Within the next few days the Illegal Migration Bill will be securing Royal assent, and in doing so will become the law of the land.
All in all, I voted against 25 House of Lords amendments over the past couple of weeks. The vast majority of these amendments appeared benign, and well intentioned, but their effect would have been to severely undermine the Illegal Migration Bill and make it far less effective.
With regard to the House of Lords amendments on this vital Bill, there has been far more heat than light. We know what aspects they are against but when it comes to their own alternatives, to this workable plan for tackling dangerous small boat crossings, their amendments brought nothing but vagaries and platitudes. It was very telling that Lord Kenneth Clarke, the former very liberal Conservative Chancellor, even came out in support of the Rwanda policy, saying that the House of Lords had failed to come up with any alternative.
It’s very easy to moralise on this issue without engaging properly in its deep complexities. It’s oh so very tempting. Sadly, there have been too many who have fallen into this trap whilst coming up with no practical workable alternatives to the Illegal Migration Bill and the Rwanda plan themselves. In essence and by default, these individuals are supporters of the status quo; a status quo where we continue to see tens of thousands of people every year entering our country via dangerous small boat crossings. Breaking our asylum system and making it impossible to come up with a sensible compassionate ordered approach.
Anyway, after weeks of ‘ping pong’ the House of Lords finally bowed to the democratic supremacy of the House of Commons and the significant majorities the Bill received in the lower house.
I spoke last week in the debate. Just before we voted against 18 of the House of Lords amendments (Please watch below). Though a major step forward, to be really effective we need the Rwanda scheme to be rolled out and for that, we await the judgement of the Supreme Court later this year.
The Illegal Migration Bill places a legal obligation on the Government to detain and deport all those who illegally enter our country from other safe European countries such as France (where they failed to apply for asylum). As I’ve said countless times before, this situation is intolerable and is causing major issues for the taxpayer and local communities. I can’t see a way of us tackling this without a major deterrent, something that this Bill and the Rwanda scheme provide.
The Labour Party have time and time again, consistently and repeatedly, voted against all measures to help our country secure its borders and tackle illegal migration.
There is little point adding on here how frustrated and angry you are about this. You all know I feel completely the same way. I continue to do everything I can as an individual MP to tackle this issue. I continue to be hopeful that we will eventually “Stop the boats”, it’s just so frustrating how long it is taking. Certainly, I have become personally open to other radical options.