Tuesday evening was a shameful night in the House of Commons as Tory MPs voted against every Lords amendment made to the Nationality and Borders Bill, ensuring Britain increases its hostility towards refugees at the very time the British people are opening their homes and hearts. The government are out of step with the generous British public.
Countless elements of this controversial bill were defeated in the Lords, with specific cross-party efforts made to remove the dangerous Clause 9 that gives the Secretary of State the power to deprive a person of their British citizenship without notice.
The Lords amendment removing this blatant overreach of government powers, was voted down by Tory MPs, who are happier increasing government power instead of giving British citizens their due process.
Tory MPs also voted to give the Secretary of State the power to start processing refugees offshore – a hugely ineffective and inhumane policy set to cost the taxpayer billions if used. This is a barbaric solution, not a sustainable one.
Without safe, legal routes for family reunion and sanctuary, those with family in the UK can end up being exploited by criminal gangs. But the Government is opposing Lords amendments that establish safe, legal routes through resettlement and family reunion.
In fact, this Tory Bill makes it harder to prosecute traffickers and tackle modern slavery. The Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner has repeatedly warned that it makes it harder to prosecute vile criminals who smuggle and exploit people.
This sham of bill will criminalise refugees, including Ukrainian families who arrive in UK without proper papers. How can the government claim to be on the side of Ukrainian’s fleeing war, when they’re willing to throw them in jail for not filling out their forms properly?
Over 100,000 households have applied to open their doors to Ukrainian refugees. Extraordinary acts of compassionate and humanity, which are completely lacking from the Nationality and Boarders Bill. The Government rhetoric simply doesn’t match their actions. The dither and delay of the Home Office does nothing other than pile paperwork on backs of those fleeing war. We must and we can do better.