Changes in Us Immigration Policy

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 8:51 pm on 30th January 2017.

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Photo of Ed Miliband Ed Miliband Labour, Doncaster North 8:51 pm, 30th January 2017

First, I thank all right and hon. Members for contributing to this debate. I thank you, Mr Speaker, for making the debate possible, because it showed a wish to make sure that this House was relevant to the issue of the day and the issue of the moment. I particularly commend the speeches—forgive me if I do not mention all the excellent speeches we have heard—by my hon. Friend Naz Shah, my right hon. Friends the Members for Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford (Yvette Cooper) and for Leeds Central (Hilary Benn), and my hon. Friend Alison McGovern. My friend, Nadhim Zahawi, spoke incredibly movingly and eloquently. We also heard from the right hon. Members for Chelmsford (Sir Simon Burns) and for Broxtowe (Anna Soubry), and the hon. Members for Colchester (Will Quince) and for Motherwell and Wishaw (Marion Fellows). There were many other excellent speeches, including from the Front Benches—my own and others.

The main thing I take out of this is that we achieved our purpose, which is to show that on the merits of this issue there is remarkable unity across this House. There is no division on the Government or Opposition Benches about the fact that this ban is basically a repugnant, abhorrent thing. It is a very good achievement for the House to have set that out.

The second question, though, is what happens next? In a good contribution, the Minister came a bit closer to raising that issue. The question is whether we classify this a kind of normal, run-of-the-mill disagreement—“They do their thing, we do our thing”—or as something much, much more serious. I urge the Minister to take back to the Foreign Secretary and the Prime Minister the strong feeling across this House that this is not some run-of-the-mill thing—“They do our policy and we do ours”—but incredibly serious. It is incredibly serious because of the values that it speaks to, which offend this House of Commons, and because it takes us down a slippery slope. Someone pointed out that we are only two weeks into Donald Trump’s presidency. My goodness, it feels like a year, really, and we still have at least three years and a lot of a year to go. There is a real danger of a slippery slope.

Thirdly, this policy is going to make us less safe, not more safe—it is more dangerous for our world. I really hope that the Minister takes back the message that this is not run of the mill but deadly serious, and that we expect a response from the Prime Minister, including speaking to the President, that is proportionate to the feeling of this House of Commons.

I apologise for having briefly gone outside because I was due to speak at the event that was taking place, although I never quite made it to speak. There were tens of thousands of people, I think, or thousands of people. One must not get into crowd size estimates given recent experience; I do not want to do a Trump—[Hon. Members: “Millions!”] There were millions of people outside. I think there is a feeling across this country, from the petition to the people outside, that this ban is not in our name. This House of Commons has said that today and I hope that the Government will reflect that in the weeks and months ahead.

Question put and agreed to.


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.