Scores of celebrities urge Boris Johnson to ‘think again’ over ‘anti-refugee Bill’

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More than 40 celebrities have written to Boris Johnson calling for a compassionate, fair and more effective asylum system while his government seeks to introduce new “anti-refugee” immigration laws.

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Actors Olivia Colman, Joanna Lumley and Stephen Fry are among renowned art and media personalities who have signed an open letter to the prime minister to “rethink” the nationality and border bill that is making its way through parliament.

The letter, organized by a coalition of campaign groups with refugees, calls on Mr Johnson to do more to help refugees.


He said: “We are refugees, descendants of refugees and supporters of refugees. For some of us, if we are living in Afghanistan now, our lives may be in danger, and we will have to become refugees.

“We are proud that the UK is providing protection to Afghan refugees who are able to join an official scheme. People up and down the country are doing incredible things to welcome them as they start their new lives. are.

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“But many others have been left in grave danger. They have to escape by any means possible – on foot, by boat or by hiding behind a lorry. But the proposed new laws will mean our country is turning away people like him who are in dire need of protection.

“As a nation we should – and can – do more. That is why we are working together with refugees in the UK for a kinder, fairer and more effective system for refugees.

“Now is not the time to take them away. Now is the time to lend your hand in kindness and protection. We urge you to think again.”

Signatories include fellow artists Fiona Shaw, Simon Callow, Imelda Staunton, Joe Wanamaker and Thandiway Newton, the bands Kaiser Chiefs, TV personalities Robert Rinder and Gok Wan, as well as comedians Romesh Ranganathan, Frankie Boyle and Shapark “Shappy” Khorsandi.

Ms Khorsandi said: “I had to flee Iran with my family when I was a child when my father’s life was in danger, simply because he is a popular comedian who opposed those in power.

“It is terrifying to think of many more people around the world, including Afghanistan, living in fear for their lives because of who they are or what they say.

“I can’t imagine what would have happened if my family had not been welcomed in the UK.

“We must not turn our backs on those who have struggled to reach our shores in need of protection. The prime minister should oppose this anti-refugee bill.

Mr Rinder said: “In 1945 my grandfather arrived in the UK as a child refugee from the hell of the Holocaust.

“We can help provide sanctuary to those who are now in danger who have endured terrible struggles to find their way to safety and freedom. This is what our country stands for at its best. We must not turn our backs.”

Protests, demonstrations and other events have erupted in parts of Britain this week against Home Secretary Priti Patel’s proposed legislation, which campaigners have dubbed an “anti-refugee bill”.

Ms Patel has defended the bill, saying it would create a “firm but fair” asylum system that would allow Britain to have “absolute control of its borders” after Brexit.

He also said the proposed laws would “break the business model” of people smuggling gangs after a large number of migrants crossed the English Channel in small boats.

On Wednesday, Lord Alfred Dabbs told a crowd at a large pro-refugee rally in Parliament Square that he expected the bill to be defeated by the House of Lords at a later stage.

Lord Dubs, who was one of 669 children rescued from Nazi-occupied Prague in then-Czechoslovakia, said the bill would “criminalize security-seeking refugees if they knowingly entered Britain without permission and the correct paperwork.” Is”.

This means that the bill – currently at committee level in the House of Commons – could, for the first time, allow “illegal” entry into the UK, which could affect the issue of asylum and a person’s subsequent immigration status. If they claim successful.

It will also give the government expanded powers to deport migrants who did not arrive in the UK with the required documents.


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