Monday, June 19, 2017

May should put Brexit talks on hold and bring Labour on board for advice

My latest for LabourList HERE!

Government should launch hate crime register, expert says

For immediate release – Monday, 19 June 2017
*TV and radio broadcast facilities available*

The recent terrorist incident at Finsbury Park Mosque should lead government to launch a new hate crime register, according to a leading expert at Durham University.

Professor Thom Brooks, Dean of Durham Law School, says: ‘The rise in extremist violence must be met with a new approach. The government can start by taking a tougher line on hate crime by launching a new register similar what is used for sex offenders to ban offenders from working with children or other vulnerable people’.

The Crown Prosecution Service states that hate crimes are criminal offences motivated by hostility or prejudice based on a person’s real or perceived disability, ethnicity, gender identity, nationality, race, religion or sexual orientation. Any one can report what she or he perceives to be a hate crime to the police, but there is a higher bar to pass for successful prosecution of an offence as a hate crime conviction.

Professor Brooks argues that anyone convicted of a hate crime should be placed on a hate crime register for ‘at least a considerable time, providing opportunities for reform and rehabilitation’. He says: ‘Hate crimes are different from other kinds of harms. They target what someone is and not who they are making these crimes even more dangerous’.

Brooks does not believe a hate crime register will end such attacks, but says it should be part of a wider strategy. ‘We must begin by acknowledging a difference between being convicted for a crime and for a hate crime. A register will help send a signal of the seriousness government has in preventing hate crimes and the greater consequences in limiting employment opportunities. Doing nothing is not an option’.



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


Professor Thom Brooks, Dean of Durham Law School & Professor of Law and Government, Durham University, is available for comment on Monday & Tuesday, 19 & 20 June 2017 on:  email

*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.

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

Crown Prosecution Service, ‘Leaflet on Hate Crime Support’,  

Professor Thom Brooks, Durham University Law School website

About Durham University

-          A world top 100 university with a global reputation and performance in research and education

-          A member of the Russell Group of leading research-intensive UK universities

-          Research at Durham shapes local, national and international agendas, and directly informs the teaching of our students



Brexit talks start today - and the UK is not in a good position

Some talking points for tv/radio producers (I'm available - get in touch):

·         Britain’s Brexit talks could not begin from a worse position.

·         The Government asked voters for a big sign of support to enhance its hand in negotiations – which flopped as a slim majority was wiped out and still an open question about how long the current minority government can limp along.

·         As of Friday, the Government failed to provide even an outline sketch of its position paper for the EU ahead of negotiations – which is standard protocol. This strongly suggests two things: first, the Government is still uncertain about its aims and objectives for Brexit on the eve of talks and, second, the Government is failing to do much at all to win trust and confidence from the EU.

·         If Theresa May’s Government continues to be so vacuous, uncertain and perhaps insincere about the direction and seriousness of these talks, a positive outcome is almost impossible to foresee – and such consequences are avoidable, but the clock is ticking.

·         After a campaign of promising “strong and stable leadership” during the election, we’re seeing nothing of the kind now with Brexit talks. A real gap between the government’s rhetoric and reality.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

My advice for the Prime Minister post-election. Not that she'll listen to it...

May must reassemble the Brexit team in a grand, all-party coalition, writes  -- in today's The Times

Turns out I did have a letter published once in The Times

I've dedicated many pages to the letters sent to, but never published in, The Times. It turns out one slipped through. In 2011 -

Sir, However compelling arguments may be in favour of an elected House of Lords, now is not the time. The public has little interest in such constitutional matters, as was evident in the recent AV referendum. Moreover, it is perhaps the actions of MPs, not peers, that have dented public confidence. Reform should centre on the House of Commons first: calls for reform of “the other place” is a convenient distraction from the central problem and no cure.
Dr Thom Brooks
Reader in Political and Legal Philosophy, Newcastle University

Friday, June 02, 2017

PRESS RELEASE: Theresa May doesn’t need Brexit to cut net migration

Theresa May doesn’t need Brexit to cut net migration

For immediate release, Friday, June 2, 2017

-With picture-

*TV and radio broadcast facilities available*
The Conservative manifesto retains a pledge made in 2010 to reduce net migration to ‘the tens of thousands’. This commitment has been controversial as net migration has never been higher than under the Tory-led governments led by David Cameron and Theresa May.

In March, May told Parliament that Brexit was an opportunity to make progress in cutting migration ‘so that our immigration system serves the national interest’. A key stumbling block has been the free movement of EU nationals into the UK.

Leading immigration expert Professor Thom Brooks, Head of Durham Law School, claims that the Prime Minister does not need to wait for Brexit to cut net migration to under 100,000 if she really wanted to meet this target.

Brooks says: ‘Theresa May has several options she can use now. Her government can start by reducing visas for non-EU workers and students who make up a large bulk of annual net migration. While there is evidence this could cause real damage to the economy, she can reduce net migration now without waiting two or more years for Brexit talks to conclude if sincere about meeting this campaign promise’.

Over the last year, more than 93,000 skilled visas were granted with 1 in 10 to an American. Since 2011, some visas for skilled workers earning salaries of £20,800 or more have been restricted to an annual quota of 20,700 – a cap that has not been breached once. There are nearly 200,000 foreign students in the UK with about half from China, the United States and India. Big cuts in these areas could bring net migration under 100,000.

Professor Brooks argues that the government should begin taking greater responsibility for its immigration record instead of blaming past governments or the EU. He says: ‘The failure of the Tories to meet their net migration is a choice they made because the power to meet it is in their hands. It’s time the government came clean and explained why it chose to continue welcoming migrants as skilled workers and students rather than enact their very public manifesto pledge’.

A dual national of the US and UK, Professor Brooks further claims more can also be done about enforcing existing regulations on EU free movement. ‘Like any freedom – on free speech or assembly – there are restrictions. Our EU neighbours like France and Germany do much better than us in enforcing existing rules. If the government wants curbs on EU movement, it can act now to reduce numbers – its failure to do so again more a lack of political will than political impotence’.


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