The Tories’ “Illegal Migration Bill” is really a Refugee Ban Bill. It would see people who’ve escaped some of the most horrific conditions denied safety, detained, and deported. I voted against this latest Tory assault on refugees and tabled a reasoned amendment to throw it out. As the damage wrought by thirteen devastating years of right-wing policies becomes clearer and clearer, the Tories are sinking deeper into their last redoubt: racism and scapegoating.
This legislation isn’t going to work on its own terms, it’s about creating an unworkable situation that the Tories can politically exploit at the next election instead of standing on their dismal track record on living standards and public services. It is an attempt to recast refugees crossing in small boats as “illegal migrants”, even though we know 75% of those making the crossings are granted asylum. People are no less deserving of human rights, dignity, or compassion because of the dangerous routes they have to take to reach safety. We need to push for safe routes, international cooperation and quicker asylum decisions.