THE GOVERNMENT’S policies on refugees are contrary to Bradford’s values, a local organisation has said.

Bradford City of Sanctuary said the recent Illegal Migration Bill, the Nationality and Borders Act and the UK-Rwanda agreement go against what the district stands for.

As previously reported in the T&A, Bradford Council discussed a motion earlier this month, which criticised the Government’s policies.

The motion referenced policies including the forced deportation to Rwanda and the ‘Stop the Boats’ bill – which will see refugees who come by means deemed by the Government to be unauthorised detained and deported.

They were described as “sickening” and “dystopian” by one councillor, while another added that he thought Gary Lineker was right to criticise the Government.

Bradford City of Sanctuary said it stands by the Council.

“Bradford is a city built on successive waves of migration. Its people have a long history of welcoming people fleeing many of the world’s most brutal and dangerous places,” said the organisation’s chair, Will Sutcliffe.

“We are proud to be nationally recognised as a City of Sanctuary – these laws are contrary to our local values.

“We are very grateful to the Council for standing in solidarity with communities and reflecting these values.”

The Council, which recently achieved the Local Authority of Sanctuary award for its work to support and welcome sanctuary seekers in Bradford, will call on the Government to abandon the UK-Rwanda agreement and build a refugee protection system.

Duncan Wahuho, who himself came to this country as a refugee and is now a coordinator with Bradford Refugee Forum, also thanked the Council.

“As refugees, we continue to suffer trauma from the time we have to flee, at the hands of smugglers and politicians,” he said.

“The Government should stop the hostility and harm being done to a vulnerable community.  

“We thank Bradford Council for taking the steps to recognise the humanity of refugees.”

Meanwhile, the Government has been seeking to defuse a Tory rebellion over the Illegal Migration Bill by agreeing to talks with those wanting to toughen up the controversial proposals.

Immigration minister Robert Jenrick said he would “engage closely” with Tory colleagues to ensure the final Bill “meets the requirements of all on our side of the House”.

A group of right-wing Tory MPs had signalled that it does not go far enough, with some calling for ministers to take the UK out of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) to drive through tighter border controls and prevent them being stifled by the courts.

Mr Jenrick assured MPs he would speak to them about their worries that human rights law could interfere with the legislation.

Speaking during the Bill’s committee stage, he told the Commons: “I am certainly keen to give them an undertaking to engage with them and other colleagues who are interested in these points ahead of report stage of the Bill.

“We are united in our determination that this Bill will be a robust Bill, that it will be able to survive the kind of egregious and vexatious legal challenges that we have seen in the past, and that it will enable us to do the job and to remove illegal immigrants to safe third countries like Rwanda.

“I would add that the Bill has been carefully drafted in collaboration with some of the finest legal minds and we do believe that it enables us to do the job while complying with our international law obligations

“But we are going to engage closely with colleagues and ensure that the final Bill meets the requirements of all on our side of the House.”