As the Nationality and Borders Bill returned to the Commons for its final debates before it became law, I challenged the Home Office Minister, Tom Pursglove MP, on the evidence behind the Bill, and the Government’s plans to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda.
I reminded the Minister that his own Department’s impact assessment said that there is ‘limited’ evidence to support the Bill’s approach in deterring asylum seekers from crossing the Channel.
The Minister’s response ignored the Home Office’s assessment of the Nationality and Borders Bill, telling the House:
“The new plan for immigration is delivering meaningful change and I genuinely believe it will make a difference.”
The plans, not just to offshore asylum processing but to offload the entire asylum system to Rwanda, have been widely condemned as cruel and expensive. They will fail to achieve the Government’s own objectives of stopping dangerous Channel crossings too.
Similar schemes by Israel and Australia failed badly and the Government’s own evidence suggests that measures such as this can lead to even riskier journeys as people become more desperate.
Without more safe and legal routes for those fleeing war and persecution, the Government is simply making things worse. It’s easy to get headlines by talking tough, but it doesn’t solve the problem.
The Government overturned the Lords Amendments to the Nationality and Borders Bill three times, and forced it through using Tory MPs’ votes (while Labour continued to oppose the Government). I’ll continue fighting the Government’s hostile environment for asylum seekers, and the pernicious proposals in the Bill – such as criminalising refugees for the way they arrive in the UK and the power to strip people of their citizenship.
I’ve written more about the Government’s inhumane, unworkable plans in PoliticsHome, and you can watch my challenge to the Home Office Minister below.