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MPs attack Nationality and Borders Bill in Parliament

MPs attacked the Nationality and Borders Bill in Parliament today, seeking to push amendments that would remove some of the most dangerous clauses.

Parliamentarians are seeking to remove some of the most damaging elements of the Bill, including plans to strip people of their citizenship without warning. 

Introducing an amendment to remove the clause, former Tory cabinet minister David Davis told the MPs that the plans were “uncivilised” and “entirely inappropriate.” 

“If you don’t know you’ve had your citizenship withdrawn then you are unable to appeal the matter for as long as you don’t know about it — and that might be a long time,” he said during the debate on the Bill’s third reading. 

Shadow immigration minister Bambos Charalambous said Labour “wholeheartedly opposes” the plans, labelling the powers “shameful and Orwellian.”

“Not only do the provisions in this clause represent a total disregard for justice and the rule of law, but also for certain British citizens — despite being born and raised in the UK — their rights would always be precarious and subject to change because in the words of the Home Office: ‘British citizenship is a privilege, not a right’.”

An amendment from Labour MP Bell Ribeiro-Addy seeking to lower a £1,012 fee for children to register their right to British citizenship — a figure 10 times higher than several European countries – was defeated.

Ms Ribeiro-Addy said the fee had doubled in the past decade to well above administration costs, leaving many families unable to afford it. 

And the Tories also saw off an amendment that would have granted an easier path to citizenship for all descendants of Chagos islanders, who were expelled from their homes by the British government in the 1970s to make way for a US military base.

MPs are also hoping to remove a provision that would open the door to offshoring asylum-seekers while introducing another to create a humanitarian visa system. 

Scottish National Party home affairs spokesperson Stuart McDonald MP called for the entire Bill to be scrapped. “This really is one of the cruellest policies I’ve seen come out of the Home Office,” he said. 

“By sticking by this Bill, they are defending criminalising torture victims, victims of war crimes, persecuted Christian converts and other refugees for seeking our protection. 

“Let me be clear — none of this is happening in Scotland’s name.”

Today anti-racist campaigners said the Bill was “tantamount to state murder,” citing measures that would make it more difficult for refugees to arrive in Britain. 

MPs are expected to vote on the second day of the debate tomorrow. 


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