I've been listening to people in Dudley and raising their concerns about immigration.
I’ve been listening to people in Dudley and raising their concerns about immigration since I became an MP nine years ago. I told the last Labour Government it was making mistakes – including on Eastern Europe - and that immigration was too high.
But this Government is getting it wrong too. David Cameron promised he’d get net immigration down to the tens of thousands but it’s actually gone up to over 240,000.
It’s no wonder people in the Black Country think politicians in Westminster haven’t been listening.
I’ve always said that if you want to live in Britain you must be prepared to work hard and pay your way, obey the law and speak English. There’s no other way to play a full part in British society.
Most people think that if you have the skills we need and are working and contributing you’re welcome, but they also agree with me that people shouldn’t be free to come and be unemployed or claim benefits without paying in first. That’s just not fair to people working hard and paying taxes.
I’ve held a dozen meetings across Dudley to listen to local people’s ideas. I promise that if elected next May I will push for these measures in a new Immigration Bill.
Reform the benefits system. People must wait longer before claiming and should only get benefits after paying in first. No one should get Child Benefit for children living abroad.
Tighter border controls. The border force has been cut so the number stopped and sent home has fallen by 45 per cent. They need more resources to count people in and out.
Bring back fingerprinting at Calais. The Government scrapped fingerprinting at Calais so illegal immigrants can’t be identified and turned round.
Deport foreign criminals. It should be easier to deport criminals. People guilty of serious crimes abroad should be banned from coming here in the first place.
Charge visitors for NHS care. I've always said people who come to Britain should pay up front or their country should foot the bill. Now I want the NHS to have powers to make sure people coming here pay a fair price for care.
Local people at the top of the list for new houses. Dudley’s Labour Council introduced new rules this year so you can only get on the housing list if you have lived or worked locally for two years.
Controls on cheap foreign labour. The minimum wage must be enforced to stop unscrupulous employers exploiting foreign labour and undercutting British workers. I want fines raised to £50,000, exploitative zero hours contracts banned and recruitment agencies stopped from hiring solely overseas.
Train our young people instead of hiring from abroad. If a large firm can’t find a British worker to fill a vacancy and has to hire abroad they should have to train a British apprentice too.
I think these changes could be introduced now and I’ve urged the government and the Labour Party leadership to look at them. People in London might not like it, but it's my job to listen to local people and speak up for them in the House of Commons.