The Nationality and Borders Bill Committee has begun and as Shadow Immigration Minister, I will be scrutinising this fundamentally flawed and dangerous Bill line-by-line with MPs over the coming weeks.
We’ve heard from diverse witnesses during the evidence session of the Nationality and Borders Bill Committee, including from the British Red Cross, the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, local Councils and the National Crime Agency.
Home Office officials were originally planned to give evidence to the Committee but were removed from the witness list at the last minute – I raised this point, as it limits our ability to scrutinise those working in the Home Office on this legislation.
Rather than offering genuine proposals to fix the asylum system, this Bill aims to criminalise and punish many people seeking protection in this country. As the Afghan refugee crisis shows, we need to introduce safe and legal routes for those fleeing persecution abroad – not turn our backs on some of the most vulnerable people on Earth.
As the Committee continues to meet, I will be making these points clear to Ministers. I will also continue to work with colleagues to amend the Bill to properly meet the challenges of our broken asylum system.