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Horsham Liberal Democrats

"Where are the British values that we cherish and highlight?" Lib Dems stand up for the vulnerable in the Immigration Bill

March 29, 2016 9:51 AM
By Derek Deedman in House of Lords newsletter

On Monday the Immigration Bill faced its third day in Report. The Government was defeated over the issue of taking in 3,000 unaccompanied refugee children. Liberal Democrats pushed votes on a number of other issues including; protecting Afghan and Iraqi interpreters who risked their lives to help UK soldiers, protecting the victims of genocide, and loosening regulations to make it easier for children to be reunited with their parents. With Labour sitting on their hands, these votes were lost.

Speaking ahead of the vote on Afghan and Iraqi interpreters Paddy Ashdown referred to the current policy as "a shameful policy, the price of which will be paid in the standing not only of our nation but of our own troops, when they seek to draw in the services of interpreters in the future. If we vote for the amendment we can at least make amends in this Bill for three or four years of complete failure to live up to the role that these men have played on behalf of Her Majesty and of our nation in a conflict of our choosing, and who have placed their lives at risk in doing so."

Speaking in the debate on genocide, Emma Nicholson referred to her extensive experience in the Middle East and called on the Government to take action:

"I am deeply concerned as to where the British values are that we cherish and highlight. Where is the British action? Do we need to turn again to our US allies and friends, since we have failed so vastly? We have kept [Yazidi] youngsters waiting."

William Wallace also argued for amendments to the Bill which will exempt the NHS and educational institutions from the proposed skills charge which William warned was a 'tax on talent.' Following the debate he said:

"The Government's plan to tax talent via the introduction of an immigration skills charge would hit our beloved institutions and the drivers of our economy - from the NHS and universities to local business, hardest."