Nationality and Borders Bill: LGBTQ+ People

Women and Equalities – in the House of Commons on 22nd September 2021.

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Photo of Olivia Blake Olivia Blake Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

What assessment she has made of the potential effect of the Nationality and Borders Bill on (a) equality, (b) personal safety and (c) the process of providing identity evidence in the asylum process for LGBTQ+ people.

Photo of Tom Pursglove Tom Pursglove Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Ministry of Justice and Home Office)

The Nationality and Borders Bill, which is part of our new plan for immigration, seeks to build a fair but firm asylum and legal migration system. On 16 September, we published an equality impact assessment for the policies being taken forward through the Bill. This includes an assessment of the potential impacts on people who are LGBTQ+.

Photo of Olivia Blake Olivia Blake Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

The Nationality and Borders Bill raises the standard of proof for assessing whether someone has grounds to fear persecution to the higher level of balance of probability. If the Minister were an LGBTQ+ asylum seeker, how would they prove, on the balance of probability, that they were, and how would they go about finding proof after a life of trying to hide their identity for fear of persecution?

Photo of Tom Pursglove Tom Pursglove Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Ministry of Justice and Home Office)

I am mindful of the point that the hon. Lady makes. She will appreciate the fact that I am new in role in the Department and that I am getting up to speed with the Bill. We began taking evidence in the Bill Committee yesterday, and the line-by-line scrutiny will begin after the recess. I take on board the point that she raises, but what is crucial in taking forward the measures in the Bill is how we operationalise those plans, and I would fully expect that we will be sympathetic in taking proper account of the issue that she raises.