A Bill to reunite refugee families has passed its second reading at Westminster after gaining the support of MPs across the political divide.
The Private Members bill from Angus MacNeil, SNP MP for Na h-Eileanan an Iar, titled “the Refugees (Family Reunion) Bill”, received cross-party backing from 129 MPs, taking it one step closer to becoming law.
Currently, the UK only allows spouses or children under 18 to join refugees who seek safety in the UK, making it one of very few countries which does not allow other close relatives such as siblings or grandparents to join their family when they flee persecution.
Na h-Eileanan an Iar MP Angus MacNeil said: “I’m delighted that this bill which seeks to reunite refugee families has passed its first major hurdle in Westminster and is one step closer to ensuring that refugee families are no longer cut off from each other due to the UK government’s inhumane and strict immigration rules.
“The Refugee Family Reunion Bill is not a party political issue, but a humanitarian one. It is a Bill that puts compassion first and seeks to bring to an end the callous approach of the UK government which has kept refugee children away from their parents, siblings and wider family.
“This bill would not have reached the stage that it has without the help and support of MPs from across Westminster and organisations like Amnesty International UK, UNHCR, Oxfam and many others.”
The bill will now progress to committee stage where it will be scrutinised and amended before coming back to the Commons for a third reading.
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