• Child Refugees

    06 February 2020

    Dear Constituent,

    Thank you for contacting me about the EU (Withdrawal Agreement) Act.

    While I appreciate your strength of feeling on refugee family reunion, the focus of the legislation was on implementing the deal as agreed with the EU so that the Withdrawal Agreement could have effect in UK law. I did not believe that it was right to add substantial new amendments.

    I have been assured that the Government’s policy has not changed and it was supportive of the purpose of the Dubs amendment. The UK received 15 per cent of all asylum claims from unaccompanied children in 2018 and had the third-highest intake of claims in the EU. A statutory obligation to negotiate with the EU on family reunification does not necessarily lead to an agreement. The Home Secretary has already written to the European Commission to commence negotiations on a future agreement and the Government will lay a statement before Parliament on its policy.

    The EU (Withdrawal Agreement) Act was also about implementing the Withdrawal Agreement and I did not believe that it was the right place to legislate on this issue. Removing the statutory requirement restores the traditional division between the Government and Parliament in international negotiations.

    The Act ensured that the UK left the EU on 31 January in an orderly way. It protects citizens’ rights, honours our financial obligations to the EU and ensures that there is no hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland in any circumstance. I fully support it.

    Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.

    Yours sincerely,

    Mel Stride MP

    MP for Central Devon