Top Stories: Migration Bill Fights Off Rebellion, New Powers For Landlords To Evict "Unruly" Tenants
Rishi Sunak and Robert Jenrick outside No 10 Downing Street (Alamy)
The government has avoided a major rebellion on the Illegal Migration Bill after the legislation was debated in the Commons on Monday evening.
The bill seeks to introduce a legal duty on the home secretary to detain and remove people who arrive in the UK illegally, and block them from returning or trying to get British citizenship in the future.
Immigration minister Robert Jenrick promised to “engage” with Conservative MPs who have concerns over details in the bill, and a number of MPs withdrew the amendments they had tabled.
Some Tory MPs do not believe that the Prime Minister has gone far enough with measures to reduce Channel crossings in the bill, as well as wanting the UK to withdraw from the European Convention on Human Rights, which forced the grounding of the first scheduled flight deporting migrants to Rwanda last year.
Conservative MP Tim Loughton is leading another rebellion with the support of Labour, which is trying to get the government to concede on providing “safe and legal” routes for refugees to seek asylum.
“There is more work to be done, but I did get quite a firm commitment today,” Loughton told TalkTV on Monday night.
“If they don’t follow through, then we have another opportunity to say: ‘Hold on, you haven't kept your side of the deal, so we are going to force more amendments to the vote.’
“But the government moved in the right direction this evening, which is encouraging.”
Others are also calling for an amendment to the bill which prevents juvenile asylum seekers from being affected by the new powers.
Landlords given more powers to evict "unruly" tenants
Government plans to reduce antisocial behaviour will include powers for landlords that will allow them to evict “unruly” tenants with two weeks’ notice.
Tenants who are considered disruptive by making persistent noise, taking drugs, or being drunk and disorderly will be eligible for eviction, with a notice period reduced from four to two weeks.
Landlords will also be able to evict tenants who fall behind on rent more easily.
Measures set out by the government on Monday also include immediate justice for perpetrators of antisocial behaviour such as fly-tipping or graffiti, an increase in the amount that perpetrators can be fined, and new digital tools to allow the public simpler ways to report antisocial behaviour.
Police will be granted further powers to prohibit begging on the street, and pilots of hotspot policing will be deployed to areas where crime is particularly rife.
‘Laughing gas’ nitrous oxide will also be made illegal, with sellers sentenced up to 14 years in prison and users facing up to two years in prison and unlimited fines.
John Hayward-Cripps, CEO of Neighbourhood Watch Network, said his organisation welcomed the new measures.
“Neighbourhood Watch welcomes the clear, strong focus on tackling antisocial behaviour,” he said.
“We believe everyone should be and feel safe in their communities and not worry about being a victim of harassment or antisocial behaviour.
“Reducing antisocial behaviour requires organisations and community members to work together, and the wide-ranging plan being launched champions that. It enables the public who take pride in their community to be included.”
Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper said she did not think the government’s approach goes far enough in tackling low-level crime.
She told BBC News: “This is too weak, too little, too late. Over the last 13 years the Conservatives have decimated neighbourhood policing and weakened antisocial behaviour powers so they are rarely used.
“A few pilots on hot spot policing doesn’t actually get the police back into the neighbourhood teams. That is what we need.”
Labour has promised to restore thousands of community officers if they get into government.
Rishi Sunak to face liaison committee
The Prime Minister will face the liaison committee in Parliament today, where he will answer questions on a range of topics from 12 committee chairs.
Conservative MP Bernard Jenkin will lead the committee a week after he subjected former prime minister Boris Johnson to a round of questioning over whether he lied to Parliament about ‘partygate’.
The committee will cover the Spring Budget and the economic issues facing the UK, migrants arriving on small boats, and the Windsor framework, the deal reached by Rishi Sunak with the European Union on Northern Ireland.
Education unions recommend teachers reject pay offer
The largest education union is recommending their members reject the latest pay offer from the government to end teacher strikes.
In a round of intensive talks with the NAHT, NEU, ASCL and NASUWT unions, the government has offered teachers a one-off cash payment of £1,000 this year and a pay rise of 4.3 per cent for some teaching staff next year.
Thousands of teachers have walked out in multiple strike days over the last few months, and now the NEU will recommend their members reject the offer.
The dispute centres on teacher’s pay – which unions argue is inadequate while not keeping up with inflation – as well as working conditions and workload.
Co-general secretary of the NEU Dr Mary Bousted told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that the union does not think the offer goes far enough to address the concerns of teachers.
“It’s a very poor offer,” she said. “Our executive committee looked carefully at the offer and decided that it was really insulting and that we would offer advice to members.”
She added that the offer did not appear to be “fully funded” and therefore could lead to spending cuts for schools, which already have overstretched budgets.
If members do reject the pay offer, strikes could roll on for months, with the possibility of disrupting summer exams in schools.
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