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The Nationality and Borders Bill returns to the House of Commons on the 20th of April.

The below letter has been adapted from one created by Together With Refugees. We have created one for MPs who have not yet opposed the Nationality and Borders Bill and one for those who already have, to thank them for their continued support. Please copy and paste the relevant one, and adapt to make it more personal. If you aren’t sure who your MP is, you can click here for a helpful guide made by one of our volunteers

 

 

Template Letter for MPs who have not yet opposed the Nationality and Borders Bill

 

[Name of MP]
House of Commons
London
SW1A 0AA

[Your address and contact details. Your MP needs to know that you live in their constituency]

[Date]

Dear [name of MP],

Re: Resolving Lords’ amendments 6 and 11 to the Nationality and Borders Bill 

MPs will vote on Lords’ Amendments to the Nationality and Borders Bill on 20 April. On Monday, 4 April, the House of Lords insisted on key reforms that were previously rejected by MPs, are looked at again.

Frustration with the government’s approach on the bill was summed up by conservative peer, Lord Cormack who criticised the way in which the House of Commons “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.

We oppose this bill wholeheartedly, and take particular issue with the following elements: 

  1. The ability to strip citizenship without notice. While we understand that the government intends only to utilise this in emergency situations, this clause sets a dangerous precedent for human rights abuses. 
  2. The division of people seeking sanctuary into classes, based on their methods of arrival rather than their need for protection.  Again, this fails to appreciate the inaccessibility of ‘safe’ and ‘legal’ routes, and punishes people for seeking safety, rather than granting them refuge when they need it most. The amendments proposed by the Lords – which we will go on to outline – address some of the most severe issues with this clause. 
  3. The introduction of offshore processing is not only inhumane, but costly. We have seen, in the Australian enactment of this policy, that this facilitates extreme human rights abuses. 

 

I’m writing to ask you to vote against the government (or abstain) and to speak out strongly in support two vital changes to the bill:

  1. Peers voted for a second time for revised Amendment 6 to permit the differentiation of refugees on condition the rights and entitlements of all refugees entering the UK are untouched. This ensures 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 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 sole 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 in our briefing here. Peers insisting that the Commons look again closely at what is being proposed shows the bill is in urgent need of reform and represents an opportunity to build a compassionate, effective and fair system.

That’s as important as ever, while the measures to support Ukrainian refugees are welcome, we are increasingly concerned about barriers to accessing support and the level of support available to Ukrainians once here in the UK. At the same time, Syrian refugees are still in need of safety, thousands of Afghan refugees remain trapped in temporary hotels to say nothing about the need for protection of people fleeing persecution and violence from other regions.

Underpinning the decisions from 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, without providing urgently needed new, safe routes for refugees to get to the UK on the other. While our two priorities would help address these gaps, the Home Office is determined to press ahead with these measures unchanged. 

How can you support us? 

We are asking you to urgently consider several requests as our parliamentary representative. 

  • Would you reach out to the Home Secretary and Home Office Ministers to seek their views on the possibility of resolving Amendment 11 and what other assurances they could offer before the bill returns to the House of Commons on 20th April? Finding a solution here could greatly help smoothen the path for the House of Lords to accept the bill.
  • Would you speak and vote in support Amendment 6 and 11 when the bill is debated in the Commons and be willing to draw on our briefing in your speech?
  • Would you let us know your own views on the bill and the issues we raise above – and reflect our deep concerns about the bill by speaking out locally, in Parliament, within your party and on social media? 

Many thanks for your time in considering our concerns. 

We look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely,

[Your name, and group you are representing if relevant]

Template Letter for MPs who have opposed the Nationality and Borders Bill

[Name of MP]
House of Commons
London
SW1A 0AA

[Your address and contact details. Your MP needs to know that you live in their constituency]

[Date]

Dear [name of MP],

Re: Resolving Lords’ amendments 6 and 11 to the Nationality and Borders Bill 

We would like to thank you for your continued opposition to the inhumane Nationality and Borders Bill and for your support of those seeking sanctuary. We are writing to ask you to remain staunchly opposed to the cruelest elements of the bill as it returns to the House Of Commons on 20 April. On Monday, 4 April, the House of Lords insisted on key reforms that were previously rejected by MPs, are looked at again.

Frustration with the government’s approach on the bill was summed up by conservative peer, Lord Cormack who criticised the way in which the House of Commons “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.

We oppose this bill wholeheartedly, and take particular issue with the following elements: 

  1. The ability to strip citizenship without notice. While we understand that the government intends only to utilise this in emergency situations, this clause sets a dangerous precedent for human rights abuses. 
  2. The division of people seeking sanctuary into classes, based on their methods of arrival rather than their need for protection.  Again, this fails to appreciate the inaccessibility of ‘safe’ and ‘legal’ routes, and punishes people for seeking safety, rather than granting them refuge when they need it most. The amendments proposed by the Lords – which we will go on to outline – address some of the most severe issues with this clause. 
  3. The introduction of offshore processing is not only inhumane, but costly. We have seen, in the Australian enactment of this policy, that this facilitates extreme human rights abuses. 

 

I’m writing to ask you to vote against the government (or abstain) and to speak out strongly in support two vital changes to the bill:

  1. Peers voted for a second time for revised Amendment 6 to permit the differentiation of refugees on condition the rights and entitlements of all refugees entering the UK are untouched. This ensures 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 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 sole 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 in our briefing here. Peers insisting that the Commons look again closely at what is being proposed shows the bill is in urgent need of reform and represents an opportunity to build a compassionate, effective and fair system.

That’s as important as ever, while the measures to support Ukrainian refugees are welcome, we are increasingly concerned about barriers to accessing support and the level of support available to Ukrainians once here in the UK. At the same time, Syrian refugees are still in need of safety, thousands of Afghan refugees remain trapped in temporary hotels to say nothing about the need for protection of people fleeing persecution and violence from other regions.

Underpinning the decisions from 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, without providing urgently needed new, safe routes for refugees to get to the UK on the other. While our two priorities would help address these gaps, the Home Office is determined to press ahead with these measures unchanged. 

How can you support us? 

We are asking you to urgently consider several requests as our parliamentary representative. 

  • Would you reach out to the Home Secretary and Home Office Ministers to seek their views on the possibility of resolving Amendment 11 and what other assurances they could offer before the bill returns to the House of Commons on 20th April? Finding a solution here could greatly help smoothen the path for the House of Lords to accept the bill.
  • Would you speak and vote in support Amendment 6 and 11 when the bill is debated in the Commons and be willing to draw on our briefing in your speech?
  • Would you let us know your own views on the bill and the issues we raise above – and reflect our deep concerns about the bill by speaking out locally, in Parliament, within your party and on social media? 

Many thanks for your time in considering our concerns. 

We look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely,

[Your name, and group you are representing if relevant]

 

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