In the last week of the Parliamentary term, MPs have been working on the final stages of a series of measures on the Social Housing (Regulation) Bill, and the highly contentious Illegal Migration Bill, the Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Bill.
Despite significant opposition in the Commons and especially the Lords on the Illegal Migration Bill, parliamentary “ping pong” ended last night and the Bills will sadly become law.
In the end, the Lords always has to bow to the supremacy of the Commons where the Tories hold a majority.
It’s truly astonishing that another unworkable, badly drafted piece of legislation claiming to “stop the boats” has passed just a year after Priti Patel’s Nationality and Borders Bill which claimed to do the same thing passed.
Yet, the problem has got worse, not better.
Labour believes in strong border security and an effectively managed and controlled asylum system so the UK does our bit alongside other countries to help those fleeing persecution and conflict.
Under the Tories, we have neither of those things. The latest Bill will make things worse. They’ve let the criminal gangs take hold along the Channel, undermining our border security.
They’ve caused total chaos in our asylum system so that decisions have collapsed, the backlog has soared, it’s harder to get international return agreements, harder to prosecute trafficking and smuggler gangs, and they will lock up children and torture victims.
The taxpayer is having to fork out billions of pounds for costly hotel use and ever more outlandish plans like the ludicrous, illegal and exorbitantly expensive idea to send a small proportion of irregular migrant arrivals to Rwanda.
Similarly, the legislation on strikes does nothing to help the crisis in public services. The Government’s failed approach to public sector strikes has led to the worst strikes across sectors in decades.
At every stage, rather than get around the table to negotiate with doctors, nurses, teachers, lecturers and rail workers, the Government has sought to collapse talks and thrown in last-minute spanners.
With this new ‘sacking nurses’ Bill, they’ve gone from clapping key workers to sacking them.
This shoddy Bill is unworkable, and it will put intolerable burdens on employers. Even the Government’s own regulatory watchdog has called it ‘unfit for purpose.’
This isn’t about public safety – the Bill doesn’t mention safety once! This is about Rishi Sunak playing politics with yet another sticking plaster, distracting from the Conservative’s economic and NHS failures.
The Government is running scared from scrutiny.
Ministers have failed to properly spell out the risk of exacerbating the recruitment and retention crisis in public services, assess the bureaucratic burden on employers or evaluate the risk of discrimination.
Labour strongly opposes this fundamental attack on working people’s freedoms on the principle – and we will repeal it if we get into Government.
This is a monthly guest column provided by Mohammad Yasin, Labour MP for Bedford and Kempston.
It is published unedited and does not reflect the views of the Bedford Independent.