I hope you are all well this week. I am very pleased that the Government introduced our landmark Borders Bill into Parliament, delivering on our promise to tackle illegal immigration by cracking down on people smugglers and making it harder for those who enter the UK illegally to stay. For too long, our broken asylum system has lined the pockets of the vile criminal gangs who cheat the system. This is not fair to the vulnerable people who need protection or the British public who pay for it. On the doorstep, many people in North Cornwall have told me that this issue is a priority for them, and I have had no hesitation in putting this message at the heart of Government.
This is exactly why we are introducing the new Nationality and Borders Bill into Parliament, which will increase the punishment for people smugglers, make it a criminal offence to knowingly enter the UK without permission, and make it easier to swiftly remove those who enter the UK illegally. The Bill will create a fair but firm system that will send a clear message to those thinking about making the dangerous and illegal journey to the UK – while cracking down on criminal gangs that exploit vulnerable migrants.
We have also introduced a Bill to repeal the Fixed Term Parliaments Act and ensure our democracy remains fair and transparent. Our democracy is precious, and to continue to protect it, we need to update our laws to ensure they are fit for purpose and in line with the modern world. The Elections Bill will deliver on our manifesto pledges by providing more protections for candidates and voters from abuse or intimidation, increasing the transparency and accountability of online and third-party campaigners, and cracking down on voter fraud with ID requirements and safeguards for postal voting. If passed, the new law will update and protect our globally respected democracy while making it more inclusive, so that every voter is able to make their choices freely, securely and in an informed way.
Finally, I was very pleased to be in Parliament and able to attend the launch of Diabetes UK. There are now over 4.9 million people living with diabetes in the UK. These people have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic. As well as being at increased risk from coronavirus, many had to shield for over a year and access to care has been severely disrupted. Without the right treatment, support and management, diabetes can cause complications including stroke, heart attacks and sight loss. Urgent action is needed to avoid the serious human and economic costs of diabetes complications.
This is a pivotal moment for diabetes care and prevention; the pandemic has given rise to innovations and new approaches. Now is the moment to capitalise on this progress. This event outlined the ways we can work together to build back a better system of care and prevention for people living with or at risk of diabetes.