'Absolute Horror': Former Tory Immigration Minister Condemns Rishi Sunak's Asylum Crackdown
Caroline Nokes is the first Tory MP to speak out against the Illegal Migration Bill.
A former Tory immigration minister has condemned Rishi Sunak’s asylum crackdown.
Caroline Nokes became the first Conservative MP to say they will not vote for the Illegal Migration Bill, which she said gives her “absolute horror”.
Nokes said the legislation - which aims to deport anyone entering the UK illegally and banning them from ever returning - would potentially criminalise pregnant women, children and families seeking refuge.
She also said it would fail to achieve its aim of stopping small boats carrying asylum seekers from crossing the Channel from France.
Speaking to Times Radio, the Romsey and Southampton North MP said: “I’ve made that clear to my whip, I can’t vote for this.
“I didn’t vote for the last [immigration bill], I won’t be voting for this one. I might be an outlier in my party, but I think we have an absolute duty to treat people humanely to keep people safe. I have absolute horror at the prospect.”
Nokes, who is chair of the Commons women and equalities committee, said the bill was “removing protections for pregnant women, removing protections for families”.
“I am deeply troubled at the prospect of a policy which seeks to criminalise children, pregnant women, families and remove them to Rwanda,” she said.
“I didn’t vote for the last nationality and borders bill, that hasn’t achieved its aim in reducing crossings. In fact, we’ve seen them increase, and I fail to see what this legislation is going to do to act as a deterrent.”
"I fail to see what this legislation is going to do to act as a deterrent."
Conservative MP Caroline Nokes says she won't vote for Rishi Sunak's migration bill.@AyeshaHazarika | @carolinenokespic.twitter.com/cXZLHvKzTX
— Times Radio (@TimesRadio) March 12, 2023
Home secretary Suella Braverman has already admitted that the bill could break international law.
The UN Refugee Agency has also said it is “very concerned” by the draft legislation.