LGBTQI+, asylum and the Nationality and Borders Bill

Many constituents have written to me asking about protection for LGBTQI+ people seeking asylum and the Nationality and Borders Bill.

The Nationality and Borders Bill has been described by the Home Office as containing “the most radical changes to the broken asylum system in decades” making it harder for those who enter illegally to stay in the UK. The Bill will make it a criminal offence to knowingly arrive in the UK without permission.

There has been substantial opposition to this Bill from organisations that defend human rights, the rights of women, the rights of LGBTQ+ people, the rights of migrants and anti-racist groups. The United Nations refugee agency, the UNHCR, warned that the Bill “risks breaching commitments under the Refugee Convention that clearly protect the universal right to seek asylum.” The rules produce a two-tier system of refugee protection that limits protection based not on need, but on a refugee’s method of travel.

I have opposed this bill in and outside of Parliament and I will continue to campaign against the hostile environment it creates.  I voted against the bill during the Second Reading held on 20 July 2021 and called for a humanitarian approach to refugees.  Instead of criminalising people who try to get to a place of safety, the government should use this legislation to show decency and share responsibility for the world at large.  My full speech is here:

I will continue to advocate in Parliament and beyond that all migrants have automatic access to resources without fear of detention or deportation. This includes ensuring a legal route to family reunion for child refugees, the scrapping of the healthcare surcharge, an end to the No Recourse to Public Funds policy and the closure of detention centres.