WOULD YOU TRUST HER?

EXCLUSIVE: Nicola Sturgeon’s ‘secret EU foreigner list’ sparks immigration diplomacy row

A DIPLOMATIC row is unfolding amid claims the
Scottish Government is compiling a ‘secret list’ of foreign nationals
living in Scotland.

PUBLISHED:
04:52, Tue, Oct 11, 2016

| UPDATED: 15:32, Tue, Oct 11, 2016

Nicola Sturgeon sent a letter out to EU nationals but no one knows how they got the list of addresses GETTY

Nicola Sturgeon sent a letter out to EU nationals but no one knows how they got the list of names

The
Scottish Government claims a body called the Consular Corps distributed
letters to EU nationals living in Scotland after the Brexit vote to
clarify their status.
Ms
Sturgeon’s government has no mandate over immigration, which is reserved
to Westminster, and therefore would not have entitlement to create a
list of EU nationals.
However
letters issued by both the First Minister on Scottish Government headed
notepaper and also via SNP MSPs on Parliamentary headed notepaper to
individual households in July stated that the administration was seeking
“assurances that their residency will be unaffected.”
At
the time individuals raised concerns that they were being targeted by
the Scottish Government who had previously made statements saying
individuals would be stripped of their residency rights if Scotland was
“outside Europe”.
I am confused, the Consular Corp had nothing to do with this
Spokesman for Consular Corps
Now
mystery surrounds how the names and addresses of thousands of people
were collected after the organisation which the Government claims
“distributed” the letters denied they were involved.
German
woman Helga Hunter revealed she was stunned when she received a
communication through the door from her SNP MSP Graeme Dey on Scottish
Parliament headed notepaper, warning: “While there will be no immediate
changes in your circumstances I appreciate there remains great
uncertainty over how events will unfold.”
When
asked about the letters the Scottish Government told Express.co.uk:
“The letter which the First Minister wrote to EU citizens was
distributed through the Consular Corps.”
Ms Sturgeon held a 'summit' and decided to send a letter to EU nationals GETTY

Ms Sturgeon held a ‘summit’ and decided to send a letter to EU nationals

The
Government refused to answer subsequent questions on whether a database
exists, whether they are breaking the Data Protection Act, and how
individual SNP MSPs were able to access information that pertains to EU
nationals living in Scotland.
But a
spokesman for the Consular Corps said: “The First Minister held a summit
shortly after the Brexit vote, which was an information gathering
exercise on behalf of the Scottish Government, and they decided they
would circulate a letter among foreign nationals who reside in Scotland.
“Most countries don’t have lists of foreign nationals as they are not required to register.
“It wasn’t sent from the Consular Corps. I don’t have a database and I am surprised.
“I don’t know why they would say that, they know we didn’t send these letters. This was nothing to do with the Consular Corp.
“I am confused, the Consular Corp had nothing to do with this.”
Ms Sturgeon has also launched a 'listening exercise' GETTY

Ms Sturgeon has also launched a ‘listening exercise’

EU nationals were also invited to attend a summit GETTY

EU nationals were also invited to attend a summit to discuss their status

The issue has sparked a storm on social media with many questioning whether the Government is in fact creating a list.
Maureen
Johnson said: “Welcome to Scotland where we have the names of EU
nationals on a list and send letters to them putting doubts in their
minds.”
While Hazel Cowan said:
“Sturgeon has list of foreign workers and threatened to deport EU
nationals if Indy Scot not allowed to join EU. Much worse than UK gov.”
 While another user said: “SNP have a list of 173,000 EU nationals living in Scotland on their database? How does that happen?”
And
another user added: “You sent letters to EU citizens living/ working in
Scotland. That’s a list. We are not stupid! Does SNP have access to
lists?”
This letter was sent to EU nationals along with others on Parliamentary notepaper GETTY

This letter was sent to EU nationals along with others on Parliamentary notepaper

A Home Office spokeswoman stepped into clarify the issues insisting EU residents are currently protected.
She
said: “There has been no change to the right of EU nationals to reside
in the UK and therefore no change to the circumstances in which someone
could be removed from the UK.
“As
was the case before the referendum, EU nationals can only be removed
from the UK if they are considered to pose a genuine, present and
sufficiently serious threat to the public, if they are not lawfully
resident or are abusing their free movement rights.”
The
Scottish Government has previously fallen foul of Data Protection after
their Named Person policy in Scotland was ruled by the Supreme Court to
be unlawful.
 At the
time the Information Commissioner Ken Macdonald, said: “We will be
working with the Scottish Government and agencies within the children’s
sector to ensure that the concerns of the Supreme Court are adequately
addressed.”
Last month the SNP was slammed for “snooping” on the public after they launched a “listening exercise.”
Scottish Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie said: “The SNP are trawling for data under false pretenses.
“They
say they want to speak to two million Scots between now and St Andrew’s
Day but playing fast and loose with rules is not the way to advance
their cause.”

In July an SNP spokesman said: “Graeme Dey
and other SNP parliamentarians have rightly taken the lead in engaging
with EU citizens in their constituencies and ensuring them that they
remain welcome in Scotland and their contribution is valued.”

 A Scottish Government spokesperson said subsequently responded to requests for comment.
 She said: “The Scottish Government does not hold a list of EU nationals in Scotland and it would be wrong to do so.
“We
provided each of the EU member state consuls in Scotland with the
letter from the First Minister welcoming EU citizens in Scotland and
asked that they distribute it through their networks. The letter was
also made publicly available and was well received by EU citizens
resident in Scotland.”
“We
provided each of the EU member state consuls in Scotland with the
letter from the First Minister welcoming EU citizens in Scotland and
asked that they distribute it through their networks. The letter was
also made publicly available and was well received by EU citizens
resident in Scotland.”

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