The Liberal Democrats have warned that the Conservatives are risking a new Windrush-style scandal, as the Government overturned the Party’s amendments to end indefinite immigration detention and protect the rights of British nationals living in the EU and EU citizens in the UK.
This evening, Conservative MPs rejected all 10 cross-party amendments to the Government’s Immigration Bill, passed by the House of Lords earlier this month, including three from the Liberal Democrats.
Amendment 5 – tabled by Liberal Democrat Lord Oates – would force the Government to provide EU citizens in the UK who are granted Settled or Pre-Settled Status with physical proof of their migration status, instead of the digital-only proof under the Government’s current system. It was rejected by 331 votes to 260.
The 28-day time limit on immigration detention (Amendment 6) – introduced by Baroness Hamwee in the House of Lords – was defeated by 328 votes to 264.
The Bill will now return to the Lords to continue “ping-pong” on Wednesday.
Following the votes, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Alistair Carmichael said: “The Conservatives’ decision to overturn these Liberal Democrat amendments shows how empty their promises to guarantee citizens’ rights after Brexit and to fix the broken immigration system really are. Their Hostile Environment is, sadly, alive and well.
“Indefinite detention is inhumane, expensive and unnecessary. The Tories may have blocked a time limit today, but Liberal Democrats will continue the fight to save money and prevent misery.
“Meanwhile, the Windrush Scandal showed the devastating impact of the Hostile Environment on people who cannot easily prove their rights. By denying EU citizens physical proof of Settled Status, the Government risks making them the victims of a new Windrush-style Scandal.”