Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Who were the 18 MPs who bravely voted against Theresa May's anti-immigrant lunacy in 2014?


Back in 2014 the then Home Secretary Theresa May introduced new immigration rules designed to create a 'hostile environment' for immigrants. The introduction of these harsh new immigration rules was clearly a ploy to appeal to the extreme-right ultranationalist demographic, and it coincided with a significant upsurge in anti-immigrant rhetoric from the Tories, and especially from Theresa May.

In light of the Windrush scandal the Tories simply cannot pretend that they were not warned about the serious consequences of this piece of legislation. They were warned, and these warnings are recorded on the Hansard parliamentary record.

During the debate Diane Abbot raised concerns that these harsh new powers could have negative impacts on could have on "people who are British nationals, but appear as if they might be immigrants" (people like the Windrush generation and other perfectly legal migrants from the Commonwealth).

Theresa May completely dodged this question with the kind of evasive waffle we've all become so familiar with since she became Prime Minister.

The Lib-Dem MP Sarah Teather (who went on to quit parliament in disgust at the grotesque Lib-Dem colusion with the Tories between 2010 and 2015) raised concerns about people being denied health care.

These concerns have been totally vindicated as it's turned out that Windrush immigrants who have lived in the UK since childhood and paid tax their entire working lives have been denied healthcare, including life-or-death cancer treatments.


Others to speak out were the The Green MP Caroline Lucas who raised concerns about the shocking 32% error rate in Home Office deportation decisions, John McDonnell who spoke about the appalling conditions in immigration prisons, and Pete Wishart of the SNP who called it a "dreadful" and "terrible" piece of legislation and concluded that the Tories might as well have had Nigel Farage at the dispatch box rather than Theresa May because "this is nothing other than a UKIP bill".

Jeremy Corbyn was the last of the MPs who bravely stood up in opposition to the vile Blue-kip anti-immigrant Juggernaut, here's what he said:
"I will vote against the Bill on Third Reading for a large number of reasons. We have ordained that the Home Secretary will have executive power to take away citizenship in the future and to create a generation of stateless people. The handing over of that power is, I think, a very dangerous thing for any Parliament to do.  
 We have a number of other serious concerns about the Bill, such as those covered in the points raised by my hon. Friend the Member for Hayes and Harlington (John McDonnell) about the forced removal of people; the death of Jimmy Mubenga, which was mentioned by the hon. Member for Brent Central (Sarah Teather); the use of the detention system; the denial of health care access; the problems of forcing landlords to become agents of the Home Office; and the reality of life for those people who have legitimately sought asylum in Britain and are starving on the streets of our cities because we do not have a system in place to give them proper support.  
The Bill does not answer any of those problems. It is based on prejudice and headline chasing and has nothing to do with the real needs of people who are desperately seeking support, help and assistance rather than the cold behaviour shown by the Government today."
The bill was voted on immediately after Corbyn's passionate appeal for sanity in the face of headline chasing, UKIP-appealing, extreme-right, anti-immigrant lunacy from the government. Only 18 MPs (including the two tellers) voted against the bill.

Now that the disgusting consequences of this grotesque legislation are becoming more clear (especially in relation to the Windrush generation who have been imprisoned, made homeless, denied work, denied health care, and even deported as a consequence) it's very important to pay tribute to the 18 brave MPs who stood up and voted against this travesty of a bill, while the rest of the House of Commons blithely went along with this overt display of blue-kip extremism by Theresa May.

Diane Abbott (Labour)
Jeremy Corbyn (Labour)
Jonathan Edwards (Plaid Cymru)
Mark Lazarowicz (Labour)
John Leech (Liberal Democrat)
Elfyn Llwyd (Plaid Cymru)
Caroline Lucas (Green)
Angus MacNeil (SNP)
Fiona Mactaggart (Labour)
John McDonnell (Labour)
Angus Robertson (SNP)
Dennis Skinner (Labour)
Sarah Teather (Liberal Democrat)
David Ward (Liberal Democrat)
Mike Weir (SNP)
Eilidh Whiteford (SNP)
Hywel Williams (Plaid Cymru)
Pete Wishart (SNP)
Note that all three Plaid Cymru, and the one Green MP all voted against the bill. Five of the six SNP representatives voted against it. Just six MPs from the Labour left voted against it (three of whom are now the leader, shadow Home Secretary, and Shadow Chancellor), and just three of the 57 Lib-Dems voted against it (one who resigned in disgust in 2015 and two who lost their seats in the furious public backlash against their party's collusion with the Tories at the 2015 General Election). Not a single Tory MP voted against it.
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