Lydia Chantler-Hicks,Josh Salisbury,Nicholas Cecil and Miriam Burrell
Mon, 13 March 2023 at 6:57 pm GMT
Rishi Sunak faced the threat of a Tory revolt on Monday over his deeply controversial “small boats” bill.
The Prime Minister’s energy tsar Chris Skidmore said he would not vote for the legislation which even the Government’s own lawyers accept may be in breach of international law.
Ahead of the Illegal Migration Bill’s Second Reading, former energy minister Mr Skidmore tweeted: “I am not prepared to break international law or the human rights conventions that the UK has had a proud history of playing a leading role in establishing.
“I will not be voting for the bill tonight.”
The Illegal Migration Bill is being debated in the House of Commons with Suella Braverman defending the policy.
Other senior Tories who have previously voiced concerns over the legislation include former Cabinet ministers David Davis, Sir Robert Buckland, and Simon Hoare, chairman of the Commons Northern Ireland Committee who is urging the PM to include legal and safe asylum routes to Britain in the bill so it is “tough and humane”.
It comes as the BBC announced Gary Lineker would return to Match Of The Day on Saturday after he was taken off air over his tweets criticising the government’s migration policy.
In a statement released on Monday, BBC Director General Tim Davie said: “Gary is a valued part of the BBC and I know how much the BBC means to Gary, and I look forward to him presenting our coverage this coming weekend.”
Labour: ‘We won’t vote for this bill tonight’
18:57 , Miriam Burrell
Labour will vote for action to stop the gangs and for a new cross border police unit, the Shadow Home Secretary has told MPs.
“But we will not vote for more chaos,” Yvette Cooper said.
“We won’t vote for this bill tonight.”
Bill leaves children vulnerable, Labour claims
18:53 , Miriam Burrell
The Illegal Migration Bill is “even worse for children”, Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper has told MPs.
The Bill allows [the Home Office] to remove unaccompanied children and, once they hit 18, it requires [the Home Secretary] to remove them, even if the only support they have “in the entire world” is in the UK, she said.
The bill denies children “any protection from modern slavery”, Ms Cooper claimed.
What is the second reading of a bill?
18:46 , Miriam Burrell
The Illegal Migration Bill is having its second reading in the House of Commons this evening.
The second reading is the first time a bill is debated by MPs. After the debate, MPs decide whether the bill should pass to the next stage.
Pictured: Protest in London’s Parliament Square
18:43 , Miriam Burrell
Home Secretary: ‘I will not back down’
18:39 , Miriam Burrell
Suella Braverman earlier told the House of Commons that she has been subject to “the most grotesque slurs for saying such simple truths about the impact of unlimited and illegal migration”.
The Home Secretary said: “The worst among them, poisoned by the extreme ideology of identity politics, suggest that a person’s skin colour should dictate their political views.
“I will not be hectored by out-of-touch lefties, or anyone for that matter. I won’t be patronised on what appropriate views for someone of my background can hold. I will not back down when faced with spurious accusations of bigotry.”
Hundreds gather in Parliament Square
18:34 , Miriam Burrell
Hundreds of protesters have gathered in Parliament Square to protest against the Government’s Illegal Migration Bill.
Zrinka Bralo, CEO of Migrants Organise, said: “We are here to stand up for dignity and justice and speak out against this new Bill, which is further dehumanising and demonising refugees and is damaging our democracy.”
Protesters chanted “money for health and education not for war and deportation” as many held placards reading “refugees always welcome”.
New bill ‘will deny citizenship for people like Mo Farah’
18:32 , Miriam Burrell
The Illegal Migration Bill is being debated in the House of Commons during its second reading, while a protest is taking place in Parliament Square, this evening.
Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper said the bill is “a con that makes the chaos worse”.
“It won’t stop the criminal gangs…and in fact makes it easier for them as well.”
She said the bill will “rip up” the UK’s long-standing committment to international law.
“It will deny citizenship for people like Mo Farah,” she added.
Asylum system in ‘total chaos’, Shadow Home Secretary says
18:27 , Miriam Burrell
“Our asylum system is in total chaos. Only 1 per cent of last year’s cases had an initial decision,” Yvette Cooper has told the House of Commons.
The Shadow Home Secretary said the backlog in asylum cases has “trebled” in the last few years and “thouands of people” are in “costly and inappropiate hotels”.
Labour: Bill makes ‘all problems worse’
18:24 , Miriam Burrell
Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper said after 13 years of Tory leadership, the UK’s border security is “undermined” and the asylum system is in “chaos”.
She told the House of Commons that the Illegal Migration Bill “makes all of those problems worse”.
Home Secretary: New bill ‘entirely consistent’ with Refugee Convention
18:18 , Miriam Burrell
Illegal arrivals requiring protection will receive it in a safe third country, like Rwanda, the Home Secretary said.
Denying access to the UK aslyum system to those arriving illegally from France, is “entirely consistent” with the UN Refugee Convention, Suella Braverman said.
Braverman: ‘Our modern slavery laws are abused’
18:13 , Miriam Burrell
In 2021, 73% of people detained for removal put forward modern slavery claims, Suella Braverman said, and foreign national offenders have, on the point of removal, put in the same claims to “thwart deportation”.
“Our modern slavery laws are being abused,” the Home Secretary said.
There are ‘safe and legal routes’ for asylum seekers
18:10 , Miriam Burrell
“Our critics pretend that the UK doesn’t have any safe and legal routes and that these routes should also be unlimited,” Suella Braverman said.
The Home Secretary claimed there are “safe and legal routes” for refugees and asylum seekers. She pointed to current visa schemes for people from Hong Kong, Ukraine and Afghanistan.
Under the new legislation, only those under 18, medically unfit to fly, or those at risk of “serious harm” will be able to delay deportation, Ms Braverman said.
Suella Braverman: Rwanda is ‘safe’
18:02 , Miriam Burrell
Home Secretary Suella Braverman said people who arrive in small boats can receive protection in Rwanda, which is a “safe” country.
“Rwanda is a dynamic country with a thriving economy,” she said. “I’ve enjoyed visiting myself, twice before, and I enjoy visiting again.”
When asked about gay rights in Rwanda, Ms Braverman said the High Court judgement points to a “world leading” relationship between the UK and Rwanda which is deemed “lawful” and “proper”.
‘I won’t be patronised’, Home Secretary says
17:56 , Miriam Burrell
“Nothing is more likely to inflame tensions than ignoring the public’s reasonable concerns about the current situation,” Suella Braverman told the House of Commons.
“The public are neither stupid or bigoted…and it’s irresponsible to suggest otherwise,” the Home Secretary said.
She said she had been subject to “grotesque slurs”.
“I will not be hectored by out-of-touch lefties or anyone for that matter,” Ms Braverman added.
“I won’t be patronised on what appropriate views of someone of my background can hold. I will not back down when faced with accusations of bigotry.”
74% arrivals are male, Home Secretary says
17:51 , Miriam Burrell
The Home Secretary said 74 per cent of arrivals in the UK in 2021 were adult males under the age of 40, not pregnant women, and many travelled through France and Albania.
‘Stopping the boats is my top priority’, Braverman says
17:49 , Miriam Burrell
Home Secretary Suella Braverman said in the House of Commons: “The British public know that border security is national security.
She said the public “know that the financial and social costs of illegal migration are unsustainable”.
“If our borders are to mean anything we must control who comes into this country,” Ms Braverman added.
She claimed polls show the British public back the Government’s Illegal Migration Bill 2-1.