by Colin Campbell
FROM January 1 under new immigration rules as a result of Brexit, all foreign nationals who have been sentenced to at least a year in prison – whether in Britain or overseas – will be banned from entering the UK.
And a Happy New Year to that!
Predictably this eminently sensible ruling has been condemned from different quarters as yet another example of “vicious Tory callousness” by politicians and “support groups” who believe freedom of movement trumps everything .
I wonder how many of the 44 per cent of people in the Highlands who voted for Brexit would agree?
We don’t know exactly how the penal code in Poland, Romania or other EU countries compares to here.
But it’s reasonable to assume that if you’re locked up for a year or more in Warsaw or Bucharest it’s not been for a minor traffic offence.
A sentence of that length suggests the offender has committed a serious crime as a result of which the authorities want them off the streets.
And yet under existing rules these people have been free to stroll into the UK, take to the streets and do as they please.
Admittedly, some of them might be “reformed characters”.
But who’s in a position to judge whether that transformation has or has not taken place. And the answer, as it stands, is no-one.
Many people still catching up with the Brexit machinations will be astonished that jailed criminals have been allowed to enter the country in the first place.
So much for the merits of “universal freedom of movement”.
Our own prisons are packed and the Scottish Government has persistently – and rightly – been accused of using “soft touch justice” to prevent them being further overburdened.
Brexit has partly slipped off the radar in recent times due to the virus but the UK’s “deal or no deal” confrontation with intransigent and condescending EU bureaucrats is rapidly coming to a head.
Whatever else may come of it a ban on serious foreign criminals entering the country is a major plus point.
We have enough violent criminals of our own without warmly welcoming those from abroad as well.