Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson, Alistair Carmichael MP, has condemned the Government’s plans for a new system for immigration and asylum as inhumane and regressive. Mr Carmichael voiced concern after the Home Secretary refused in Parliament to give any detail on the numbers of refugees who would be supported under any new system, while the new command paper includes suggestions that asylum seekers could be processed offshore or in third countries.
Speaking in the House Mr Carmichael asked:
“Can the Home Secretary tell us when the first refugees will be allowed to enter the UK under her new scheme and how many will be settled each year?”
Responding, the Home Secretary, Priti Patel MP said:
“This paper today, the new immigration plan, is a consultation document, it’s a command paper. So, we are consulting, and we will work with everybody that wants to work with us constructively on this. This will be subject to new legislation and he will know the processes. But we as a government are absolutely committed, we are already in discussion right now with partner organisations that we can work with on safe and legal routes and this is essential because when we look at the fact that there are 80 million people that are displaced in the world, seeking refuge, we have a moral responsibility and an obligation to do the right thing and stand by those that are fleeing persecution while at the same time not only working with other partners, but other countries as well to make sure that they raise the bar too.”
Reacting after the exchange Mr Carmichael said:
“The Home Secretary’s ability to deliver a lengthy word jumble without getting close to an actual answer would almost be impressive if people’s futures were not at stake. She uses warm words to disguise a cruel and regressive plan.
“Based on recent form the Home Secretary appears to believe that we need more protections for public sculptures and fewer protections for the most vulnerable people in society. That goes against our country’s values and it goes against basic human decency.
“No humane government would propose shipping off refugees to third countries or creating Orwellian offshore processing facilities. The Home Office can’t even be trusted to treat people within our borders with dignity – Lord knows what they would get up to if these plans went ahead.”