Child refugees are some of the most vulnerable people in the world and it is only right that we provide support and safe routes for child refugees with family in the UK.
I do not believe that this issue is, or should ever be, a tool for negotiations with the European Union over a future trading arrangement. However, this speculation has arisen partly as the result of the Dub’s Amendment having been moved during debate on the EU (Withdrawal Agreement) 2019-2020 Bill.
During the debate in the House of Commons the Minister reiterated the Government’s commitment both to the principle of family reunion and to supporting the most vulnerable children. Our policy has not changed, however, the laws to enshrine this in law should be debated and agreed as part of an immigration Bill and once our future agreements with the European Union are clearer.
The EU (Withdrawal Agreement) 2019-2020 Bill is required to ratify the Withdrawal Agreement, as agreed between the United Kingdom and the European Union, and to implement the agreements in domestic law. There are many areas of law following the passage of this Bill which must also be addressed through legislation. These include workers’ rights, environmental protections, and taxation, as well as our role in supporting child refugees. The correct way to do this is to ensure these matters are addressed through directly relevant legislation.
For this reason, I did not vote in support of the Lords amendment on child refugees, however I wish to assure you that this issue will have my support when it is introduced as part of our Immigration Bill.