Thank you for contacting me about the Government’s Nationality and Borders Bill.

This Bill has been introduced against the backdrop of an asylum and immigration system that is simply not fit for purpose.

The British people want and deserve a system that is fair, compassionate and orderly, as has been made clear by the fact that more than 150,000 households have signed up to house refugees fleeing the horrors of Putin’s barbaric war in Ukraine.

However, far from meeting the challenges that our immigration and asylum system faces, I fear the Bill actively makes the situation worse. It proposes unworkable solutions that will cost the taxpayer and it undermines international humanitarian conventions at a time when cooperation is needed more than ever. I have therefore opposed this Bill at every opportunity.

The Bill recently returned to the House of Commons for consideration of amendments made in the House of Lords. These included amendments to:

  • Remove the differential treatment of refugees on the basis of their method of arrival in the UK
  • Remove measures relating to proposed offshore processing of asylum seekers
  • Ensure that nothing in the Bill does not comply with the Refugee Convention
  • Commit the Government to resettling at least 10,000 refugees a year
  • Introduce a new family reunion route for unaccompanied children and others, who currently have no safe and legal way of reuniting with family members in the UK
  • Remove a new power for the Home Secretary to remove someone’s citizenship without notice

I supported all these amendments and more, but the Government rejected them and they were removed from the Bill.

The reality of this is that the Government has made it a criminal offence for Ukrainian families to arrive in the UK without the right papers with a penalty of up to four years in prison. More than three million people have left Ukraine since the Russian invasion, many of them children and elderly people. They need support and solidarity from all countries. The Home Office has already been far too slow to help; the Nationality and Borders Bill makes that much worse.

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