the only way in which our border falls short. Our international terminals are currently not obliged to display any symbols that proudly show our national identity. It is totally unacceptable that, when we land in the United Kingdom, there is often virtually no recognition that we have done so: no portrait of the Queen, no royal coat of arms and no Union flag or any other symbol that portrays our great British identity. I believe that when visitors arrive at UK passport control, they should be left in no doubt that they have arrived in a confident and proud British nation.
There is absolutely no excuse for not affording Her Majesty the respect that she deserves at our national border as the United Kingdom’s Head of State. The Queen’s portrait should be prominently on display at every entry point into the United Kingdom, without exception, alongside the royal coat of arms and the Union flag, together with the flags of England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.
Just as perplexing is the nondescript uniform and politically correct image of the so-called UK Border Agency. Disgracefully, even the symbol of the Crown has been removed from its insignia. We should end the perpetuation of that bland, corporate and thoroughly ambiguous agency, and re-establish the body as Her Majesty’s border police. That would reflect the solemn duty of Her Majesty’s officials to protect and defend our national border, and give them the authority, standing and respect that they need to be effective guardians of the gateways to these islands.
In this, Her Majesty’s diamond jubilee year, my Bill would demonstrate the confidence, pride and bulldog spirit that the people of Britain expect Her Majesty’s Government to uphold in our nation today. I commend the Bill to the House.
Question put and agreed to .
That Andrew Rosindell, Mr Nigel Dodds, Rory Stewart, Bob Blackman, Steve Baker, Priti Patel, Jane Ellison, Mark Menzies, Kate Hoey, Ian Paisley, Mr John Redwood and Thomas Docherty present the Bill.
Andrew Rosindell accordingly presented the Bill.
Bill read the First time; to be read a Second time on Friday 25 January 2013, and to be printed (Bill 59 ).