The Second Reading of the Immigration Bill took place on 13 October. “Reasoned amendments” to the Bill, which call for a vote to be taken to stop the Bill proceeding, were tabled by Labour, SNP, the Lib Dems and the Greens. The text of these amendments are attached as a file so that you can see the basic positions of each party. Only the Labour amendment was chosen for debate and when this was voted on it was defeated by 322 votes to 282.
In relation to the proposed changes to asylum support it is worth noting that the Immigration Minister stated that “Section 55 of the Children Act will continue to apply as regards safeguarding duties towards children (col. 276). The full debate can be read here.
Organisations and individuals are still encouraged to write to MPs (see template below) and ask them to raise concerns about measures in the Bill as it progresses through Parliament. MPs need to hear that ordinary British people feel strongly that the punitive measures being proposed will have serious implications for British society, encouraging a xenophobic climate of fear and hostility and that they do not believe that this legislation will serve the well-being of our society.
The Immigration Bill Committee will begin its work with two oral evidence session next week on Tuesday 20 October & Thursday 22 October. There will then be a detailed examination of the Bill where amendments can be proposed and discussed.The Immigration Bill Committee has started receiving evidence on the issues contained in the Bill. You can watch the evidence sessions here or read the sessions in Hansard. The Committee will run until 17 November on the following dates:
Tuesday 27 October, 0925 & 1400.
Thursday 29 October, 1130 & 1400.
Tuesday 3 November, 0925 & 1400.
Thursday 5 November, 1130 & 1400.
Tuesday 10 November, 0925 & 1400.
Tuesday 17 November, 0925 & 1400.
In the shorter term the Committee MPs need to hear from sanctuary supporters to influence at the committee stage:
The composition of the Committee is as follows:
- James Brokenshire (Old Bexley and Sidcup), Immigration Minister
- Robert Buckland (South Swindon), Solicitor General
- Charlie Elphicke (Dover), Whip
- Craig Whittaker (Calder Valley)
- Byron Davies (Gower)
- Mims Davies (Eastleigh)
- Rebecca Harris (Castle Point)
- Kelly Tolhurst (Rochester and Strood)
- Simon Hoare (North Dorset)
- Chloe Smith (Norwich North)
- Keir Starmer (Holborn and St Pancras), Shadow Immigration Minister
- Sarah Champion (Rotherham), Shadow Minister for Home Office
- Sue Hayman (Workington), Whip
- Mrs Emma Lewell-Buck (South Shields)
- Paul Blomfield (Sheffield Central)
- Kate Hollern (Blackburn)
There is also the excellent Still Human Still Here Second Reading Briefing 29 Sept for MPs which looks exclusively at the impact of Clause 34 and the proposal to cut off support to asylum seeking families. Individuals and organisations can send this direct to MPs they are contacting or use any part they find useful for their own briefing materials.
In addition, the Asylum Support Appeals Project ( ASAP) Increasing destitution – Immigration Bill 2015 Briefing 30-9-15 shows that 65% of appeals for asylum support are successful. This indicates the high number of wrong decisions on support for refused asylum seekers and how many will be affected if the right of appeal is stopped under this Bill.
There is a useful briefing from the ILPA giving an overview of some of the other key measures in the Bill.
Finally here is a clear and concise assessment of the rules being proposed in the Immigration Bill 2015 written by Kate Newbury, an associate at Kingsley Naply, a prominent immigration law firm.