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ACTION - PLEASE WRITE TO YOUR MP

April 13, 2022 9:42 PM

We understand that the House of Commons will be debating the House of Lords amendments on 26 and 27 April. There is still a chance that some of the Government inhumane proposals can be defeated as the recent significant setback to the Government in the House of Lords gives us another opportunity to press our MPs to represent their constituents and vote for the priority amendments.

Please write to your MP today.

You can use the template letter drafted by Together with Refugees

or you can use the template letter below:

Name of MP

House of Commons

SW1A 0AA Your address as your MP needs to know you are in their constituency

Dear (name of MP)

Re: Lords' amendments to the Nationality & Borders Bill

I understand that MPs will be voting on the Lords' Amendments to the Nationality & Borders Bill at the end of April (probably 26 and 27 April). On 4 April, the House of Lords insisted that key reforms that were previously rejected by MPs were looked at again.

Frustration with the government's approach on the bill was summed up by the Conservative peer, Lord Cormack, who criticised the way in which the House of Commons had "dismissed amendments that had been carefully argued and, in many cases, passed by large majorities". The apparent unwillingness of Ministers to engage properly with the objectives behind key issues also saw an unusually high number of amendments (12) voted back to the Commons.

I am writing to ask you to vote against the Government (or abstain) and to speak out strongly to support three vital changes to the Bill:

  1. Peers voted for a second time for revised Amendment 6 to permit the differentiation of refugees on condition that the rights and entitlements of all refugees entering the UK are untouched. This ensures that Clause 11 does not breach the UN Convention for Refugees; a concern that a majority of Peers fear is - without this amendment - highly likely.
  2. The government was also defeated on Conservative-led amendment Amendment 11 which calls on the Home Office to publish how many refugees it will resettle each year. The reform was softened by dropping a target figure of 10 000 refugee places in order to address objections of Ministers that "what is really needed to deliver refugee resettlement is not a number but an approach". It is the main Conservative effort to enhance safe routes in the Bill and would go a long way to addressing dangerous journeys being taken across the Channel. It also specifies that local authorities should be supported to deliver a target and would put in place long-term infrastructure that the Home Office can deploy for refugees in times of crisis.

You can find out more about the rationale and objectives behind these two amendments here in the briefing produced by Together with Refugees.

  1. Peers also expressed their support for extending the right to work in the UK to all people seeking refugee in the UK who have been here for six months (amendment 7) This is clearly the right thing to do - it helps people put down roots, build relationships, gain language skills and independence. There are currently significant gaps in the UK labour markets which these individuals can help fill and such a move would be welcomed by many in the country.

Peers are asking the Commons to look again closely at what is being proposed because the Bill as currently drafted is not workable and needs changing to ensure a compassionate, effective and fair system. That is as more important as ever. Measures to support Ukrainians are welcome but there are still many other people for instance from Syria and Afghanistan fleeing persecution and in need of protection.

Underpinning the decisions of the House of Lords is a fear that the Bill will erode refugee rights to protection that are enshrined in the UN Refugee Convention on the one hand whilst not providing urgently needed new, safe routes for refugees to get into the UK on the other.

I am asking you as my representative to consider:

  • Reaching out to the Home Secretary and Home Office Ministers to seek their views on the possibility of resolving the amendments particularly 6, 7 and 11. Finding a solution would greatly help smoothen the path for the House of Lords to accept the Bill.
  • Speaking and vote in support for the amendments when the Bill is debated in the House of Commons

Many thanks for your time in considering my concerns

I look forward to hearing from you

Yours sincerely

Your name