In his new immigration bill, Rishi Sunak has defended his intention to hold children migrants in detention, arguing that doing otherwise would “incentivise” criminal gangs to transport them to the UK in small boats.
The Commons Liaison Committee grilled the prime minister about the strategy, and Tory MP Caroline Nokes questioned why children weren’t protected from the law for their protection.
Sunak told the group of committee chairs: “The intention of this policy is not to detain children, but it’s important that we don’t inadvertently create a policy that incentivises people to bring children who wouldn’t otherwise come here.
“Otherwise you create an incentive for a criminal gang to bring a child with them when they otherwise wouldn’t be, and I don’t think that is a good thing.
“We don’t want to create a pull factor to make it more likely that children are making this very perilous journey in conditions that are appalling.”
The PM was questioned by the committee for nearly two hours as MPs continued to discuss the measure in the Commons for a second day, bringing up the issue of migrant children being detained once more.
Another matter was brought up by Tory MP Caroline Nokes, asking: “Is it right that an Afghan female judge or MP, who arrives on a small boat, should be treated differently to someone who arrived here prior to this legislation?”
You can watch his response below:
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