Programme for Scotland


SNP MSP Christina McKelvie has written to the UK government demanding answers over a huge increase in EU citizens detained in immigration centres – including one Polish national detained for five months after enjoying birthday drinks in a public park.

There has been a fivefold increase in the number of EU nationals detained in immigration centres since 2009 – with Theresa May presiding over the majority of this worrying trend as Home Secretary.

Those detained include an Italian national held for eight months after losing his ID card and a Polish national found having birthday drinks in a public park.

Commenting, SNP MSP Christina McKelvie said:

“These reports are deeply concerning, and the individual stories show the human reality of Theresa May’s ideologically motivated rhetoric on the rights of EU citizens.

“Of course in some cases there is a justification for some people being detained and removed – but the massive rise and anecdotal evidence is deeply concerning. Someone with the legal right to live and work in the UK should not be held in an immigration centre for months on end without very good reason – but we’ve seen that some of these cases are beyond trivial.

“EU nationals make a huge and valued contribution to our economy and society – the UK government must stop treating them as pawns in a game, and start treating them with the respect they deserve.

“It is a disgrace that many thousands of families who live and work in Scotland – our friends, neighbours and colleagues – are being referred to as ‘bargaining chips’, ‘cards’, and ‘negotiating capital’ by this Tory government.”