Tag Archives: immigration bill

28 January 2019 – today’s press releases

Never let it be said that we’re not public spirited here at Liberal Democrat Voice. So, for those of you who haven’t filed your Self Assessment tax return for the year ended 5 April 2018, the deadline is just seventy-two hours away. Don’t delay, don’t let it peck away at you!

Meanwhile, back on Planet Zog…

  • Lib Dems: Culture in our schools system is toxic
  • Lib Dems reject Tory Immigration Bill
  • Ed Davey: Labour abstention on Immigration Bill “pathetic” (see here)
  • Govt defeat in Lords shows backstop tinkering will not work
  • Lib Dems: Britain deserves a better opposition as Labour U-turn on Immigration Bill
  • Swinson: Proxy

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“Pathetic”

It’s not often you get a one-word quote from a politician.

“Pathetic.”

This was Ed Davey’s reaction to the news that Labour were to abstain on the Government’s Immigration Bill.

This Bill ends freedom of movement, rolling out the Hostile Environment on an industrial scale to EU nationals, not just those who are already here but those we desperately need to come here and work in the future.

A £30,000 salary requirement to take up a job here will obliterate our health and social care services. It is so short sighted.

This Bill is brutal, inhumane and exactly what you would expect from the Tories. It is to be opposed with passion.

We’re obviously voting against it. Labour initially said they were going to abstain. When a number of Labour MPs said that they would vote against, this was revised to a one-line whip. A one-line Whip is pretty much “turn up if you feel like it.”

This does not save Labour’s face.

Part of the reason we are in this mess is because people didn’t robustly stand up to the Daily Mail and UKIP and their revolting prejudice against immigrants. Nobody was making the positive argument for immigration and challenging the awful stuff in the media. Labour’s equivocation is disgraceful.

This Bill needs to be opposed. The Immigration Rules as they are are horrific. They need to be ripped up and we need to start again and build a system that has fairness and dignity and respect at its heart. It needs to welcome the fact that people fall across with people from the other side of the world and celebrate the fact that they want to live together in this country. It needs to enthusiastically welcome the workers we desperately need to keep our farms, hospitals and care homes, our universities, our businesses and our hotels and restaurants.

This government gets away with such egregious things because Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party lets it. On Brexit, on immigration, on everything, Labour should be piling on the pressure. Tory Whips should be tearing their hair out on every vote. They shouldn’t be putting their feet up knowing that they are not seriously under threat. No minority government should ever feel so comfortable.

You can certainly see where Mitch Benn is coming from.

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19 December 2018 – today’s press releases

As displacement activity, as opposed to actually doing something practical as the country careers towards a cliff-edge Brexit, arguing about whether or not Jeremy Corbyn called Theresa May “stupid woman”, or said “stupid Tories” or “stupid people” seems to hit the spot.

* deep sigh *

It’s so much more courteous down the corridor in the House of Lords…

And the Press Team are still hard at work…

  • Tory immigration plans would bring chaos, not control
  • Corbyn must apologise for PMQs remarks
  • Cable: EU planning reinforces PM must rule out no-deal

Tory immigration plans would bring chaos, not control

Responding to the Government’s immigration white paper, Liberal Democrat …

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Baroness Sally Hamwee writes…How Lib Dem Lords are making the horrible Immigration Bill a little better

This is my third attempt at writing this piece. Events have been moving quickly on the Immigration Bill as the Government tries its hardest to push it through before the end of the session.

Last night the House of Lords got the Bill back from the Commons who discussed it the previous night.

The debate there concentrated on the amendment that would put into legislation the call for the UK to offer sanctuary to 3000 unaccompanied child refugees who have already arrived in Europe.

Of course the Government does not need legislation to do this, but it seems the force of votes in Parliament is required.

That vote was defeated by a narrow majority in the Commons and it was left to us in the Lords yesterday to reinstate it, inflicting another heavy Government defeat. This gives the Commons – and those Tories who talk of ‘Compassionate Conservatism’ – another chance to do the right thing.

Apart from this amendment we also won votes on putting a 28 day time limit on immigration detention of and restricting the detention of pregnant women. Detention should be imposed only in the most exceptional circumstances, and the calculation of the time limits gives too much wriggle room.  Safeguards were also inserted similar to those which apply to children which we insisted went into legislation during the Coalition Government.

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Immigration Bill – what’s happening this evening

Editor: Apologies – we have removed this post at Sally’s request and have been promised an update in the morning.

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What you can do to make a difference to the Immigration Bill

The Immigration Bill returns to the House of Commons on Monday, April 25th. Some very important amendments will be coming from significant wins in the House of Lords, when it was debated there. ALL MPs need to be lobbied and told how important it is that these amendments are incorporated into what is a terrible Bill, to at least make a difference to many asylum seekers already in the UK, as well as the 3,000 unaccompanied children seeking refuge, already in Europe.

Please do take the time to write, meet, or otherwise lobby your own MP on these issues.

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Baroness Sally Hamwee writes..How Liberal Democrat Lords are trying to make the Immigration Bill less bad

The current Immigration Bill presents many challenges: one is its complexity, and another is sheer fury at the mind-set that it demonstrates on the part of the Government.  But every time I get angry, I remind myself that we must, we really must, do all we can to make it even a little bit less bad.

That means more self-discipline than, for me, comes naturally.  We will have far too little time for report stage in the Lords, which starts this week.  So we will have to be very focused.  It’s not just a matter of what we choose to discuss – we have to try to reach votes at times when we have the best chance of winning.  To that end, Brian Paddick and I have had several discussions with the Labour front-bench to agree a strategy.  Our irritation and sometimes sheer bemusement when Labour support us in debate but sit on their hands when it comes to a vote is well-known, but of course we are prepared to work with them if it means winning votes, and indeed make concessions as to how we approach issues if that means our opposition to the government is united.  And we are united in wanting crossbench peers to lead on amendments where possible as they may gain more traction than those of us with a party badge.

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Lib Dem Lords vs the Home Office #2: Sally Hamwee

Part of the Christmas story involves the baby Jesus and his parents fleeing for his life after Herod ordered the slaughter of the innocents. David Cameron, with all his talk on Christian values the other day, might like to reflect on that. If he did, he’s be withdrawing his appalling Immigration Bill. We won’t be holding our breath for that to happen. Liberal Democrat peers lined up to condemn it the other day and, over the Christmas period, we’re publishing all their speeches. Sally Hamwee had some strong words, implying that it was closer to Trump than Trudeau. It’s a long speech, but worth reading.

My Lords, from these Benches we find little that is positive in the Bill. We fear that it will increase discrimination, exploitation, destitution and homelessness. It will risk children’s welfare, turn citizens into enforcers through outsourcing and reduce the UK’s reputation in employment and other sectors—all of this, and more, without making any progress on a time limit for immigration detention, on family reunion, on integration and on community cohesion. This is the Bill we would have had in the last Parliament had it not been for the moderating effect of coalition government.

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Throw out Theresa May’s Immigration Bill

Teresa May’s Immigration Bill should be rejected by Parliament and will be opposed by Liberal Democrat MPs. This is a totally illiberal bill which deeply erodes civil rights and diminishes human liberties by giving immigration officers and the executive extreme powers. It is proposed that immigration officers get powers to enter premises, strip search and arrest, breaching the rights of legal or suspected illegal immigrants. We all know about unconscious bias and BAME people will be adversely affected, bearing the brunt of the proposed legislation. It also extends the powers of the executive in unwarranted ways and undermines the independence of courts by removing people without power of in-country appeal. It also includes electronic tagging and threatens the rights of children in detention, possibly leading to children being separated from their parents. This is unacceptable as children should be protected regardless of who their parents are. This bill could make discrimination even worse when landlords fearing prosecution do not rent homes to migrants or even to people who may appear to be migrants or have non-British names. Evidence shows that migrants and those with foreign-sounding names are already likely to be discriminated against.

Posted in Op-eds | 32 Comments

Farron tries to kill off Immigration Bill completely

Tim Farron will try and kill off the Government’s flawed Immigration Bill during the Second Reading debate on Tuesday.

From the Guardian:

The Liberal Democrat leader, Tim Farron, has challenged Labour and the Scottish National party to back an amendment he will table to the government’s immigration bill that would stop it becoming law.

Farron will table a reasoned amendment – a device used to offer reasons for rejecting a bill – when the government’s proposals are debated in parliament on Tuesday.

Tim is quoted as saying:

It is simply ridiculous to have a bill that ignores the biggest humanitarian crisis of our generation – the growing numbers of refugees in southern Europe who need us to act now,” he said.

That is why I have tabled an amendment to block this inadequate bill. I am calling on Labour, the SNP and all Tories with a conscience to back our amendment and force Theresa May to listen to the British public when they say ‘Refugees Welcome’.

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Lib Dems need to stick their head above the parapet on immigration and asylum seekers #slfconf

Immigration breakout Social Liberal Forum conference Jul 19 2014 Photo by Paul WalterLiberal Democrats for Seekers of Sanctuary held a thoughtful and impassioned break-out session at the Social Liberal Forum conference today.

Suzanne Fletcher gave some interesting updates from her key involvement in the recent policy working party on Immigration, Asylum and Social Cohesion. Suzanne stressed how important it is for policy-makers to get their terminology right. Illegal immigrants get mixed up with asylum seekers. Asylum seekers get confused with refugees. Deportation gets conflated with removal. It’s not just the Daily Mail …

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76% of Lib Dem members oppose Government plans to render foreign-born terror suspects ‘stateless’

Lib Dem stickersLib Dem Voice has polled our members-only forum  to discover what Lib Dem members think of various political issues, the Coalition, and the performance of key party figures. More than 830 party members responded – thank you – and we’re publishing the full results.

Three-quarters oppose Theresa May’s plans to render foreign-born terror suspects ‘stateless’

The Government has proposed in its Immigration Bill that the Home Secretary should have the power to revoke the British nationality of those whose presence in the UK are deemed ‘not conducive to the public

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The Independent View: Removing the ‘right to have rights’

LibertyWhile the Commons grappled with the latest wave of backbench Euroscepticism, quietly and without fanfare the Home Secretary introduced an amendment to the Immigration Bill which strikes at the heart of our national conscience.

The impetus for this power came not from the urgent necessity of fighting terrorism, but is rather the result of a six year legal battle. In October last year, the Supreme Court held that the executive could not remove British nationality from an individual where to do so would render him stateless.  A frustrated Home Secretary now seeks a broad, discretionary power to remove what Hannah Arendt so memorably described as “the right to have rights”.

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The Immigration Bill: 23 Liberal Democrat Lords rebel on “stateless” power, 12 on child trafficking guardian

immigrationThe Immigration Bill was back in the Lords this Monday where the Government suffered two defeats. The first was to overturn the power of the Home Secretary to deprive terror suspects who had acquired British citizenship  (note, suspects, not anybody who has been convicted of anything) of that citizenship even if so doing would render them stateless.

Of the 242 peers supporting Lord Pannick’s amendment, 23 of them were Liberal Democrats. And their ranks included more than the usual Awkward Squad.

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Liberal Democrat peers support asylum seekers’ right to work

Advocates disrupt transfer of asylum seekers from VillawoodThe Immigration Bill is currently going through its final stages in the House of Lords. On Thursday, Liberal Democrat peers, led by Roger Roberts, tried to amend it by inserting a clause which would have entitled asylum seekers to work after 6 months.

Roger told me that he was not able to press the amendment to a vote because it received no support from either Labour or Conservative front benches. This, he felt, was grossly unfair given George Osborne’s desire for full employment and Labour’s …

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Lord Roger Roberts writes: The Immigration Bill – does it help or hinder?

Lords TwitterIt’s not too well known outside the House, but there are three UKIP-affiliated Peers sitting in the Lords. And interestingly, despite being members of a party that shouts the loudest about immigration, not one of them turned up to yesterday’s Immigration Bill second reading debate. Read into that what you will.

But what about the excellent speeches that Liberal Democrats Peers gave? You can read a summary of my speech below (finding the full version, here – and the Parliament TV link at 19:27, here). I also urge you to follow my colleagues’ activities on TheyWorkForYou, via our @LibDemLords account and through our Group’s blog.

Posted in Op-eds | 3 Comments

Immigration minister Mark Harper quits. An honourable resignation? Inevitable is nearer the mark

Mark Harper, Conservative immigration minister, today resigned after learning his cleaner did not have permission to work in the UK. Here’s how the BBC reports it:

Mr Harper notified Prime Minister David Cameron, who accepted his resignation “with regret”, Number 10 said. It added there was “no suggestion” the 43-year-old Conservative MP for the Forest of Dean had “knowingly employed an illegal immigrant”. Fellow Tory James Brokenshire has been appointed the new immigration minister.

His resignation is being hailed as honourable, though I think inevitable is nearer the mark. There is no suggestion he acted illegally, and in his own version …

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Why has Nick Clegg backed plan to deprive terror suspects of citizenship?

A last-minute government amendment to the Immigration Bill which would give the Home Secretary the power to deprive terror suspects of British citizenship even if it would make them stateless has made all the headlines. Well, the cynic in me suggests that it neatly deflects attention from the abject failure of David Cameron to keep his right-wing backbenchers under control. So far he hasn’t been able to stop Dominic Raab and Nigel Mills from tabling amendments which, if passed, would render the Bill illegal as far as the European Convention on Human Rights is concerned. He is unlikely to …

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Julian Huppert writes … Immigration Bill: Update

I thought it might be useful to let you all know where we’ve reached with the Immigration Bill. Today, we start to discuss each clause in detail in the Bill Committee, which I’m serving on.

I’ve tabled a whole series of amendments, to try to move the Bill back towards the sort of thing that we would like to see.

I’ll be suggesting that students shouldn’t pay the NHS levy – they already contribute to our economy by coming here to study, and we don’t want to drive them away to countries we compete with. I’ll also argue that people who’ve been …

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Open letter to Lib Dem MPs: The Immigration Bill is illiberal

Dear Lib Dem MPs,

We Liberal Democrats have long been proud of our internationalism and compassionate stance towards refugees and immigration. Not an ‘open borders’ party, but a party which believes controlling our borders does not conflict with welcoming newcomers or upholding their human rights.

By contrast the Conservatives care little for rights, European or otherwise. Theresa May is engaged in creating a “hostile environment” made so unpleasant for “irregular migrants” will simply pack up and leave, and minority ethnic British citizens could end up being racially-profiled if they ‘look foreign.’ This approach is diametrically opposed to the values I …

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Julian Huppert writes: Working towards a competent immigration system

immigrationAs a liberal, I believe that we benefit from immigration. Overall, this country is a richer place, economically and culturally, because we have people from around the world coming here to work, study and play. I want to see an immigration system that works, is fair and allows us to benefit from the best and brightest as well as offering sanctuary and asylum for those fleeing the most desperate situations imaginable abroad.

However, that case is not made often enough. We hear constant rhetoric from the Tories and the right wing press about how we must clamp down on foreigners, and Labour …

Posted in Op-eds | 10 Comments

Closed for business? The UK needs more foreign students

Heathrow Immigration QueuesConflating international students’ use of the health service with so-called ‘health tourism’ sends out the wrong message to prospective students.

The government’s new Immigration Bill, according to immigration minister Mark Harper will:

Stop migrants using public services to which they are not entitled, reduce the pull factors which encourage people to come to the UK and make it easier to remove people who should not be here.

The measures focus on enforcement and clamping down. They include a requirement for temporary migrants, such as overseas students, to make a contribution to the National Health Service to prevent so-called “health tourism”.

International students make up around half of all migrants coming to the UK. According to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, they contributed £13.1 billion to the national economy in 2011.

Posted in The Independent View | Also tagged and | 4 Comments
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