We won in the Lords - now to the House of Commons!
UPDATE 15/10/2020: Read our letter to the Home Secretary here.
We have been working with peers in the House of Lords to put forward an amendment to the Immigration Bill on the right to return to the UK with our non-UK families. The really good news is that on 5 October peers voted, by an overwhelming majority, to pass our amendment: in total 312 peers voted for the amendment, while 223 voted against. This was a fantastic result for us and for everyone who lives in the EU with a non-UK family member.
And much of it is down to you, specifically to those of you who wrote to peers asking for their support - they listened, and they were persuaded and very often moved by what they read, with many reading out during the debate emails they’d received. Lady Hamwee, who moved the amendment, said:
“Since Committee, I have had so many emails, as no doubt have other noble Lords, making it clear how many different family situations there are, but all presenting families with similarly impossible choices. I thank everyone who has written to me and to other noble Lords. They have taken such care to contact us, not with standard formulaic emails but with powerful descriptions of their situations, their concern and their distress.”
There were several other powerful speeches that you can read here in Hansard (start at 8.33pm).
Sometimes it can feel as though lobbying politicians is a waste of time, but this shows that it isn’t - it’s actually hugely important as it brings politics to life and puts a human face on what might otherwise simply be a set of legal words. And it makes a difference. You made a difference. So thank you once again to all of you who took the time to write - it’s thanks to you that we’ve got this far. Many of you also added your support for another amendment to give our EU friends in the UK physical proof of their settled status, and that passed overwhelmingly too.
_What happens next?_
The Bill will have its Third Reading in the House of Lords on 12 October - see the Bill in its current state with our amendment included (clause 5(6)-(8)). The Government will either accept the amended Bill or it will table a series of amendments to remove the newly added clauses. The Bill will then go back to the House of Commons for further debate and for voting on the government’s amendments on 19 October.
We need to pull out all the stops to get the government to accept our amendment rather than removing it. The next days are crucial and the stakes are high ... and we need your help!
_What can you do?_
We’ve already seen how personal stories have swung things in the Lords - now we need to do the same in the Commons. We know that this is an even bigger challenge given the large Conservative majority, but we have one shot at this, one chance to persuade enough Tory MPs that sometimes justice means that people should prevail over politics.
So we ask every one of you to join in this exercise - even if you don’t have a non-UK family member, please take part this time in solidarity with those who do. And even if you no longer have a vote in the UK, you can still take part - click the link below to see how.
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