Changes in Us Immigration Policy

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 7:37 pm on 30th January 2017.

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Photo of Stella Creasy Stella Creasy Labour/Co-operative, Walthamstow 7:37 pm, 30th January 2017

I could not agree more. One of the messages that I want to send from the House tonight is that we do not recognise that as the kind of leadership that we want in our country. Something clearly has to change, even if the Prime Minister did not know about the ban before she walked into that room with Donald Trump. What cannot continue is our saying that it is simply a matter for the United States. What cannot continue is our saying, “Well, if we can be sure that it will not affect our citizens, we will not worry about the implications of the ban elsewhere.” That is not good enough. That is not the British way.

The question for us is how best to express that and how best to engage. There is a world of difference between wanting to debate directly with President Trump whether he has done the right thing, not just for his own country but for our world, and rolling out the red carpet and giving him the same treatment that we gave Nelson Mandela, or, indeed, the Queen Mother when we laid her in state. There is a world of difference between wanting to debate with someone and engage with him, and wanting to indulge him. Let me say this to Conservative Members: to many of us, it looks like indulging and endorsing President Trump if nothing changes now that we know of this ban—now that we know of his intention and his deliberate actions to target Muslims in our world. If nothing changes, that will say more about us as a nation than it says about him.

The question for all of us is whether we should use the power that we have, as elected representatives of people in positions of authority, to send that message. It is whether we should join our citizens who are not just on the streets tonight, and who have not just signed that petition, but who are asking what has become of us as a world. They are people who recognise that diversity is a strength. They are people who recognise the words of a former American President, Franklin Roosevelt, who argued that a nation does not have to be cruel to be tough.

I am proud of my country; I am proud to be a patriot; I respect the rights of other countries; but that does not mean that I must be silent when things go wrong. The silence of our Government, the mitigation, the quibbling, the laziness with which people are approaching this issue and the tardiness of the response do not reflect the best principles of being British.