Sheffield councillors join hundreds of politicians rejecting ‘abhorrent’ immigration bill
The Illegal Migration Bill cleared its final stages in the House of Commons by 289 votes to 230.
The government made a series of concessions to different sections of the Tory party, in order to head off rebellions during the bill’s final stages in the Commons.
However, the bill is expected to run into opposition at its next stage in the House of Lords, where it could be heavily amended.
The bill, unveiled in March, is a key part of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s plan to “stop” small boats crossing the English Channel.
It will place a legal duty on the home secretary to detain and remove those arriving in the UK illegally, to Rwanda or another “safe” third country, taking legal precedence over someone’s right to claim asylum.
More than 240 councillors from 65 different authorities across the country signed an open letter against the plans and pledged to use council powers to ensure those seeking asylum were supported.
In a joint statement, the councillors said: “As a group of local councillors from across the UK – and from different political parties – we are appalled by this Government’s latest abhorrent plans for people seeking sanctuary in our communities.
“We will stand up for everyone in our communities, and fight for their right to housing that is safe and welcoming.
“The Home Office’s calculated strategy of division and disdain will not work – our communities, and their care for one another, are stronger than that. As local councillors, we pledge to work tirelessly for the good of all our communities, to ensure that all our residents can live safely and with dignity.”
They said the government was at loggerheads with several local authorities over asylum accommodation plans, and attempting to push through emergency legislation to allow it to shortcut council planning processes.