Today in the House of Commons I spoke and voted in favour of the Nationality and Borders Bill which will introduce strong but fair border controls.
I'm pleased to see this desperately needed Bill in the House of Commons after I called for a new law to tackle illegal immigration in September 2020.
Our asylum system is broken. It isn't fair on genuine refugees who enter our country legally or the British public, nor is the law tough enough to tackle illegal immigration.
In 2019, the number of asylum applications increased by 21 per cent to almost 36,000 - the highest since the migration crisis. The current appeals system is too slow to cope, with a third of appeals from 2019 still unresolved, leaving genuine refugees in limbo and delaying the removal of those with no right to be here.
More than 16,000 people travelled to the UK illegally in 2020, and the removal of people with no right to be here has drastically slowed due to legal challenges. All this means that the cost of our asylum system now costs over £1 billion a year to run.
That's why this Bill is necessary. It will:
Make our asylum system fairer by continuing to resettle genuine refugees fleeing from conflict and instability and enhance their protections.
Deter illegal entry into the UK by introducing life sentences for people smugglers and empowering Border Force to stop, divert and return migrant vessels to where they originated.
Remove those with no right to be here by introducing expedited process to allow for rapid removal. It will also allow for visa penalties to be introduced on countries that do not cooperate on the removal of its nationals.
I am pleased to report that this important Bill passed by 366 votes to 265, and will now move onto the next stage.