Yesterday Conservative MPs voted overwhelmingly to exclude protections for lone child refugees from Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal.
In their defence, Steve Barclay argued that “primary legislation cannot deliver the best outcomes for these children”, promising to seek the best possible outcome in negotiations with the EU.
Lord Dubs, who tabled the amendment, said he had been given similar assurances from minister that the government would maintain the same rights after Brexit, but based on their recent past record, can we really trust them?
The Conservative’s election campaign hardly evokes much hope on this front.
As I argued shortly after the result was announced, they set a precedent that you can lie, cheat and evade scrutiny and get away with it by dodging interviews every time the heat gets turned up and relying on blatant untruths to prop up their agenda.
But as Shadow Brexit minister Thangam Debbonaire rightly pointed out yesterday, MPs shouldn’t really need to rely on trust in order to secure basic human rights.
They are law makers. “Why not include this in the legislation? After all, the prime minister has changed his mind many times on many things”, should we not at the very least be able to secure a binding commitment to fundamental standards of living?
Brexit built on a foundation of lies
The honest answer is, probably not.
Brexit itself is a movement built on a foundation of lies and, as such, it will likely maintain a casual relationship with the truth in the process to get it delivered.
Matters such as human rights, animal sentience, climate change, the NHS and welfare will all be swept under the carpet in exchange for a simple pledge to ‘Get Brexit Done’.
It is time we realise that we are now constitutionally committed to three words during one of the most complex political realignments of the last 40 years, and you can bet your bottom dollar that crucial issues such as the one raised by Lord Dubs will play second fiddle to that overarching strategy.