In response to the Queen's Speech

Media Statement

In response to the Queen’s Speech:

John Wilkes, Chief Executive of Scottish Refugee Council said: “We are concerned about the tone of the debate surrounding the highly publicised Immigration Bill formally announced in the Queen’s speech today.

“While this bill was one of three major pieces of legislation, many commentators and media outlets claimed the debate around immigration ‘dominated’ the speech when in fact it was referred to more than half way through and summed up in just a few lines.

“Reporting which blows the immigration debate out of proportion is tantamount to scaremongering and there is a danger that we sanction an overly punitive system based more on fear than on logic.

“Many aspects of what is proposed by this bill and other legislation affecting migrants – such as reduced access to legal aid in England and Wales – run counter to the aspirations laid out elsewhere by the Queen to create ‘a fairer society’ in which ‘contribution is rewarded’. 

“We must remember that migrants and refugees – including those behind British icons such as Michel Marks of Marks and Spencer, Charles and Maurice Saatchi of Saatchi and Saatchi and Sir Alec Issigonis, who created the Mini – have been an important part of our society for hundreds of years.

“For Scottish refugees and migrants much of the content of the bill will fall in the jurisdiction of the Scottish Government and we hope they will take fair, just and level headed decisions on these matters rather than merely making knee-jerk reaction policy, goaded by false panic fanned by the rise of the right.” 

Ends

For more information contact Media Officers Pauline Diamond or Karin Goodwin on 0141 223 7927/07850 930418 or email media@scottishrefugeecouncil.org.uk