Writing in this week’s Redditch Standard (December 17th), Rachel said:
“I will never understand what is controversial about having full control over our own borders. Our friends in the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, to name just a few, decide who can or can’t live and work in their respective countries. After our exit from the EU, the Government’s Nationality and Borders Bill will put the UK in the same position.
“I am pro-immigration. I believe immigration benefits society, but like the majority of my constituents, I believe there must be limits. It will be the UK that decides who can and who can’t live and work in our country. This will be based on the skills we need.
“The Nationality and Borders Bill, which I have supported on its journey through the House of Commons, will tackle illegal immigration, but also ensure the UK continues its proud record of helping those fleeing persecution, oppression or tyranny from around the world. The Bill is firm but fair.
“I am extremely concerned about the number of migrants crossing the Channel. The most compassionate thing we can do is to stop these boats leaving the French coast in the first place.
“The Government is determined to bring to justice the ruthless criminal people smugglers whose actions endanger lives. The Home Secretary is taking all action possible to stop criminals exploiting vulnerable people.
“The Nationality and Borders Bill includes far-reaching reforms to the asylum system to address many of the underlying factors to deter illegal migration. Measures include a one-stop appeals process; the ability to process claims outside the country; the ability to have differentiation and declare inadmissible to our asylum system those who arrive in the UK having passed through safe countries; and life sentences for people smugglers. People should claim asylum in the first safe country they reach, and nobody needs to flee France in order to be safe.
“This is an issue which far too many Governments have ducked because they’ve been too scared to tackle this issue, but this Government is the one which is overhauling our immigration system. We are being firm, but fair.”