Debates between Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale and Baroness Williams of Trafford during the 2019 Parliament

Mon 8th Feb 2021
Domestic Abuse Bill
Lords Chamber

Committee stage:Committee: 5th sitting (Hansard) & Committee: 5th sitting (Hansard) & Committee: 5th sitting (Hansard): House of Lords
Mon 25th Jan 2021
Domestic Abuse Bill
Lords Chamber

Committee stage:Committee: 1st sitting (Hansard) & Committee: 1st sitting (Hansard) & Committee: 1st sitting (Hansard): House of Lords & Committee stage

Iraqi Interpreters

Debate between Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale and Baroness Williams of Trafford
Thursday 14th October 2021

(2 years, 8 months ago)

Lords Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text Read Debate Ministerial Extracts
Baroness Williams of Trafford Portrait Baroness Williams of Trafford (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, we have communication lines for people to access. Clearly, Afghanistan is a far more difficult environment than Iraq at this time, but, yes, we reach out to people.

Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale Portrait Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale (Lab)
- Hansard - -

My Lords, it has been reported in the past 24 hours that Afghan special intelligence unit officers who were trained, funded and supervised by United Kingdom officials in Afghanistan have been abandoned following the end of the airlift at the beginning of September. Will the Government look into this as a matter of urgency and ensure that these people, who are in significant danger in Afghanistan today, have the opportunity to come either to the United Kingdom or to another safe place as soon as possible?

Baroness Williams of Trafford Portrait Baroness Williams of Trafford (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

The noble Lord is talking about Afghan citizens. Clearly, Afghanistan is an incredibly difficult environment at this point in time, but, as I have reiterated in previous answers, we are doing all we can to help those people who need our ongoing assistance.

EU Borders: Refugees from Afghanistan

Debate between Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale and Baroness Williams of Trafford
Thursday 9th September 2021

(2 years, 9 months ago)

Lords Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text Read Debate Ministerial Extracts
Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale Portrait Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale (Lab)
- Hansard - -

My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question standing in my name on the Order Paper and, in doing so, draw attention to my entry in the Lords register.

Baroness Williams of Trafford Portrait The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Williams of Trafford) (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, the UK has committed to resettle up to 20,000 at-risk individuals through the Afghanistan citizens’ resettlement scheme, in addition to relocating those who supported our Armed Forces or the UK Government in Afghanistan through the Afghan relocations and assistance policy, or ARAP. We continue to work with EU partners to co-ordinate our response to Afghanistan and support those most at risk.

Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale Portrait Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale (Lab)
- Hansard - -

My Lords, I am grateful for that response but it does not really answer the Question. We all know that, over recent years, significant numbers of potential Afghani refugees have come through Europe to relocate either in other European countries or, if they felt that they had a connection to here, here in the United Kingdom. I would be very concerned if there was any suggestion at all that the Government’s more difficult relationship with the European Union might inhibit safe passage for those who have a right to come to the United Kingdom to move perhaps from the eastern European border to here in order to be processed suitably. Will the Government guarantee that there will be discussion with the European Union to ensure that not only are there processes in place in Pakistan and in neighbouring countries but, where potential Afghani refugees have come to the European Union in order then to move to the United Kingdom, there will be a system in place to allow them due consideration?

Baroness Williams of Trafford Portrait Baroness Williams of Trafford (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

One thing I can assure the noble Lord of is that today the Home Secretary is meeting EU Commissioner Johansson and that migration, including the provision of safe and legal routes, is also being discussed today at the G7. An EU resettlement forum, also attended by the US and Canada, is also due to take place on 27 September. Finally, let me say to the noble Lord that anyone who makes a journey to Europe should claim asylum in the first safe country that they reach.

Immigration: Skilled Migrants from Commonwealth Countries

Debate between Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale and Baroness Williams of Trafford
Monday 19th April 2021

(3 years, 1 month ago)

Lords Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text Read Debate Ministerial Extracts
Baroness Williams of Trafford Portrait Baroness Williams of Trafford (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

Absolutely—we have humanitarian routes, which are used. The noble Lord talked about BNOs, and he is absolutely right: the people of Hong Kong are coming here legally—we have granted them leave to remain under the BNO route. Far from being inhumane, this country has a proud record of giving refuge to people who need it.

Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale Portrait Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale (Lab)
- Hansard - -

My Lords, on that point, there has been and continues to be a particular problem of young people and teenagers, who have spent a considerable number of years in this country, sometimes—through no fault of their own but because of the bureaucracy of the system, the decision-making and so on—finding themselves threatened with a return to the country of their parents’ or their birth, despite having spent a number of years in this country, attending school here and experiencing the growing-up process here. Is that really a humane reaction, and is there a better way that the Government could handle these cases?

Baroness Williams of Trafford Portrait Baroness Williams of Trafford (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I totally get the point that the noble Lord is making about some of the humanitarian considerations that we should give to people who grew up in this country, but this is a very different issue. The cases we are talking about this afternoon are of people who falsified their earnings, claiming back tax on them in some instances, as I have said. It is absolutely right that we are not only tolerant and welcoming but that we stamp out fraud where we see it—and these cases were of fraudulently declared earnings.

Domestic Abuse Bill

Debate between Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale and Baroness Williams of Trafford
Committee stage & Committee: 5th sitting (Hansard) & Committee: 5th sitting (Hansard): House of Lords
Monday 8th February 2021

(3 years, 4 months ago)

Lords Chamber
Read Full debate Domestic Abuse Bill 2019-21 View all Domestic Abuse Bill 2019-21 Debates Read Hansard Text Read Debate Ministerial Extracts Amendment Paper: HL Bill 124-VI(Rev) Revised sixth marshalled list for Committee - (8 Feb 2021)
Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale Portrait Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale (Lab)
- Hansard - -

My Lords, I am grateful for this opportunity, having listened to a very interesting debate. At Second Reading I raised the issue of cross-border co-ordination within the United Kingdom—at that time, particularly in connection with European protection orders and how to ensure that an appropriate system would be in place within the jurisdictions of the United Kingdom. It strikes me that it is also an ongoing issue with those that flee across one of the internal borders of the United Kingdom and then seek housing. I would be grateful for any reflections that the Minister might have on what implications these amendments—or their rejection, as she is recommending—would have for women who have flown across borders, and for the internal arrangements that are in place between the local authorities of the whole United Kingdom, not just England.

Baroness Williams of Trafford Portrait Baroness Williams of Trafford (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

Clearly, this Bill does not extend to the jurisdiction in Scotland, but I absolutely understand the point that the noble Lord is making. I will write to him with any updates on that because, of course, a woman should not be prohibited or stopped from receiving support just because she has crossed a border. I will write to him further on that and I thank him for raising the issue.

Domestic Abuse Bill

Debate between Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale and Baroness Williams of Trafford
Committee stage & Committee: 1st sitting (Hansard) & Committee: 1st sitting (Hansard): House of Lords
Monday 25th January 2021

(3 years, 4 months ago)

Lords Chamber
Read Full debate Domestic Abuse Bill 2019-21 View all Domestic Abuse Bill 2019-21 Debates Read Hansard Text Read Debate Ministerial Extracts Amendment Paper: HL Bill 124-II(Rev) Revised second marshalled list for Committee - (25 Jan 2021)
Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale Portrait Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale (Lab)
- Hansard - -

My Lords, I am very grateful for this opportunity to speak after the Minister. I did not submit my name for the speakers’ list for this group because I could not rely on the train from Scotland getting me here on time, but I am delighted that I managed to make it in time to hear the powerful and important speech from the noble Baroness, Lady Meyer.

When I first saw this amendment at the end of last week, unaware as I was then that it would become perhaps the most controversial and debated issue of our first day in Committee, I flinched. I understand the motivations behind it and there have been powerful speeches on both sides of the debate, but I fear that the Bill’s purpose, which we celebrated earlier this month at Second Reading—to empower victims of domestic abuse to be confident enough to deal with their circumstances, and to ensure that perpetrators are properly punished—would be undermined by the amendments. These amendments could disempower victims of domestic abuse and therefore run contrary to the rest of the Bill.

On reading the amendment on Friday morning, I immediately imagined a situation where a woman is about to flee the home, even temporarily, and the man says, “But under the Domestic Abuse Act I will pursue you for alienation.” A very high proportion of women facing that situation would stay where they were out of an additional fear, on top of all the fear they already experience. I will not tell my personal story here, but I can absolutely assure noble Lords that this happens and this would happen. We should hesitate and think very carefully about this issue in advance of accepting an amendment of this sort.

I was persuaded by the powerful cases made by the noble Baronesses, Lady Brinton and Lady Helic, but particularly by the wise words of the noble Baroness, Lady Chisholm, spelling out the need to take time over this issue, to consider it carefully, and to do the right thing for the victims of domestic abuse and the children who might be affected. For that reason I think the Government have the balance right by not including alienation in the Bill, but by referring to it in the draft statutory guidance. I therefore support the Minister’s submission.

Baroness Williams of Trafford Portrait Baroness Williams of Trafford (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I agree with the noble Lord’s very balanced view. It is absolutely right that we do not undermine what is very good legislation by acting in haste and regretting at leisure. The case study the noble Lord outlined was in the back of my mind as well.

Covid-19: Child Trafficking

Debate between Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale and Baroness Williams of Trafford
Tuesday 29th September 2020

(3 years, 8 months ago)

Lords Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text Read Debate Ministerial Extracts
Baroness Williams of Trafford Portrait Baroness Williams of Trafford (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

The noble Baroness will recall that, through the Modern Slavery Act 2015, the Government introduced the statutory defence for victims of modern slavery to protect those really vulnerable people who would previously have been unfairly prosecuted, as she said, for crimes that they were forced to commit by their exploiters—notably, as she mentioned, in cannabis cultivation.

Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale Portrait Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale (Lab)
- Hansard - -

My Lords, support for the victims of child trafficking is obviously vital, but so is the prosecution of the perpetrators responsible. What action are the Government currently taking internationally to ensure a higher level of prosecution of those responsible for child trafficking? How can we ensure that, in the words of the Foreign Secretary, the UK, as a “force for good” in the world, does more to achieve that goal?

Baroness Williams of Trafford Portrait Baroness Williams of Trafford (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

The noble Lord may recall the NCA swoop of a few months ago that pulled in many illicit articles and items. You cannot look at child trafficking in isolation; it is part of a package of drugs, guns, trafficking and child sexual exploitation, and it can be tackled effectively only at an international level.