I beg to move,
That this House
has considered the need for repeal of President Trump’s discriminatory, divisive and counterproductive ban on entry to the United States for people from seven predominantly Muslim countries and the indefinite ban placed on Syrian refugees.
May I place on record my thanks to you, Mr Speaker, for granting this debate? It is right that Members from both sides of the House of Commons have a clear opportunity to address these pressing issues. I will seek to keep my remarks brief to allow others to contribute to the debate.
I thank Nadhim Zahawi for co-sponsoring this debate. Throughout the past couple of days he has acted with great dignity and great eloquence, as recognised on both sides of the House. He and I are approaching this debate in the hope to send a clear and united view from this House about President Trump’s measures.
I should say at the start that this debate is not about our respect for the United States or our friendship with that country. I have lived there and I have friends there, and the declaration of independence is one of the most powerful political documents. Since its foundation, the United States has been built on the back of immigrants from around the world. Indeed, inscribed on the Statue of Liberty is the phrase:
“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”
It is precisely the role of the United States historically, and our friendship and unique relationship with America, that gives us a special responsibility, given what has transpired over the past few days.
At the heart of this debate are three simple questions. First, is it right for President Trump to ban indiscriminately people from certain countries of the world from entering the US, and to indefinitely ban Syrian refugees?