Today (Tuesday 22 March) saw the Nationality and Borders Bill return to the House of Commons and MPs debating 54 amendments proposed to the bill by the House of Lords.
Clause 11 of the bill has been an extremely contentious element of the bill because it would enable refugees to be divided into two classes based on how they arrive in the UK.
In response to the voting down by MPs of an amendment proposed by Lords to remove this clause from the bill entirely (amendment 6), Enver Solomon, CEO of the Refugee Council, said:
“The UK public is demonstrating an outpouring of generosity to the millions of refugees whose lives have been torn apart by the conflict in Ukraine. Up and down the country people are coming forward, wanting to welcome Ukrainians to our country.
“Yet this Government is now seeking to criminalise those who have no choice but to make their own way to the UK without a visa. It’s a cruel and heartless move that is dramatically turning our back on the commitment made over seven decades ago when the UK was one of the founding signatories of the Refugee Convention – that men, women and children fleeing oppression and war should always be granted a fair hearing on UK soil regardless of how they have reached our shores.
“The public clearly want an asylum system that is orderly humane and fair – not one that treats those fleeing bombing and shelling in Ukraine and other conflicts around the world as criminals.”