The government’s Rwanda Bill passed its third reading in the House of Commons this week and will now go to the Lords.
The legislation enshrines Rwanda as a safe third country destination for asylum seekers to be processed.
I supported the bill. My heart goes out to the families of those five people who died last weekend attempting the crossing. A good reason, if any was needed, to deter crossings and stop trafficking criminals profiting from this evil trade. For those who make it but undetected, life-long servitude to criminals this side can be the price they pay for their passage.
Illegal migration is now a global problem, and many countries are looking at similar schemes. Denmark wants to move its asylum seekers to a third country too. Italy is to build two asylum processing centres in Albania.
Small boat crossings were down by over a third last year, due to better co-operation with France and Albania but more needs to be done.
I also believe it is for this country to decide its immigration policy and not others. Brexit was very clear about the UK taking back control of its borders.
For me, it’s to protect our capacity to provide sanctuary to the most vulnerable that we must take every measure against illegal immigration and, on legal migration, set a cap on the numbers we can sustainably provide for.
It is right that people are concerned about how the country’s infrastructure will cope if net migration every year is equivalent to the size of Bristol’s population - around 700,000.
The UK has a strong history of helping those fleeing danger. This bill will not stop that but it will deter illegal routes.
Eastbourne hotels must all be returned to their primary purpose, and I have worked with the Home Office last year, to this end. When I met with the minister again this week, I was informed that another hotel will be released in the weeks to come.
The council must use all its powers to require hotel owners to bring their properties up to a standard. And if it is the case that hotel bed numbers are not required to underpin our important visitor economy, the local plan should redefine the tourism zone to unlock potential for new homes.