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House of Lords to Debate Illegal Migration Bill

Peers in the House of Lords are set to discuss the Conservative party’s Illegal Migration bill today (10th May 2023).

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    The Illegal Migration Bill

    The bill, also dubbed the “Small Boats Bill”, is to undergo its second reading in the House of Lords today.

    It faces significant challenges from peers, with key members having spoken out in criticism of the bill.

    Among these is the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, who is expected to argue against the bill and its notion to criminalise those who arrive in the UK visa small boats.

    Welby previously addressed the House of Lords in December, stating that the government and public should reject the “shrill narratives that all who come to us for help should be treated as liars, scroungers or less than fully human”.

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    Potential Motion to Decline

    During the session, peers will also consider a motion to decline, put forward by Lord Paddick of the Liberal Democrats,

    The motion to decline would mean that the House of Lords refuses to give the bill a second reading entirely, on the basis that fails to provide safe and legal routes for refugees.

    Concerns are also raised over the bill’s failure to adequately tackle the UK’s current backlog of asylum cases and the rising issue of people smuggling.


    Open Letter to Parliament

    Leading the criticism against the bill today is an open letter to parliament, organised by the human rights organisation Liberty.

    The letter is signed by representatives from 174 separate human rights groups and charities, condemning the Illegal Migration Bill as “effectively a ban on asylum”.

    The letter also goes on to state that the bill “almost certainly” breaches multiple international conventions and agreements, including the UN refugee convention and the European convention on human rights (ECHR).

    The Home Secretary, Suella Braverman, continues to defend the bill, stating that the government’s crackdown on illegal immigration is the “will of the people”.

    The session in the House of Lords is expected to run until at least 10pm tonight.

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