Yorkshire mayors should be pushing for a ‘youth mobility visa’ - Yorkshire Post Letters

From: James Bovington, Horsforth, Leeds.

Readers will not be surprised that I am unashamedly revelling in Jacob Rees-Mogg’s dismay at the government’s latest Brexit U-turn which is the abandonment of his incomprehensible proposal to make imperial measurements the default, standard British system.

In fact, the UK should fully metricate with road distances given in kilometres as is now the case in Canada, Australia and the Irish Republic.

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However, a far more interesting development is London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s calling for a ‘youth mobility visa’ which would in effect restore freedom of movement for all citizens aged under 35 of all countries in the European Single Market on the assumption that this would be reciprocal for British citizens.

Tracy Brabin is the Mayor of West Yorkshire. PIC: Danny Lawson/PA WireTracy Brabin is the Mayor of West Yorkshire. PIC: Danny Lawson/PA Wire
Tracy Brabin is the Mayor of West Yorkshire. PIC: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

My grandchildren would thus regain the right to go grape picking in France so casually and callously ripped from them by the Tories aided by Nigel Farage. The latter’s children of course retain these rights by virtue of passports deriving from their mother’s citizenship.

There can be a debate about the modalities. To what extent would the visa apply to say dependent young children? The principle of reciprocity would need to be sacrosanct.

Although I favour eventually rejoining a renewed EU, the mobility visa constitutes a ‘have cake and eat it’ measure which combined with renewed membership of Erasmus (with Turing running side by side if shown to be effective) would allow young people to benefit from the social, cultural, linguistic, sporting and economic enrichment offered by an extended period living elsewhere. I doubt that there would be much opposition to this. In any case it’s mean and churlish to deprive Yorkshire lads and lasses of the opportunities that His Majesty’s citizens in Northern Ireland have retained.

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I challenge West Yorkshire Mayor Tracy Brabin publicly to support what Sadiq Khan has stated. Khan has also called for a ‘pragmatic debate’ about possible future membership of the Single Market and Customs Union. I urge Tracy Brabin to do likewise.

Indeed, for Sir Keir to put setting up a national conversation about our links with Europe at the heart of Labour’s manifesto. It would be pushing at an open door methinks. And get my vote.

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