Let me begin by thanking Angus Brendan MacNeil for introducing the Bill and thanking all the other Members who support it.
I want to put on record my thanks to Oxfam, the Red Cross, the Refugee Council, UNHCR, Amnesty International and many other charities for their campaigning on this issue. This coalition of charities shows the breadth and strength of support for refugee family reunion. This morning, many Members have put forward clear and convincing arguments in support of today’s Bill. I will use my time, which will be brief because I want to ensure that we have a vote, to outline why the Bill appeals to Labour values of fairness, respecting human rights and protecting the vulnerable in our society, and why we will therefore be supporting it.
The Labour party believes in respect for human rights, which are at the centre of our approach to foreign policy, development and the treatment of migrants and refugees on our soil. That includes the right to family life. At the moment, the definition of who is considered “close family” for the purposes of family reunion is narrow. It includes the spouse or partner of an adult refugee, and their dependent children under the age of 18. It does not include young siblings, elderly parents or older dependent children.