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Readers' Letters

Gazette letters: EU Nationals, respect local media and terror attack

PUBLISHED: 08:30 07 December 2019

House of Lords debating the rights of EU nationals. Picture: PA WIRE

House of Lords debating the rights of EU nationals. Picture: PA WIRE

PA Wire/PA Images

In his first statement as prime minister, Boris Johnson gave “unequivocally our guarantee to the 3.2 million EU nationals now living and working among us...that, under this government, they will have the absolute certainty for the right to live and remain,”

write Diane Abbott (parliamentary candidate), Meg Hillier (parliamentary candidate), Dr Alex Armitage (Green Party prospective parliamentary candidate Hackney North), Tyrone Scott, Green Party, (prospective parliamentary candidate, Hackney South) and others.

In less than a day, his spokesperson rushed to clarify that this did not mean new legislation would be proposed. Instead Johnson would maintain the EU Settlement Scheme.

As campaigners have pointed out, the current scheme implies that migrants who fail to apply will lose their legal status and residency rights.

Figures suggest at least two million EU nationals have not applied for settled status yet. In order to be given settled status, migrants have to prove they have lived in the UK for at least five years. To make matters worse, the Home Office has brought forward the deadline for applications from June 30, 2021 to December 31, 2020.

This is the perfect recipe for a repetition of the Windrush generation scandal.

Legislation should be passed to guarantee the legal status of all EU migrants who live here.

At a minimum the government must:

Scrap the five year cap - every EU national resident in the UK should preserve all their current rights.

The original deadline advertised by the Home Office to apply for settled status be re-established.

Provide real guarantees that the situation of EU nationals living in Britain will not be affected in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

We write to you on behalf of local news brands, in print and digital, which reach 40.6m people a month write News Media Association in an open letter from local media publishers to Jeremy Corbyn, Boris Johnson and Jo Swinson.

During this election, politicians and candidates from all parties have gone to great lengths to praise local media and its important role in communities.

You have applauded local media's investigative reporting and powerful campaigns and celebrated its vital role in championing local communities.

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And you've acknowledged that local news brands are an essential part of the democratic process by holding power to account and providing high-quality news.

It is widely known that the news media industry, particularly the local media sector, is facing significant challenges caused by changing news consumption habits and tech platforms' dominance in the digital advertising market.

So you would understand our amazement when election campaign material imitating local newspapers from the three major political parties started to appear through people's letterboxes.

To discover that local media is under attack by those who had purported to be supporters is extremely worrying.

Why are political parties passing off their fake newspaper propaganda as trusted local news?

Not only are you taking advantage of our highly trusted credentials, you are also actively undermining our business models.

Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but this has to stop. The News Media Association and its members are calling on all political parties to immediately end this damaging practice which harms and undermines our democratic society.

Furthermore, we urge you all to help ensure the sustainable future of journalism.

At a time when trust in politicians and institutions is so low and fake news on social media is rife, why not instead be properly held to account by the journalists who write for our papers and websites?

Whichever party wins the election, we call on you to implement the recommendations of the Cairncross Report, move government advertising spend back into trusted news media channels and protect press freedom.

We look forward to your assurances that these measures will be taken promptly and the damaging effects of your campaigning materials will stop with immediate effect.

We, as representatives of many of London's faith communities deplore the terrible attack that took place at London Bridge, writes Mustafa Field OBE, director of Faith's Forum for London.

There is no justification for such a mindless and violent attack on innocent people.

The bravery of the members of the public and the emergency services shows Londoners at their very best. The people who have come out to support the community and traders in London Bridge shows that we stand defiant against those who seek to divide us.

This is the time for all Londoners to come together to demonstrate strength and unity against those who wish to spread fear and hate. Islam, like all religions, does not tolerate violence and hatred in our society.

Our prayers are with the victims, their families and all those affected by this terrible act. We call for Londoners, and our nation to stand together at this time as we continue our efforts towards peace, compassion, understanding and hope among people of all faiths and none. Our message is clear "Turn To Love".


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