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Immigration reforms clear Britain’s Commons amid chaotic scenes

dpa
London
The British government’s flagship immigration legislation has cleared the House of Commons amid chaotic scenes and claims of “anti-democratic” tactics from opposition MPs.
MPs gave the Nationality and Borders Bill a third reading by 298 votes to 231, majority 67, thereby allowing it to progress to the House of Lords. But the third reading debate was squeezed to around nine minutes.
Deputy Speaker Dame Eleanor Laing criticized the “delaying tactics” and told the Commons: “This is anti-democratic practice.” At one stage she threatened to throw out an SNP MP for repeatedly trying to raise a point of order, while Home Secretary Priti Patel added: “It is appalling that we’ve seen these delaying tactics today.”
Conservative MP Lee Anderson (Ashfield) also said: “The disgraceful tactics of hiding in the toilets by the rabble opposite to delay democracy is an attack on democracy.” The Bill seeks to curb English Channel crossings and change how asylum claims are processed.
It includes clauses to allow Britain to be able to send asylum seekers to a “safe third country” and to submit claims at a “designated place” determined by the secretary of state.
Officials believe the bill gives the potential to allow for offshore processing centres to be set up overseas, akin to policies used in Australia.
The bill also gives Border Force officers powers to turn migrants away from Britain while at sea, and makes it a criminal offence to knowingly arrive in Britain without permission - with the maximum sentence for those entering the country unlawfully rising from six months’ imprisonment to four years.
For the first time, how someone enters Britain - legally or “illegally” - will have an impact on how their asylum claim progresses and on their status in the UK if that claim is successful.

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