Tag Archives: border control

Lib Dem Press Release: Lib Dem peers defeat Government on civil liberties

Liberal Democrat peers have defeated the Government on a key vote on the Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Bill.

Amendment 15, tabled jointly by Liberal Democrat frontbench spokesperson Brian Paddick and two Labour peers, creates exemptions to the new offence of “entering or remaining in a designated area” so that it doesn’t apply to aid workers, journalists, people visiting ill relatives or those attending funerals.

The amendment passed by 220 votes to 191.

Liberal Democrat peers also voted for another amendment, tabled jointly by Lord Paddick and Baroness Jones, to limit the Bill’s impact on freedom of speech. However, Labour abstained and Tory peers voted against the amendment, so it failed by 93 votes to 198.

Liberal Democrat MPs had previously voted against the Bill in the House of Commons, joined only by Caroline Lucas, but Labour voted with the Tories to pass it 376–10.

Brian Paddick, Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson for Home Affairs, said:

Through our opposition to these unnecessary, illiberal new laws, we have secured important changes that will reduce the risk of innocent people being wrongly convicted.

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 2 Comments

Liberal Democrats need to play smart on immigration and border controls

If we are to learn from the lessons of Trump becoming President and the EU referendum, we progressive politicians must play smarter in the area of immigration. This does not mean aping Mr Trump or Nigel Farage but working out where the real blame lies for failures in our border controls and who has accountability for fixing them.

The current government has decided landlords and schools are suddenly  quasi immigration officers. Even the Daily Mail noted that the government pilot project to require landlords to check tenants rights to live in the UK had been an abject failure. Many parents at my own children’s school complained about the need to audit the nationalities of their children and where their parents were from. Parents were not even told this was optional and that they could refuse to complete the census. The head teacher complained of the administrative burden of this new dictat. Quite rightly so, given no extra resources were given to schools to carry out this work.

This brings me back to where I think we as Liberal politicians should be looking to do more around border controls. The introduction of proper exit checks last year was long overdue and the Lib Dems contributed to this in the Coalition. Yet individual landlords and schools are being asked to mop up the mess created by previous governments. Technology initiatives from the Labour government on immigration control during the 2000s cost up to £1 billion and were not fit for purpose.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 35 Comments

Is it possible for us to “take back control of our borders”?

 

A number of problems spring to mind as we plan to “take back control of our borders” in the event of Brexit. Inevitably envisioning various scenarios demands a degree of speculation, but the following causes me a good deal of concern.

I suspect Calais may become less of a flash point, though I have an inkling Cherbourg may develop as more of a destination de choix.

Four times a week a giant ferry leaves there for Rosslare. For desperate people that have trekked across a continent and a half I doubt it’ll be seen as too great an added imposition.

Once there the UK border is now approx 277 km away, all 500km of it!

Crossings are available by motorway, country roads, dirt tracks, rail, boat and any number of random fields and….yes.. bogs.

The border was policed, often quite officiously and occasionally with bullets, between 1923 and 1993. It is one of the great triumphs of late 1990s diplomacy that this is no longer the case. Once breached, a trek north to Antrim brings the wretched traveller to within 12 miles of the Scottish coastline,

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 20 Comments
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