SNP MP Angus MacNeil has said his Private Members Bill on the treatment of refugees is a ‘humanitarian issue not a party political one’.
His comments came as his ‘Refugee Family Reunion‘ Bill is published today at Westminster, which addresses several issues about the UK’s refugee policies. It will seek to give the right to refugee children to be reunited with their parents – under current reunion rules children cannot sponsor their parents to come to the UK – thus leaving them alone here.
The Bill will also look to expand the definition of family members, as currently only spouses and children under the age of 18 are allowed to join their family in the UK, which risks young people being exploited or possibly trafficked, without that family support around them.
Angus MacNeil has already secured support from the Refugee Council, UNHCR the UN Refugee Agency, Amnesty International, the British Red Cross and Oxfam GB.
Na h-Eileanan an Iar MP Angus MacNeil said:
“This Private Members Bill has support from members from six parties – Government and opposition. It is not party political it is a humanitarian issue and would bring the UK into line with a majority of European countries if passed. Clearly, we can all understand the anguish people would feel from being separated from family members by the stroke of a bureaucrat’s pen whether deliberately or accidentally.
‘’Therefore this Bill seeks to improve the lot for people who have found themselves in the worst situation possible having fled their homeland as refugees. In short, it is the least we can do and therefore that is why I am glad of the support of so many politicians across so many parties.”
The bill and explanatory notes can be found at: https://services.parliament.uk/bills/2017-19/refugeesfamilyreunionno2/documents.html