The Welsh Liberal Democrats have continued to call on Priti Patel to withdraw the Nationality and Borders Bill in light of the war in Ukraine and the ensuing refugee crisis.
MPs are set to debate some of the Bill’s most controversial aspects in the House of Commons today [Tuesday 22nd March], including Government plans to:
- Criminalise refugees simply for coming to the UK to seek asylum.
- “Offshore” asylum seekers by sending them to another country while their claims are processed.
- Create a second class of refugees with fewer rights and only temporary protection.
The Liberal Democrats worked with others in the House of Lords to pass amendments that would remove these laws from the Bill, highlighting that they would criminalise people fleeing Ukraine who come to the UK seeking asylum.
So far, 3.5 million people have fled Ukraine since Vladimir Putin unleashed his war, according to the UNHCR. More than 150,000 people across the UK have offered to host Ukrainian refugees through the ‘Homes for Ukraine’ programme, but so far the Government has only issued 10,200 visas under the Ukraine Family Scheme.
Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds who worked for 6 years as the Head of Children’s Services at the Refugee Council, has previously called on the Government to begin airlifts to bring refugees from Poland directly to the UK and cancel the need for any visas.
Ahead of the debate, Jane Dodds MS said:
“The Conservatives’ Anti-Refugee Bill is dangerous and cruel. It flies in the face of the enormous compassion and generosity that people across Wales have shown in response to people fleeing Putin’s war in Ukraine.
“It beggars belief that Priti Patel is still trying to push this Bill through at a time when protecting refugees has never been so important. She should listen to the Welsh people and ditch it now. If not she should be sacked.
“Wales has a great history of providing sanctuary to desperate people fleeing war and persecution. Yet this Conservative Government are stopping Wales becoming the nation of sanctuary we want to be.
“This Anti-Refugee Bill undermines that proud Welsh tradition and the Welsh Liberal Democrats will continue to fiercely oppose it.”