Plaid Cymru bid to force Westminster to bring anti-refugee Bill in line with Welsh Nation of Sanctuary plan

Plaid Cymru’s Westminster leader and Home Affairs spokesperson, Liz Saville Roberts MP, will today (Tuesday 7 December) urge the UK Government to support her amendment that would bring the Nationality and Borders Bill in line with Wales’ Nation of Sanctuary Plan.

Ahead of a debate in the House of Commons on the Bill, the Dwyfor Meirionnydd MP called for an asylum system “based on humanity – not hostility”.

The Nationality and Borders Bill, which returns to Parliament for debate today, will turn the UK into one of the most anti-refugee countries in the world. It will do this by:

  • Discriminating against refugees based on how they arrived in the UK, stripping many refugees of rights such as family reunion, support and long-term settlement. This is in contravention of the 1951 Refugee Convention.
  • Introducing extreme punishments for people seeking asylum and people who help them to safety.
  • Creating Guantanamo Bay-style detention centres for asylum seekers, instead of within communities, including the possibility of using overseas facilities.

The Plaid Cymru MP said that the “draconian Bill makes a mockery of our aspiration in Wales to become a Nation of Sanctuary”, and seeks to make asylum seekers’ lives “as harrowing as possible”.

Ms Saville Roberts’ amendment would require the UK and Welsh Governments to jointly produce guidance setting out how measures under the Borders Bill would be exercised in a way that is consistent with the Nation of Sanctuary Plan. The Plan was published by the Welsh Government in 2019, and endorsed by the United Nations’ High Commissioner for Refugees.

Immigration is the responsibility of the UK Government but asylum seekers and refugees in Wales receive public services and support provided by the Welsh Government and local authorities.

Liz Saville Roberts MP said:

“This draconian Bill makes a mockery of our aspiration in Wales to become a Nation of Sanctuary. Despite evidence that the overwhelming majority of people crossing the Channel are genuine asylum seekers, Priti Patel is on a war path to make these people’s lives as harrowing as possible.

“After the horrific deaths in the Channel two weeks ago, it is reprehensible that this Tory Government are continuing their attacks on vulnerable refugees and asylum seekers. Now more than ever, we need an asylum system based on humanity – not hostility.

“Whilst key powers over immigration and asylum policy are still reserved to Westminster, my amendment would ensure that our aspiration to become a welcoming nation is respected. It would ensure that no Westminster government would be allowed to undermine our efforts to help refugees and asylum seekers to fully integrate into Welsh society.

“I today urge all Welsh MPs to support my amendment.”