Open Letter: Oppose the Nationalities and Borders Bill

We the undersigned, are united in our opposition to the racist and discriminatory Nationality  and Borders bill currently making its way through the British Parliament. This legislation will have catastrophic consequences for the rights of asylum seekers and British citizens with non-UK heritage.

1.     This bill proposes to give the British Government the power to strip people of their citizenship without warning, as long as they deem it to be in the public good. How can we trust the government not to abuse this deliberately vague wording? After all, this is the government that oversaw the implementation of the hostile environment, are responsible for the Windrush scandal, and thought it wise to drive “Go Home” vans through our streets. The powers given in Clause 9 could affect up to 6 million British citizens, with Black and minority groups being disproportionately affected. No minister should be in receipt of such power.

2.     Clause 10 of this Bill attacks the rights of asylum seekers fleeing situations of absolute desperation, risking their lives to reach family and safety here in the UK. The UK government, despite the loss of 27 asylum seekers’ lives just last week is ploughing ahead in this legislation, making it a criminal offence for anyone to help rescue refugees from the channel, with possible prison time for those caught doing so. Additionally, the Nationalities and Borders bill will create a two-tiered system: those that are deserving of asylum and those that are not. The tier you belong to will be determined on the route you took to enter the UK, if it is not a “legal” route, pre-authorised by the Home Office (which contradicts its own policy that in order to claim asylum you must land in the UK first) you will be one of the many “undeserving” asylum seekers.

3.     This bill also gives the green light to the creation of prison-style detention centres for refugees, which will be located off-shore. This reverses the government’s previous commitments to reducing the number of detention centres. You only need to look at the treatment of refugees at sites such as Napier Woods to know this is a system rife with neglect, squalor and human rights abuses. We cannot allow the return of these centres, which have been the focus of several damning reports, let alone allow our Government to export the responsibility to foreign authorities.

The premise of this bill is to punish the most vulnerable in society, attacking their right to flee war and persecution in hope of safety in the fifth richest economy in the world. To criminalise the act of saving a life is cruel and callous – but calculated –  by a government that is devoid of empathy. We call on MPs and Lords across parliament to oppose and vote down the Nationalities and Borders bill to prevent an unprecedented power grab by ministers and protect the rights of asylum seekers.


Owen Hooper, Young Activist Network,  Norwich South
Lily Collison-Cook
Liam Barret, Freelance Writer, South Basildon and East Thurrock
Pauline Elmore, UK Labour Party Member, Basildon and Billericay
Kit Brophy, Student, Norwich South
Amy Honeywell, Student, Norwich South
Zana Baban, Clarion Futures – Finance and Claims Officer, Norfolk
Molly-Rose Medhursd,
Lizzy Olley, Youth Worker – Charity, Norwich South
Linda Kochniss, Norwich
Cllr Lorcan Whitehead, Councillor – Labour Party, Colchester
Ruth Lindley, Traidcraft Exchange – Campaigner, Norwich South
Naomi Wallace, South Basildon and East Thurrock
Elizabeth Carter, Maldon
Vivienne Olley, Customer Service Expert, North Norfolk
Paul Stygal, Labour Party and CWU Member, Rochford and Southend East
Cllr Max Holloway, Borough Councillor – Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council, Welwyn Hatfield
Liv Kellas-Kelly, Head of IT, Norwich
Dr Rosalind Hudis, UWTSD Lecturer, Ceredigion
Rose Buchan, Norwich South
Hilary Scarnell, Southend West
Shannon Jezzard, Eastern Rep on the Young Labour National Committee, Hertford and Stortford
Jack Pegg, Norwich
Sophie Ciurlik-Rittenbaum, Stop the Anti-Refugee Bill member, Norfolk
Louise Calton, Labour Party and Unite member, Southend West
Denise Koblenz, Norwich North
J Brindley, Nurse – NNUH, Nelson Ward (Norwich South)
Anthony Heales, Ceredigion
Michael Pritchard, Disabled Students’ Officer – Aston University Students’ Union, Birmingham Ladywood
Tess Lewis-Williams, Youth Worker – Charity, Norwich South
Sarah Hudis, Young Activist Network, Norwich South
Frances Davies, Bury St Edmunds
Charlie Caine, Norwich North
Kyle Newman, Merton
Jess Barnard, National Chair of Young Labour, Norwich South
Samuel Cohen, UK Labour Member, Hertsmere
Mathew Gostelow, Aston University, Birmingham Hall Green
Patrick Hanlon, Labour Party Member, West Suffolk
Peter Hardold Smith, South Basildon and East Thurrock
Clare Lovick Norwich North,
Esther Priyadharshini, Associate Professor in Education, UEA, Norwich South
Alex Garside, Salford and Eccles
Samuel Easteo, South Cambridgeshire