Thursday, December 31, 2015

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

PRESS RELEASE: Failed relationships with migrants to be exposed in ‘public statements’

Failed relationships with migrants to be exposed in ‘public statements’

For immediate release – Tuesday, 14 December 2015

-With picture-

*TV and radio broadcast facilities available*

The Home Office has published new documents aimed at exposing the broken relationships with migrants. A new form available online invites anyone who is no longer living with a migrant as a spouse or partner to insert their names and submit to ‘give my permission for the Home Office to use the information referred to’.

Professor Thom Brooks of Durham University, a leading authority on immigration law and policy, says: ‘the government is taking clear aim at bogus marriages that allow migrants to reside in the country on a false basis. Ministers will hope that more estranged people come forward to inform the Home Office to improve their detection of anyone overstaying their visa – but they have not thought this through’.

According to the latest International Passenger Survey, there were 45,000 non-EU nationals immigrated long-term to the UK to accompany or join others with the intention of residing one year or more over the past 12 months. This is a decrease from 53,000 over the previous year.

Spouses or partners can be permitted to stay and work in the UK to EEA citizens because of EU free movement rules. However, they may have to leave the country when their relationship breaks down.

It is feared by some experts that the new online form may do more harm than good. Professor Brooks says: ‘The government’s “public statement” form seems directed more towards looking tough for the public than taking appropriate action. The public will wonder why a form meant to help the Home Office identify potential visa overstayers that it asks only for names, but not addresses or mobile numbers so statements can be checked and verified’.

Professor Brooks is concerned that the form is more useful as a threat that may intimidate non-European citizens into remaining in relationships they wish to leave for fear of removal from the country leading to potential abuses.

He says: ‘If the Home Office wants to identify relationships no longer subsisting, it can begin by checking the courts for divorce announcements. Ministers would do better to use common sense and raise their game by becoming more knowledgeable about the system works – before making yet another policy change that well make necessary detection more difficult’.   

1. Nowhere to state the contact details (address, email, mobile, etc) for the person making the submission
2. Nowhere to state the contact details (address, email, mobile, etc) for the person identified as the migrant 'estranged spouse partner'
3. No contact details for where this signed and dated form should be sent - no address, email, fax, etc.
4. Erm, that's it. Major fail.


NB – Please note that Professor Brooks is a member of the Labour Party.


Professor Thom Brooks, Professor of Law and Government, in Durham Law School, Durham University, is available for comment on Tuesday, December 15 (in Durham), and Wednesday, December 16, 2015 (in Westminster)

Alternatively please contact Durham University Marketing and Communications Office on +44 (0)191 334 6075;

*TV and radio broadcast facilities available*
Durham University’s academic experts are available for interview via down-the-line broadcast quality TV facilities from our Durham City campus, via broadcast provider Globelynx.

To request and check the availability of interviewees please contact the Durham University Communications Office on +44 (0)191 334 6075 or email

You can book the Globelynx fixed camera and circuit direct by logging into The IFB number is +44 (0)191 384 2019.

If you have not booked a Globelynx feed before please call +44 (0)20 7963 7060 for assistance.

A broadcast quality ISDN radio line is also available at Durham University and bookings can be arranged via the Media Relations Team on the contact details above. The ISDN number is +44 (0)191 386 2749.

A landline number is available in our Media Suite which houses the television and radio facilities - +44 (0)191 334 6472.


A high resolution headshot of Professor Thom Brooks is available on request from Durham University Marketing and Communications Office on +44 (0)191 334 6075;

Further reading

Home Office guidance, ‘Inform UKVI of a relationship breakdown: statement and consent form’,

Professor Thom Brooks, Durham University Law School website

UPDATE: I am delighted to see this press release has been covered by The Independent and The Daily Mail.

Friday, December 04, 2015

The way we communicate about politics is a problem that is creeping into a public crisis

. . . is my latest column for The Journal based in Newcastle READ HERE. It picks up on concerns many have had for some time and highlighted on occasion by Brian Leiter among many others.

The piece is endorsed in today's lead editorial in the paper - and by Angela Eagle, Labour's MP for Wallasey, the Chair of Labour National Policy Forum, Shadow Business Secretary & First Secretary of State:
This is well worth a read
— Angela Eagle (@angelaeagle) December 4, 2015