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by Louise Wilson
08 March 2023
Stephen Flynn: New immigration plans ‘complete and utter disgrace’

Stephen Flynn: New immigration plans ‘complete and utter disgrace’

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has defended his Illegal Immigration Bill, insisting it is necessary to stop the system being “overwhelmed”.

The SNP’s Stephen Flynn labelled the plans, unveiled yesterday, a “complete and utter disgrace”.

During PMQs, he queried whether women who had been the victim of sex trafficking would be prevented from seeking asylum under the new laws.

The PM said it was important to “get a grip of this system” in order to “target” resources to those most in need.

The proposed legislation is the UK Government’s attempt to crack down on so-called small boat crossings across the Channel.

It will curtail the rights of asylum seekers if they did not arrive in the UK via a safe or legal route, banning them from returning to the UK or claiming citizenship.

The bill will also enable the detention of illegal migrants without bail or judicial review within the first 28 days of detention until they can be removed, and sets out a duty on the home secretary to remove illegal entrants.

Criticising the language being used by government ministers around immigration, Flynn asked: “From whom are his government taking inspiration: Nigel Farage or Enoch Powell?”

Sunak dismissed the point as “nonsense” and highlighted the scale of the migration crisis around the world.

“Our system will continue to be overwhelmed and if that happens, we will not be able to help the people who are most in need of our support, our generosity and our compassion,” he added.

The legislation has been met with criticism from human rights groups and lawyers, who warn it violates the UK’s human rights obligations.

Home Secretary Suella Braverman yesterday admitted it would “push the boundaries of international law”.

Meanwhile, SNP leadership contender Humza Yousaf has defended Gary Lineker after the latter said the language being used by the UK government was “not dissimilar to that used by Germany in the 30s”.

Lineker later tweeted: “Great to see the freedom of speech champions out in force this morning demanding silence from those with whom they disagree.”

Yousaf said this was “spot on”, adding: “We all have a moral duty to speak out about inhumanity of a [government] that turns away men, women and children in their greatest hour of need. Thoroughly depressing debate between Tories & Labour at PMQs, and they wonder why we want our independence?”

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