At the last General Election, the government which came back to power with an increased majority had several key priorities. Firstly, we were tasked with ensuring that the result of the Brexit referendum was respected and implemented, and we succeeded in ensuring this was carried out. But there was more than just Brexit, the British people mandated us to ensure that the broken immigration arrangements of the Blair and Brown years were replaced with a modern and fair system, fit for the twenty-first century. Despite the delay due to COVID-19, we have now put forward a new Nationality and Borders Bill which covers all the bases and delivers on the mandate we were given in 2019. It should come as no surprise that opposition politicians chose to vote against this new legislation, especially those who have always stood for weak borders. The British people have a reasonable expectation that the integrity of our borders is respected and that people who chose illegal routes into the UK are removed. However, the British people are also welcoming, and as we have seen from the incredible response to the Ukraine refugee situation, the people of this country are happy to accept those who wish to come to the UK to escape war or who need our protection. Our Bill has three main objectives. To make the system fairer and more effective so that we can better protect and support those in genuine need of asylum; to deter illegal entry into the UK breaking the business model of criminal trafficking networks and saving lives; to remove from the UK those with no right to be here. The Government consulted on the Bill and carefully considered the findings before it was presented to the House of Commons, and it has my continuing support.
I was not surprised to learn that I was one of the 287 British MPs who have been sanctioned by the Kremlin. If I am honest, I see being sanctioned by the Russians as a badge of honour. The people of Ukraine are bravely fighting for their homeland, alongside a number of colleagues I have been very vocal about the actions of Putin and his army. I will continue to speak up on behalf of the Ukrainian people, at a time when they need international politicians across the globe to call out what is going on. The people of North Cornwall support Ukraine too and there have been many people who have opened their doors to refugees. My team has worked tirelessly to assist Ukrainians in finding safety and I would like to especially thank Calum, my assistant in Westminster, who has spent many hours dealing with very complex issues and making visits to the Home Office in person to confirm entry cases with colleagues. Slava Ukraini!