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General election 2015

General election 2015

I’m voting Labour today, and I will be spending the day out campaigning for my local candidate, Sarah Sackman.

No party is perfect and the last Labour Government was deeply flawed in many ways, particularly in its approach to asylum issues. I resigned my long standing membership of the party when the odious and now disgraced Phil Woolas was Minister for Immigration because of his revolting attacks on asylum seekers and those who assist them.

The current Labour Party also has its flaws, not least the failure of the current leadership to defend Labour’s record in Government. My reasons for voting Labour despite this are partly based on immigration issues but also on wider issues too:

  1. It is imperative that the Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition is defeated. The Coalition has already done immeasurable damage to the lives of ordinary people in this country. The poor and young are punished while the wealthy and the old are pampered. The North and Scotland are abandoned and the South spoon fed. Ethnic minorities face racism and overt hostility in a bid to ‘bring home’ UKIP supporters. Hard won progress by women is reversed. This is intolerable in a civilised and fair society and there is worse to come if the Coalition parties form another government.
  2. The family migration rules for spouses and elderly parents introduced by the Coalition in 2012 are a betrayal of the very idea of family and, like so many Coalition policies, deliberately discriminate against women, ethnic minorities, the young, the North and Scotland and against the poor. Labour never came close to introducing such rules in government and has pledged to review them.
  3. The Coalition has resettled 143 Syrian refugees, considers Syrian refugees claiming asylum in the UK to be an “abuse” and withdrew funding for search and rescue in the Mediterranean because it was considered a “pull factor”. I lack the words to express my disgust. Labour has pledged support for search and rescue and an improved resettlement scheme.
  4. I’m a lawyer. The Coalition Government has proven to be actively hostile to the rule of law itself. Chris Grayling was a disastrous, ideological and nakedly political Lord Chancellor. In contrast, the current Labour Party and Sadiq Khan at the very least show sympathy for rule of law and legal aid issues.
  5. Labour introduced and defends the Human Rights Act. In contrast, the Conservative Party explicitly pledges to remove rights for travellers, migrants and those abused by the British armed forces. On a fundamental level the Conservatives do not believe in protection for minorities and the vulnerable.

Vote how you feel you can best improve things. For me, that is a vote for the Labour Party.

The views expressed here are those of the author.

Colin Yeo

Immigration and asylum barrister, blogger, writer and consultant at Garden Court Chambers in London and founder and editor of the Free Movement immigration law website.

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