In the first debate in the House of Lords since the outcome of the EU Referendum, Lord Bilimoria lamented the spirit in which the Referendum was held. He noted the inaccuracies in the statistics used during the campaign and suggested that the Electoral Commission should be granted new powers to police against misleading campaign material. Lord Bilimoria then outlined the implications of the Referendum, including on the economy and in the Higher Education sector, and stressed the need for caution on triggering Article 50 until the UK had entered into negotiations with the EU to determine what Brexit would entail.
In the last debate on the EU referendum in the House of Lords before the historic vote, Lord Bilimoria spoke about the implications of the UK leaving the EU. In his speech, Lord Bilimoria reaffirmed his status as a Eurosceptic who reluctantly supports the UK’s continued membership of the EU. He noted the issues that continue to haunt the European Union, but stressed the many benefits that Britain gains remaining a member, while dispatching a number of myths that those campaigning to leave the EU have propagated over the course of the referendum campaign.
In his final debate of the 2015-16 parliamentary session, Lord Bilimoria spoke about the issues faced by ethnic minorities in the workplace and sought to identity ways in which to boost the employment prospects of minorities in the UK. He celebrated the strides that the UK has made on this issue, but noted that more action is needed, especially on increasing BAME participation in leadership roles and at the top positions in business and politics.
Yesterday, Lord Bilimoria responded to the UK Government’s Autumn Statement 2015 in a debate in the House of Lords. In his speech, Lord Bilimoria welcomed the Chancellor’s change of heart over planned cuts to tax credits. He also applauded the introduction of measures which improve the provision of funding to mature and part-time students, as well as those which provide further support to postgraduate students, while calling for the government to introduce measures to help increase the UK’s manufacturing output.
Speaking in the House of Lords on Tuesday, Lord Bilimoria’s addressed a number of issues emerging from the Second Reading of the SME. Touching on matters ranging from the pub tie, to entrepreneurship, to tax relief – his speech was well received and gained positive comments from the Business Minister, Baroness Neville-Rolfe, and from other members of the House including the former Energy Secretary, Lord Wakeham.
Lord Bilimoria was a guest on Sky News’ flagship ‘Murnaghan’ programme on Sunday 2nd November, where he was interviewed about the positive aspects of immigration following a recent study by UCL about British attitudes towards migrants from various EU and non-EU nations.
He was joined by the Bulgarian Ambassador to the United Kingdom. Konstantin Dimitrov, and Labour MP Barbara Roche, the former Immigration Minister.
The following transcript was kindly provided by Sky News.
Speaking in response to the Queen’s Speech, Lord Bilimoria strongly criticised the government’s continued failure to reform the immigration system and to support international students and higher education failure to understand the tremendous economic and social values that international students bring to the United Kingdom, citing research by the National Union of Students, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge, Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, and the Judge Business School.
Lord Bilimoria also criticised the failure of the government to introduce exit-checks as British ports of entry, as well as the negative response to the mooted “Visitor Bond” system, which was scrapped last year after public outcry.
Speaking in a debate concerning higher education in the United Kingdom, Lord Bilimoria spoke out against a number of restrictions on student numbers, especially those concerning the fall in student numbers as a consequence of immigration policy. He noted the increased competition that British universities face from foreign competitors, as well as the need for the government to increase spending on research and development in order to bring the United Kingdom closer to the OECD average.
Lord Bilimoria was one of a number of peers to criticise various aspects of the government’s Immigration Bill, which had its Second Reading in the House of Lords on Monday. Speaking in opposition to the additional charges that would be forced upon new migrants to the United Kingdom, Lord Bilimoria noted the damaging effects that the Bill would have for universities and higher education in general, which could also have long-term repercussions for the British economy.