SEAFARERS’ union RMT has raised alarm over government legislation criminalising seafarers for saving lives at sea.
The proposals, contained in the government’s Nationality and Borders Bill, were debated by MPs yesterday.
RMT General Secretary Mick Lynch said: ‘Quite simply, the government is legislating to criminalise seafarers for saving lives at sea.
‘The extreme measures in the Nationality and Borders Bill would lead to more deaths, people trafficking and persecution in UK waters, seafarers thrown in jail and bring shame on the UK’s position as a leading maritime nation.
‘The government must take these provisions out of this morally toxic piece of legislation.’
Launching the second reading of the Tory government’s Nationality and Borders Bill, Home Secretary Priti Patel laid out a series of measures attacking refugees and asylum seekers.
She said: ‘The British people have had enough of open borders and uncontrolled immigration.
‘Enough of a failed asylum system that costs the taxpayer over £1billion pounds a year. Enough of beings arriving illegally on our shores directed by organised crime gangs, enough of people drowning on these dangerous, illegal and unnecessary journeys.
‘Enough of people being trafficked and sold into modern slavery; enough of economic migrants pretending to be genuine refugees, enough of adults pretending to be children to claim asylum.
‘Enough of people trying to gain entry illegally ahead of those who play by the rules.
‘Enough of foreign criminals including murderers and rapists who abuse our laws and then game the system so that we cannot remove them.
‘For the first time in decades we will determine who comes in and out of our country.
‘People should be claiming asylum in the first safe country they reach, and people are using the UK as a destination of choice.’
Patel continued claiming: ‘This is a system that is being abused. It is right that we do everything possible and fix this.’
Labour MP for Rhondda Chris Bryant said: ‘Don’t you think that the point is to address the very issues that drive refugees from their homes in the first place – the so-called “push factors”?’