BY Ryan McDougall | February 7 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print

asylum seekers

Brexit deal could let down asylum children

The director of the Catholic Parliamentary Office has criticised the UK Parliament for voting against an EU Withdrawal Agreement Bill that would have given asylum-seeking children the right to be reunited with their families.

On Wednesday January 22, the UK parliament voted to reject calls to see unaccompanied refugee children reunited with their parents, despite the bill being passed earlier in the week by the House of Lords.

Anthony Horan, director of the Catholic Parliamentary office said: “It is deeply disappointing that the UK Government and, ultimately, parliament has rejected calls to ensure this right for unaccompanied children, and to commit it to the statute book.

“Whilst government assurances [that children will be reunited with families] are welcome, there is little doubting the value of a legal commitment.”



Mr Horan agreed with Gavin Robinson, DUP MP for Belfast East, who had urged the government to support the amendment.

The MP said: “If the policy and the determined will of the Government remain the same when it comes to unaccompanied child refugees, there is nothing to be lost [by supporting the amendment].”

Steven Barclay, the UK Government’s Brexit Minister, stated the government believes legislation is not required and that it remains committed to ensuring the reunion of unaccompanied children with their families.



Mr Barclay said: “The UK has granted protection to more than 41,000 children since the start of 2010.

“In 2018, the UK received more than 3,000 asylum applications from unaccompanied children, and the UK deals with 15 per cent of all claims in the EU, making us the country with the third highest intake in Europe.

To find out how your MP voted, visit and search ‘Arrangements with EU about unaccompanied children seeking asylum’.

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