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Archbishop of Canterbury attacks government’s Illegal Migration Bill

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has called for drastic changes to the government’s Illegal Migration Bill.  

Speaking in the House of Lords today, Mr Welby stated that the bill was “morally unacceptable”. 

“It ignores the reality that migration must be engaged with at source as well as in the channel,” he said 

“It is isolationist, it is morally unacceptable and politically impractical to let the poorest countries deal with the crisis alone and cut our international aid. 

“There must be safe legal routes put in place as soon as illegal unsafe routes begin to be attacked we cannot wait for the years that will take place before that happens.” 

This latest legislation plans to deter migrants from crossing the channel by removing those that arrived illegally to their home country or to a safe third country. 

The bill was unveiled in March and is a part of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s plan to stop small boats crossing the channel, a priority ahead of the next election.  

Mr. Welby also described the bill as a short-term fix that did not fully acknowledge the global issue of migration.  

“Of course, we cannot take everyone and nor should we, but this bill has no sense at all of the long term and of the global nature of the challenge the world faces,” he said.  

Liberal Democratic peer Lord Paddick, also put forward a rare ‘motion to decline’ that would block the bill from continuing in the Lords if agreed, meaning the government would have to reintroduce the bill in order to get it passed. 

“This nation should lead internationally, not stand apart.” – The Archbishop of Canterbury

Both the Labour party and the Archbishop failed to support the motion.  

Mr Welby acknowledged that existing international law needed to be updated and the current bill presented too many problems for one speech.  

“Long term, globally coordinated solutions must be part of the way forward. This nation should lead internationally, not stand apart,” he said.  

“I hope that this house will not support Lord Paddick’s excellent, sympathetic and carefully put amendment. I agree with its sentiment but I also believe that as Lord Coaker has said, it is our duty to change, not to throw out the bill.” 


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