Gavin Newlands, MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, attended the Immigration Bill debate on Monday evening, aiming to secure amendments to the Immigration Bill that would have required the UK government to accept at least 3000 of the unaccompanied child refugees in Europe and stop the detention of pregnant migrant women.
The UK Government has so far failed to make any clear or firm commitment to resettle its fair share of these vulnerable children. On Monday, the Government voted down the amendment that would have compelled them to offer sanctuary to 3,000 unaccompanied child refugees.
The Government also voted down the amendment that would have stopped the detention on pregnant women. Instead, the Government has introduced a 72-hour limit on the detention of pregnant women held at immigration centres.
The SNP has called for greater resettlement since the start of crisis and the SNP Scottish Government has led the way in the UK on practical support for refugees – launching Scotland’s refugee taskforce with £1million of funding, providing £375,000 in aid to support humanitarian activity in southern Europe, and ensuring Scotland has taken in more than 400 of the 1,300 refugees given a safe haven in the UK under the Syrian Resettlement Programme.
Commenting, Gavin Newlands MP, said:
“We had an opportunity to force the UK government to show the leadership that has been lacking by accepting our fair share of the thousands of unaccompanied child refugees that are already in Europe.
“The UK government has so far failed to provide a fair share of these vulnerable children with the protection and sanctuary they need and deserve. As a result thousands of child refugees continue to struggle alone and at risk of trafficking, sexual exploitation and abuse – with an estimated 10,000 children disappearing in Europe in 2015 alone, including those who have died trying to get to the UK.
“We would never allow this to happen to own our children, and we cannot now turn our backs on our moral and legal obligations to refugee children either.
“The Government also turned down the opportunity to stop the heinous practice of detention of pregnant women.
“The Government claims to be aware that the practice of locking up innocent pregnant women is inhumane but it isn’t willing to admit fault and accept the case for an absolute ban.
“The Immigration Bill is flawed, divisive, and ultimately bad for Scotland, as well as the rest of the UK. In a rushed and ham-fisted drive to reduce immigration – at any cost – the Tory government is pushing through unhelpful targets and disproportionate measures without consideration for the damage they that will do to the economy and society.