At the start of last week there were two days spent by our Parliament focused on the “Illegal Migration Bill” which will be discussed again after Easter so we have time to correspond to our MPs as all of the Sussex MPs did participate in it. During last week there were a significant number of amendments called “Clauses” which were promoted for the Bill. Some of them were voted and indeed there were also two Clauses that were discussed last week. These speaking sessions were sadly only contributed by two of our Sussex MPs. The MP for East Worthing and Shoreham, Tim Loughton took part in both of the discussions on the two days and he shared a massive number of 11 comments on Monday and 3 comments on Tuesday. The MP for Brighton Pavilion, Caroline Lucas contributed on Tuesday and while she only spoke once she did include the words “this, frankly, rotten and disgusting Bill” which clearly indicates her view. We can be very grateful for the involvement from Tim and Caroline in the debates but it was sad that none of our other MPs did not contribute. However thankfully all of the Sussex MPs did take part in some of the voting during these two days although Peter Kyle who is the Hove MP did not vote at all on the Monday sessions but he did on Tuesday and all of the other Sussex MPs participated in the voting on both days. It appears that there were 17 Clauses which were published for the Bill although there were two that are both called Clause 11 items which does seem very strange. One is described as the “New Clause 11 – Judges of First-tier Tribunal and Upper Tribunal” and the other is described as “Clause 11 – Powers of detention” So of these Clauses, two involved discussions and eight did not appear to require voting so presumably all of the MPs approved those items. However, it is interesting to observe the subject matter within the list of these Clauses.
On Monday there were several MPs who did not vote for all of the Clauses. There were 7 of them and 4 were voted. The first one was called “Clause 37 – Suspensive claims: interpretation” which began with an extensive contribution from Tim Loughton but then the Conservatives voted against that Clause as they did for most of the others. Apart from the DUP, every other MP group tried to approve it but sadly, they were not able to do so. Then there were 3 Clauses that did not get voted which were “Clause 45 – Suspensive claims: duty to remove; New Clause 11 – Judges of First-tier Tribunal and Upper Tribunal; New Clause 12 – Special Immigration Appeals Commission” The next vote was “New Clause 6 – Safe Passage Pilot Scheme” which was opposed by the Conservatives and all but one Labour MP did not support it apart from a Liverpool Labour MP who also voted against it but SNP and Liberal Democrat and Green MPs supported it. Then “New Clause 24 – Safe and legal routes: family reunion for children” was approved by Labour and all of the other groups and though it was rejected by the Conservatives, Tim Loughton did not vote against it! The final piece was “New Clause 25 – International co-operation” and it was approved by Labour, Liberal Democrat and DUPs and it was opposed by Conservatives and not voted by the SNP, Plaid Cymru and Green Party.
On Tuesday there were 10 Clauses of which 5 involved votes. The first was “Clause 2 – Duty to make arrangements for removal” which after the debate was opposed by the Conservatives and DUP but supported by all of the other groups. Then “Clause 7 – Further provisions about removal; Clause 8 – Removal of family members” both of which were not voted. Then “Clause 11 – Powers of detention” which was actually supported by the Conservatives and opposed by all of the other MPs apart from the DUP and tragically this was the only voted Clause that was approved. Then “Clause 13 – Powers to grant immigration bail” was not voted and next “Clause 22 – Provisions relating to support: England and Wales” which was approved by all groups apart from the Conservatives and so it was lost. Then “Clause 55 – Defined expressions; Clause 57 – Commencement” which did not get voted and finally “New Clause 21 – Organised immigration crime enforcement; New Clause 27 – Accommodation: Duty to Consult” Both of which were voted by all MP groups but they were both rejected by the Conservatives which was enough to close them down. Let us hope that during the Parliament break our MPs will explain their views of these Clauses in this significant Bill.