Updates, commentary, training and advice on immigration and asylum law

Goodbye Woolas


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It is a shame to come back on a sour note, but it is difficult not to be cheerful about the ruin of Phil Woolas, ex Immigration Minister. He has been stripped of his constituency, barred from standing for public office for three years and has earned himself a prominent place in the halls of Parliamentary infamy. It is no doubt a disaster for him personally, and it is difficult to imagine that he can make himself employable without some sort of John Profumo or Keith Best style pursuit of Good Works.

It is difficult not to be cheerful about it, and I don’t feel like trying. Woolas was a terrible, terrible Immigration Minister and a deeply unpleasant, nasty piece of work. His attack on asylum charities was the last straw for me personally with the Brown Government and I quit the Labour Party because of it. There are ways of handling the very difficult immigration portfolio without being a loud-mouthed, ignorant, dishonest and populist idiot. Liam Byrne was generally respectable, and so far I don’t think Damien Green is doing a bad job of implementing some excreable policies. Even Tony McNulty wasn’t THAT bad in comparison, just horribly out of his depth. It is possible to separate the man from the ministry, so to speak.

Parliament and public life generally are much the better for not playing host to the likes of Woolas.

I’m going to try and do some catching up over the next week or two, but a great deal has happened while I have been away so some of it will slip by without comment. I also hope to introduce a few changes to the blog in the next few weeks., so keep your eyes peeled.

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The Free Movement blog was founded in 2007 by Colin Yeo, a barrister at Garden Court Chambers specialising in immigration law. The blog provides updates and commentary on immigration and asylum law by a variety of authors.


3 Responses

  1. Welcome back!

    I agree with you about his ‘attack on asylum charities’. I felt personally insulted and the context was indeed him playing to the gallery.

  2. When Mr Woolas had his appeal thrown out, for me it just highlighted the hypocrisy of the guy.

    He certainly didn’t stand out as anyone far worse than other MPs in the Blair/Brown government, but that to me showed it was time (even overdue) for a change in Government.

    It saddened me that he will possibly face criminal charges with potential imprisonment, but thats as far as my sympathy is going for him.

    His legacy of return bans, child imprisonment, appeal charges, asylum legal aid, and DP5/96 concession repeal are all bad smells that will linger too long, I suspect.