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HomeSecurityArchbishop reacts to Illegal Migration Bill as “morally unacceptable”

Archbishop reacts to Illegal Migration Bill as “morally unacceptable”

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby is set to lead the criticism of the Illegal Migration Bill when it was debated for the first time in the House of Lords on Wednesday, May 10th.

Speaking in the House of Lords, Justin Welby argued against the flagship legislation aimed at ensuring people who arrive in the UK in small boats would be detained and promptly removed, either to their home country or a third country such as Rwanda.

He said: “[The bill] is isolationist, it is morally unacceptable and politically impractical.”

Last year he described the policy to send migrants to Rwanda as “ungodly” in a speech to the Lords, warning against “harmful rhetoric” that treats those arriving in the UK as “invaders”.

He has previously called for a better system based on “compassion, justice and co-operation across frontiers” and he questioned the bill’s morality again yesterday.

“We need a Bill to stop the boats”

“This bill has no sense at all of the long term and the global nature of the challenge that the world faces,” he said yesterday.

“It ignores the reality that global migration must be engaged with at source as well as in the Channel as if we as a country were unrelated to the rest of the world.”

The archbishop added that the bill does not make any effort to tackle issues that are causing mass migration, including wars and climate change.

Mr Welby said the Bill “risks great damage to the UK’s interests and reputation at home and abroad, let alone the interests of those in need of protection or the nations who together face this challenge.”

He added: “Our interests as a nation are closely linked to our reputation for justice and the rule of law, and to our measured language, calm decision, and careful legislation. None of those are seen here.”

He continued: “We need a Bill to reform migration. We need a Bill to stop the boats. We need a Bill to destroy the evil tribe of traffickers. The tragedy is that without much change this is not that Bill.

“This Bill fails to take a long term and strategic view of the challenges of migration and undermines international co-operation rather than taking an opportunity for the UK to show leadership.”

Over 6,000 migrants crossed the English Channel in 2023

The proposed Bill has been prompted by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s pledge to “stop the boats” bringing migrants across the English Channel.

More than 6,000 migrants have crossed the channel so far in 2023.

To cope with the numbers, the Government plans to use disused military camps and a barge as accommodation centres.

But critics argue the flagship immigration reforms break international law and threaten modern slavery protections.

Bob Neill, who also chairs the Justice Select Committee, said he is “not convinced” that the Bill will stop the flurry of boats making the perilous journey across the Channel.

Meanwhile, Suella Braverman, the Home Secretary, and Alex Chalk, the Justice Secretary, have told the House of Lords not to defy the “will of the British people” by blocking the government’s plans on immigration.

(Source: LBC)

(Image: DAVOS/SWITZERLAND, 22JAN16 – Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, United Kingdom, WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM/Benedikt von Loebell, via Flickr)


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