Inertia is not enough against threat of deportation

Theresa May should understanding Christians' outrage, writes Joe Egerton
Theresa May should understanding Christians' outrage, writes Joe Egerton

A frequent contributor to Thinking Faith and an alumnus of Stonyhurst College has called on the Prime Minister, Theresa May, to distance herself from what he calls “that small group of Brexiteers” who desire to use EU nationals as bargaining chips, saying they are “violating every canon of liberal and Christian decency”.

In a letter published in the Financial Times, Joe Egerton was responding to the suggestion by the FT’s associate editor Wolfgang Münchau who writes a weekly column about the European Union and the European economy. On Monday, he wrote that inertia would protect many non-British EU citizens from deportation, even if technically the Home Office could expel them. Mr Egerton concludes that this assertion may well be right; but he goes on to say that he ignores other problems that they will encounter.

More than a symbolic gesture

Saying that the House of Lords has “decisively rejected the appalling idea … that human beings can be used as bargaining cards”, Mr Egerton says the Lords’ amendment was more than a symbolic goodwill gesture. “Landlords are not permitted to let houses and flats or even rooms to those who cannot show a legal right to be here,” he writes in his letter to the FT. “Under the flail of the Financial Conduct Authority, banks have tightened anti-money laundering procedures so EU citizens will have to prove that they are entitled to be here to obtain bank accounts, credit cards and mortgages.”

Joe Egerton is the Conservative Candidate for Kent County Council, Canterbury City South. He says he suspects “that Canterbury is not the only city where the Conservative party will pay a heavy price” if Mrs May (who is the daughter of a vicar) does not distance herself from what he calls a “small group of Brexiteers who are violating every canon of Christian and liberal decency”. He asserts that Christians feel outrage that fellow human beings risk being treated as “chattels”, quoting from the Book of Leviticus: “The immigrant who comes to you shall be like the native-born, and you are to love them as yourself, because you were immigrants in the land of Egypt.” The FT published his letter under the heading: ‘A vicar’s daughter should understand the outrage’.