A campaigning message from Mary at Asylum Matters. The only thing we’d add to this message is the advice from Hilary Benn on the last LMP chat – if you’re writing to your MP try and make it your own (as another former MP once put it: “I read the ones that constituents actually wrote, and weighed the ones that people printed out”.)
As many of you will know, the Second Reading of the Nationality and Borders Bill will be taking place next week on Monday 19th and Tuesday 20th July. This ‘Anti-Refugee’ Bill will fundamentally rewrite the UK asylum system and curtail the rights of refugees. It will increase destitution and homelessness, add to the backlog of asylum cases which leaves people living in limbo, and will separate families, forcing them to make dangerous journeys to safety. We believe we need to take a united stand calling for this Bill to be thrown out and replaced with proposals for an asylum system that is kinder, fairer and more effective.
GET IN TOUCH WITH YOUR LOCAL MP!
We are asking our partners to get in touch with your MPs (you can use this template letter if helpful), calling on them to take a stand against this anti-refugee Bill in Parliament next week.
We expect to hear a number of concerning interventions in support of this Bill at the time and we need to make sure there will be MPs there who can speak up in defence of the UK’s tradition of offering protection to those who need it, and call out tactics meant to demonise some of the most vulnerable people in our communities. MPs are much more likely to attend Second Reading and speak up if they hear from their constituents about why this issue matters to their local community, so please do add local examples where you can.
If you would like support with outreach to your MP, don’t hesitate to get in touch with me.
In addition to the template letter to MPs, a number of organisations have produced parliamentary briefings ahead of the Second Reading of the Bill – including the Refugee Council, the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI), the Families Together coalition, Bail for Immigration Detainees (BID), and the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS).
If you would like, you can select one of these to send as an attachment to your MP that you think best covers the core issues you’d like them to focus on. If your MP responds requesting additional information, particularly local data/info, case studies, or talking points, and you would like Asylum Matters’ support to pull this together, please do get in touch.
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
If you’re unable to get in touch with your MP ahead of the Second Reading but are keen to continue campaigning around the Bill, we will share further resources with our partners in the coming weeks. We want to encourage all partners to reach out to your MPs over summer and aim to secure meetings with them to discuss the Bill, as it will be useful to establish a relationship with them as the Bill progresses through Parliament and our asks to MPs evolve depending on opportunities.
So don’t hesitate to make the initial connection now as it can take some time to get a response or to secure a meeting. Asylum Matters will be on hand to share talking points for meeting with your MPs and together with the Together With Refugees coalition will be suggesting other local campaigning actions you can take to garner local support against this anti-refugee Bill.
Please feel free to get in touch with any thoughts or questions on the above. If you do get a response, I’d be very grateful to hear about it so we can keep track of MPs prepared to take action (or who need a little more encouragement!).
Thanks for all your help to fight this legislation.