My response to the Illegal Migration Bill

Rather than dealing with our broken asylum system, the Government announced another cruel piece of legislation to try and distract from their 13 years of failure.

The Conservative Government announced its Illegal Migration Bill and I know many people in our community are extremely concerned by this Bill.

I think the proposals announced this week are appalling. At a time when people can’t afford to heat their homes, can’t get a GP appointment, and can’t buy basic fruit and veg due to food shortages, the Tories are once again seeking to demonise the most vulnerable to distract from their own failures.

It is the latest in a long line of proposals announced by the Conservatives. Last year, it was the Rwanda offshoring plan. That has cost the taxpayer £140 million, every penny of which has been a total waste.

Before the Rwanda deal, it was the Nationality and Borders Bill. Since this legislation was introduced, there has been a 60% increase in people waiting for an asylum decision – 160,000 people in total.

Like the measures before it, this latest Bill will fail too, as it completely fails to address the problems that exist in our asylum system. We need safe and legal routes for people seeking protection, we need to clear the asylum backlog, and we need to strike returns agreements with safe countries. Until then, we will not crack down on the criminal smuggler gangs that profit from putting vulnerable peoples’ lives at risk.

Instead, we now face a Bill that drives a coach and horses through our world-leading modern slavery legislation and rips up the UK’s commitment to the Refugee Convention.

I believe our country deserves an asylum system that offers the public confidence that the Government is in control of it; that is fair and consistent; and is based on showing compassion to those who are fleeing for their lives.