On Tuesday, the Government presented a new bill called the Illegal Migration Bill. It’s centre piece is that any asylum seekers who enter the country illegally will have their claims denied and be ‘removed’ from the UK. Rishi Sunak proudly proclaimed the goals of the legislation in a tweet, with a big picture of the word denied.

The Bill, unusually, does not come with a certificate that the law complies with the European Convention on Human Rights. A number of organisations, including the United Nations have stated that they consider the Bill to be in breach of international law and the UK’s duties under these laws and treaties to treat asylum seekers fairly and with dignity. We must remember that these people are fleeing threats of death or war. Alasdair McKenzie writes a more detailed review of the Bill as it stands. He says, “It’s extraordinarily authoritarian.” Also, this article at Euractiv also describes the law’s effects including the argument that one had been brought to the UK as slaves.

The Bill has passed its first reading, on which it seems there is no vote [hansard | parliament live ], the BBC report it, saying ‘The United Nations refugee agency has described the moves as “very concerning” and would block even those people with a compelling claim to asylum.’ They also quote Sunak, Braverman and Cooper. This concern, of abrogating the UK’s legal commitments is echoed in the Guardian.

Zoe Gardner highlights the difficulties that such brutal and scofflaw behaviour will have on the EU and the French. Of course, the UK needs the latter’s help to genuinely close down the Calais camps, but leaving the ECHR is not the way to do it and of course the US will be watching closely as to how the UK Government treats the ECHR.

Not only is the law morally reprehensible, the language used to promote it is equally repugnant and has led commentators such as Gary Linekar and Tanya Bueletmann to compare it to the racism and tactics of the German Nazis which will only encourage the far right to continue their attacks on immigration camps and hotels. This, has also, allowed the Tories to change the topic from their nasty racism to the neutrality of the BBC. Care4Clais & the FBU have organised a statement of solidarity with refugees signed by many of the UK’s leading trade union officials.

On the issue of totalitarianism, there’s also this, an infographic comparing the Tories’ legislative programme with that of the Nazis, detailing their common approaches on protestors, the victimisation of gypsies and Roma, the dilution of fair elections, permitting the stripping of citizenship, the restriction of judicial review, the excising of human rights law from the UK, and the blaming of immigrants & minorities.

Some of Labour’s spokespersons, including their shadow home affairs spokesperson, Yvette Cooper,  are treading a fine line, criticising the government on competence rather than on values, a reminder that people that sit on fences get splinters up their arse.

Refugees have the right under international law to apply for asylum here. The Tories for performative reasons want to make it harder and to remove those who enter the country without permission which is pretty much impossible to get.

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