North East Derbyshire MP welcomes overhaul to asylum seeker rules arguing system needs 'fundamental change'

The MP for North East Derbyshire Lee Rowley has supported the Home Secretary’s pledge to overhaul current asylum seeker rules – to clamp down on illegal travel methods into the UK.

Thursday, 25th March 2021, 2:45 pm
Updated Thursday, 25th March 2021, 2:53 pm

It comes after Priti Patel announced that she will make allegedly “fair but firm” changes to the way people arriving in the UK to seek asylum are treated.

The home secretary said those seeking protection as refugees would have their claim assessed based on the way they arrived here – and those who use what the Government refers to as ‘illegal means’ will no longer have the same entitlements as people who arrive through proper channels.

She defended the move as part of her plan to crack down on people smugglers – who transport groups illegally across international borders to enter different countries.

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Lee Rowley MP for North East Derbyshire. Picture: Steve Ellis.
Lee Rowley MP for North East Derbyshire. Picture: Steve Ellis.

However Labour have criticised the proposals which they say lack compassion and competence and will make it harder for refugees to access asylum.

The Conservative MP for North East Derbyshire applauded the idea, arguing constituents are ‘concerned’ about how effective the current immigration system is.

"Ever since I became an MP, North East Derbyshire residents have been very clear about their concerns on immigration policy and their view that the whole system needs fundamental change”, Lee Rowley said.

"With Brexit, and the new points based immigration system, we have been able to take the first steps in taking back control over our borders but lots of people, rightly, remain concerned about how fair and effective the new system is.”

In response to the proposed changes, Labour MP Zarah Sultana said in a public twitter post that the plans will inflict ‘cruelty’ on those seeking refuge if they are approved.

She wrote: “Priti Patel's immigration plans scapegoat and target asylum seekers.

“They abandon the Refugee Convention – that the UK signed in 1951 – and mark a new low in callousness from the Conservatives.

“Asylum seekers are owed compassion and dignity, not this unrelenting cruelty.”

While, the North East Derbyshire representative said that allowing people to enter the UK illegally ‘ultimately helps no-one’.

He continued: “The United Kingdom has a proud history of welcoming asylum seekers, refugees and immigrants and, at the same time, the British people also want an immigration system which is fair, robust and quick.

"Trying to come into the country illegally, not seeking asylum in the first safe country that migrants reach, and appeals being strung out for years ultimately helps no-one.

"The British people have a right to have confidence in a fair immigration system.

"Equally, we have a moral duty to refugees and migrants not to inadvertently encourage people to put their lives in the hands of criminal gangs and people traffickers and undertake incredibly dangers journeys to try to get into the country illegally.

"We need an approach that is firm, fair and robust and I welcome the Government’s announcement that it intends to change the current systems.

"There’s a lot of discussions to be had about the specifics but we promised to take back control of our borders and I will support every effort to do that."

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