Former shadow cabinet member criticises Conservative asylum policy and calls for changes - Refugee Council
October 10, 2005

Former shadow cabinet member criticises Conservative asylum policy and calls for changes

John Bercow MP, former shadow cabinet member, has asked Conservatives to leave behind their hard-line stance on immigration and asylum in an article in the Independent today. He also called on Conservatives to challenge the Government “at every turn” to guarantee the safety of those made to return to their countries of origin.

He called for Conservative asylum policy to change in three ways. First, the restrictions on asylum-seekers’ right to work should be lifted. Second, he called for an end to the “growing scandal of arbitrary and unsafe removals of failed asylum-seekers.” Third, he asked for backing on the ‘Common European Asylum Policy’, describing it as “a serious attempt to tackle a problem which has implications for asylum-seekers, EU governments and all citizens.”

Mr. Bercow emphasised that his position wasn’t just about tactically changing policy to appeal more to voters but because primarily Conservative policies are wrong and could be improved. Mr. Bercow also said in the opinion piece in the Independent that the Conservative proposals during the election to withdraw from the 1951 UN Refugee Convention and to place a limit on the amount of refugees allowed to enter the UK were “as misconceived and unattractive as any we have made in recent times.”

Other information:

Independent: Party’s immigration policy is wrong, says Bercow
Independent (Comment): John Bercow: Conservative immigration policy is simply wrong