On Monday in the chamber, the Lords Amendments to the Nationality and Borders Bill were debated and voted on.
I think it is right that we are incredibly generous and sympathetic towards Ukrainian refugees, while maintaining high standards for national security and not waiving all checks on those coming into the country – especially amid times of raised tensions.
The big-heartedness we have seen in the UK in the desire to help Ukrainian refugees has reinforced to me the importance of distinguishing between genuine refugees arriving in the UK legitimately, and the illegal economic migrants sustaining evil people smuggling gangs and crossing the channel in small boats.
I said in the chamber on Monday that I supported the amendments which allow the government to exact visa penalties on countries which pose a risk to our security, or states which are uncooperative when the UK attempts to return people from their nation.
I am also pleased that this Bill lays the foundations needed for off-shore processing, which we have seen work in Australia. It is no surprise that Labour voted against this, as well as against ways to distinguish between how individuals arrive on our shores.
It will now go back to the House of Lords for further consideration, but I must say this is a Bill which I think the Lords should tread carefully with. This is an important Bill, and one which has a lot of support outside of Parliament.