SNP MP Angus MacNeil’s Bill to reunite refugee families and ease the UK government’s
“inhumane” immigration rules has passed its first major hurdle in Westminster.
The draft legislation received 129 votes in favour with 42 MPs opposing. voting against.
The bill will now proceed to committee stage for further scrutiny and amendments.
Refugees Family Reunion Bill looks to ensure that child refugees in the UK would
have the right to sponsor their close family to come to the UK, so they can rebuild
their lives together and help them integrate in their new community.
It also seeks an expansion of who qualifies as a family, so that young people who
have turned 18, and elderly parents, can live in safety with their families in the
The bill also calls for the reintroduction of legal aid, so refugees who have lost
everything have the support they need to navigate the complicated process of being
reunited with their families.
The SNP MP's Private Members' Bill has been backed by
the Refugee Council, the UN Refugee Agency, Amnesty UK, the British Red Cross and
MP Angus MacNeil said the proposed new law is humanitarian rather than a
party political issue that puts “compassion first and seeks to bring to an end the
callous approach of the UK government which has kept refugee children away from their
parents, siblings and wider family.”