There have been a number of misleading reports of the past couple of weeks, claiming that the Government is going to stop helping vulnerable refugees, particularly unaccompanied children.
I want to reassure all of my constituents that there is absolutely no truth in this. The UK has a strong track-record of helping vulnerable children and this will not change. The UK has granted protection to 41,000 children since 2010, with more than 7,500 in the last year alone.
We are doing more than most EU countries, the third highest intake in the EU in 2018.
The purpose of the Withdrawal Agreement Bill is to put the Withdrawal Agreement, which the Government has agreed with the EU, into law. It is not about our future relationship with the EU. The Government does not need primary legislation to honour its commitment
We remain absolutely committed to seeking a reciprocal agreement with the EU for the family reunion of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children, and we do not require the Withdrawal Agreement Bill to achieve this.
An agreement on family reunion for unaccompanied children is a matter for negotiations with the EU and isn’t solely in the gift of the UK. That is why the Home Secretary proactively wrote to the European Commission on 22nd October to commence negotiation on this issue. Clause 37 of the Bill amends our statutory obligation to negotiate to an obligation to make a policy statement to Parliament, in light of this fact.
I hope this is of some help and reassurance to everyone who is worried about this.
You can find out more at https://homeofficemedia.blog.gov.uk/2020/01/15/factsheet-unaccompanied-asylum-seeking-children/