A protest was held in Stroud yesterday against the Nationality and Borders Bill.

The controversial bill, intended to 'tackle illegal migration, asylum and control the UK borders', has its second reading in parliament this week.

Members of Amnesty International Mid Gloucestershire Group made their feelings about the bill known in a demonstration held outside the office of Stroud MP Siobhan Baillie.

They held signs with slogans such as 'refugees welcome' and 'protect the human'.

Stroud News and Journal:

Letters have also been written to MPs across the county by members of the group and other refugee organisations

The bill's three main objectives are:

  • To increase the fairness of the system to better protect and support those in need of


  • To deter illegal entry into the United Kingdom, thereby breaking the business model of

people smuggling networks and protecting the lives of those they endanger; and

  • To remove more easily those with no right to be in the UK.

But critics have called it 'draconian' and a 'dereliction of duty'.

In response to the bill, introduced to parliament on July 6, Steve Valdez-Symonds, refugee and migrants rights programme director at Amnesty International UK, said: “This shockingly-bad bill will fatally undermine the right to asylum - both in the UK and elsewhere.

“Instead of introducing this piece of utter legislative vandalism, what the Home Office should be doing is establishing safe routes for the relatively few people escaping persecution who wish to seek asylum here.

“This reckless and deeply-unjust bill is set to bring shame on Britain’s international reputation. It will open the door to other countries also seeking to dismantle a global refugee system which has saved countless lives.

“This is a shameful dereliction of duty from the Home Secretary. If the bill goes through, the UK will have reneged on key international commitments - including the Refugee Convention, put in place after the horrors of World War Two.”

Siobhan Baillie said: "I have a lot of respect for the local amnesty group.

"I’ve had constructive discussions with them in the past and I was grateful they were outside my office at the weekend when my staff, who are not political, were not there. 

"I will be listening closely to ministers in the bill debate and talking to my colleagues about it. It is a wide-ranging piece of proposed legislation."