Aylesbury MP defends controversial Nationality and Borders Bill vote

An international aid organisation labelled the vote 'shameful'
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Aylesbury MP Rob Butler has defended his decision to vote through the most controversial aspects of the Nationality and Borders Bill.

International aid organisation Médecins Sans Frontières labelled the vote shameful and said it makes the UK one of the most anti-refugee countries in the world.

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Aylesbury MP Rob ButlerAylesbury MP Rob Butler
Aylesbury MP Rob Butler

The House of Lords had returned the bill with amendments to soften and remove some of the most controversial aspects of the bill.

Ultimately the government rejected these changes, the bill was voted through with just three Conservative MPs going against their party's wishes.

Critics believe the bill will make refugees fleeing war-torn countries such as Ukraine criminals, the law changes now mean these people could face four years in prison if they seek asylum with the wrong papers.

The bill will also see the government look to use an offshore processing system to assess people looking to live in the UK.

This concept has proved unsuccessful so far with nearby countries refusing to assist the UK by hosting a process centre.

The Aylesbury MP dismissed claims that passing through this bill flies in the face of public opinion, with so many UK residents desperate to assist the two million plus refugees who have fled Ukraine.

He said: "It is abundantly clear that there are schemes offering sanctuary for Ukrainian refugees in the UK and to suggest otherwise is inaccurate and scare-mongering.

"By Tuesday afternoon, 15,800 Ukraine Family Scheme visas had been granted.

"They are free, grant leave to remain for three years with the right to live, work & study in the UK & access public funds. In addition, the Homes for Ukraine scheme will allow individuals, charities, community groups and businesses in the UK to bring Ukrainians to safety – including those with no family ties to the UK.

"Many local people in Buckinghamshire have signed up to share their homes in this way.

“The Nationality and Borders Bill is about delivering a long-term solution to the long-term problems that have beset the asylum system over a period of decades.

"It is absolutely right for the UK Government to deliver on the priorities of the British people, to increase the fairness and efficacy of our system, to deter illegal entry and to make it easier to remove those with no right to be in the UK.

"It is essential that we break the business model of international criminal gangs who take advantage of vulnerable people risking their lives in the Channel to reach the UK.

"The goodwill of the British people relies on their trust that the system is not being abused by people with no right to be here.

"That is why it was vitally important to pass this landmark legislation urgently so we can fix the current broken system."

The government was criticised for the time it took to produce schemes helping Ukrainians in need of a safe space to live.

While its policies are seen as more restrictive than those offered by the EU where Ukrainian nationals are entitled to a three-year blanket stay in any of its member nations.

The UK scheme relies upon families sponsoring and offering accommodations to individuals before they can gain entry into the UK.