I was privileged to represent Lewisham Deptford at Labour’s London Regional Conference where I moved our motion on Refugees and Asylum although it covers other issues of immigration. Below/overleaf are the words of the motion and the notes I used to speak.

Refugees and asylum (Composited motion)

London labour reaffirms the policies to defend free movement and migrants rights passed by labour conferences. Conference notes and confirms labour conference composites 20 /2019 and composite 14/2021 on immigration, asylum seekers and refugees and will campaign for them in our communities.

Conference notes the appointment of Rishi Sunak as Prime Minister and the reappointment of Suella Braverman as Home Secretary with responsibility for immigration and Border Force.

Conference believes the Tory immigration policy is cruel and illegal, that labour will stand for legal routes to enter and stay in the country, that recognises the right to work, a right of family reunification and uncompromising support for the rights of asylum seekers and refugees.

Conference congratulates the anti-raid network and its successful actions in Camberwell and Peckham.

Conference notes there is an immigration detention centre in Harmondsworth and that there are three airports in the Greater London area. We reject any future construction of immigration detention centres and removal centres in London. Conference resolves to express our complete opposition to the Rwanda scheme and opposition to the hostile environment and applaud the national Labour Party’s determination to reverse it once elected.

We celebrate our city’s diversity and commit to defending our communities from the government’s anti-migrant policies. Conference calls on the Mayor of London to declare London to be a city of sanctuary. https://cityofsanctuary.org

Conference resolves that London Labour will support those workers and unions taking industrial action to disrupt Rwanda deportations and the hostile environment.

Submitted by Lewisham Deptford & Kingston and Surbiton

This was reconstructed from the .pdf implemented as a list of images.

I said something like this,

We note the progressive policies on immigration adopted by successive Labour Conferences. 

And contrast them with cruel and racist policies pursued by this government.

Thus motion calls for legal routes to be made available for people to come here to work, to live with their families and to seek safety from death injury and war.

For workers, the Tories have replaced the skills requirement with an earnings limit. A gambit informed by the motto, ignorantly knowing the cost of everything and the value of nothing.

The dirty secret on migrant workers, is that it is demand led. i.e. if they don’t come, then work does not get done and this ignores the fact that we need unskilled workers too, and we must recognise that encumbered work visas inhibit standing up for worker rights, moving jobs and inhibits union membership, itself the best defence against low wages and a bullying management.

There are poor rights on bringing family members to the UK. The obsessive desire to identify ‘bogus marriages’ a concept introduced by a Labour Government; makes it difficult and I have at least one friend almost denied a marriage at the registry office after they had turned up.

And for refugees we have the disgrace of the detention centres and of the Calais camps and topping it off with the morally reprehensible and likely illegal Rwanda scheme The conditions in these systems are inhumane and dangerous. And once someone’s here, we have the hostile environment, making it hard to live in the UK, impacting adults and children alike.

We need to oppose both the Rwanda scheme and the hostile environment.

This conference supported councils in a campaign against NRPF and rejecting Home Office supervision and help. As a result and consequence of that campaign a number of councils have become Cities of Sanctuary, our great and diverse  city should join them.

We must campaign in our homes,  streets and work places, supporting campaigns that protect migrants and workers that refuse to push back the boats and work on deportation flights.

We need to build “An immigration system based on compassion and dignity. “

And differentiate ourselves from the Tories on compassion, possibly self interested compassion, but  not competence.

Dave Levy

The underlining/italics I did not say, and was added as I made this blog, I wish I had. The quote in the penultimate paragraph is from Starmer’s 10 pledges. I also wish I had worked in the Empire Windrush scandal as this is a result of an ill thought out immigration policy and attempts to show a massively inappropriate toughness, together with deliberately poor record keeping, a consequence of later immigration acts and the hostile environment. The featured image is from #lab22 as I don’t like the pictures, taken by others at the conference.

Refugees and Asylum at London Labour
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