Daily Mail

Migration law will ‘criminalis­e children’ warns former minister

- Political Reporter By Kumail Jaffer

A FORMER Tory immigratio­n minister said last night that Rishi Sunak’s landmark Bill to stop illegal Channel migration ‘criminalis­es’ pregnant women and children plus fails to act as a deterrent.

Caroline Nokes, now chairman of the women and equalities committee, pledged to rebel against the measure in a Commons vote set for tomorrow.

The MP also voted against last year’s Nationalit­y and Borders Act. Her dramatic interventi­on came just hours after a Tory council leader said the Government’s migrant plan puts children’s safety at risk as a row threatens to break out within the Conservati­ve Party.

Miss Nokes told Times Radio: ‘I can’t vote for this. I didn’t vote for the last one, I won’t be voting for this one.

‘I might be an outlier in my party but I think we have an absolute duty to treat people humanely to keep people safe. I have absolute horror at the prospect.

‘My concern in the first instance about this Bill is that it’s removing protection­s for pregnant women, for families.

‘I am deeply troubled at the prospect of a policy which seeks to criminalis­e children, pregnant women, families and remove them to Rwanda.

‘I fail to see what this legislatio­n is going to do to act as a deterrent.’

Earlier Izzi Seccombe, Tory leader of Warwickshi­re County Council, said local authoritie­s have to ‘jump through hoops’ to set up safe shelters for children.

She criticised the Home Office for failing to communicat­e properly with councils over the migrant plan. ‘ We are putting people in risky situations,’ Mrs Seccombe told Times Radio.

‘That cannot be good for us as a society. I wish we had better communicat­ions with the Home Office because it’s very poor. We are the ones on the ground who have to deal with these issues.’

Her comments came hours after the Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell, called the Bill ‘immoral and inept’.

He said: ‘The proposals are unworkable but will restrict access to support for many legitimate refugees and victims of modern slavery, without even the dignity of having their case heard.’

A ban on holding children who arrive in small boats in detention centres may be reversed. Senior Tories, including exCabinet minister Robert Buckland, have condemned the plans as ‘draconian’.

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