Last night, the Government’s Illegal Migration Bill passed its second reading in the House of Commons.
The Bill passed by a margin of 312 to 250. A Labour amendment seeking to block the Bill was defeated.
Some Tory backbenchers, among them former minister Caroline Nokes and former PM Theresa May, objected to the Bill’s terms, which could see unaccompanied children and victims of human trafficking summarily deported from the UK, but ultimately no Conservatives voted against the Bill.
The passage, though expected, comes amid widespread political and public outrage over the terms of the Bill, with Best for Britain’s petition calling for the Bill to be dropped garnering nearly 30,000 signatures in 48 hours.
Hundreds of demonstrators gathered in Parliament Square as the vote took place, calling on Parliament to vote against the Bill. Former refugees and campaigners who addressed the protest said their own asylum claims would have been denied under the Bill’s terms. Green MP Caroline Lucas told the crowd the Bill was “poisonous, performative politics at its worst.”
Best for Britain Chief Executive Naomi Smith said,
“This vote does not change the fact that this Bill is legally, morally, and practically unworkable, and that it will fail to fix the problems it purports to address and inflict untold suffering on people seeking asylum in the process.
“If the Government is serious about fixing our asylum system, they must immediately drop this Bill and instead open new safe routes that respect the right to seek asylum under international law.”