Illegal Migration Bill – 86% of Britons say its important that their MP votes to uphold the rule of law
Around nine in 10 Brits (86%) say that it is important to them that their local Member of Parliament (MP) votes to uphold the rule of law, according to new research by the Law Society of England and Wales*. This finding comes ahead of a detailed Parliamentary debate of the Illegal Migration Bill on 25 April 2023.
President of the Law Society of England and Wales Lubna Shuja said: “The rule of law and justice are at the heart of Britain’s identity and underpins our reputation in the international community.
“The Law Society believes the Illegal Migration Bill is likely to be incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights, the UN Refugee Convention** and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child***. If the UK were to refuse to comply with a European Court of Human Rights ruling**** as set out in an update to the Bill this would entail a clear and serious breach of international law.
“When voting on the Illegal Migration Bill, MPs should be aware that an overwhelming majority (86%) of people say it is important their local MP votes to uphold the rule of law.
“Simply put, the 'rule of law' is the idea that everyone has to obey the same domestic and international laws – including government – and independent courts are responsible for settling any disputes around these laws.
“If the UK were to violate international laws it would betray the 90% of people who said it is important other countries perceive Britain as a country that upholds the rule of law.”
Lubna Shuja added: “The Law Society is concerned this bill may diminish access to justice for everyone caught by its provisions, and ultimately will be unworkable.
“One of the criteria for the rule of law is that all laws must be enforceable. This bill is reliant on factors which cannot be controlled by legislation, such as agreements with safe countries for removal, adequate detention or accommodation facilities, access to legal advice and the existence of safe and legal routes.
Notes to editors
* All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2,086 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 4th - 5th April 2023. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).
** The near-total ban on asylum this bill proposes would mean most refugees seeking asylum in the UK in future would be refused the protection they have as a right under the UN Refugee Convention. The Home Office accepts that more than three in four people who claimed asylum here in 2022 are refugees.
***The Home Secretary would have the power to deport unaccompanied children under the Illegal Migration Bill, potentially exposing them to human trafficking and other risks, with no clarity on how this power could be used. This may breach the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
**** Interim measures, see Government amendment NC26: illegal_migration_rep_rm_0424.pdf (parliament.uk)
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