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Changes in US Immigration Policy

Volume 620: debated on Monday 30 January 2017

Application for emergency debate (Standing Order No. 24)

I seek leave to propose that the House should debate a specific and important matter that should have urgent consideration: the need for repeal of President Trump’s discriminatory, divisive and counterproductive ban on entry to the United States for people from seven predominantly Muslim countries and the indefinite ban placed on Syrian refugees.

I am supported in this application by the hon. Member for Stratford-on-Avon (Nadhim Zahawi) and a number of other hon. Members. This ban has provoked outrage around the world and in our country, and I believe it to be of sufficient urgency and importance to qualify for immediate debate under the Standing Orders of this House. Notwithstanding the statement we have just had, I believe that it is right, given the gravity of the issue, that this House has a proper debate today on these matters, so that Members from across all parties can express their views.

The ban is not an attack on terrorism; it is an attack on those of a particular religious faith: Muslims. It is clearly discriminatory, it represents a repudiation of the 1951 UN Geneva convention on refugees and it will not make the world a safer place—it will make it a more dangerous one. From the exchanges earlier, we can see that there is a host of unanswered questions relating to UK residents who have passports from the countries concerned. Given our close, historical alliance with the United States, it is particularly important that this Parliament speaks up—preferably with one voice—to seek to get this ban revoked. An emergency debate would represent an important opportunity to do this; indeed, it is for an eventuality such as this—a matter of pressing and immediate importance—that the Standing Orders were designed. So I ask you, Mr Speaker, to grant this application under Standing Order No. 24 for an emergency debate.

I have listened carefully to the application from the right hon. Gentleman and I am satisfied that the matter raised by him is proper to be discussed under Standing Order No. 24. Has the right hon. Gentleman the leave of the House? The answer is that he does—that is clear from the evident demonstration of compliance with the requirement of the Standing Order entailing the standing of no fewer than 40 Members.

Application agreed to (not fewer than 40 Members standing in support).

I must advise colleagues that the debate will be held immediately as the first item of public business today. It will last for three hours and will arise on a motion that the House has considered the specified matter set out in the right hon. Gentleman’s application.

The scheduled business for today will take place afterwards and, under Standing Order No. 24(7), may continue for the same time beyond the moment of interruption as that taken by the emergency debate. Obviously, there is no list of speakers because Members were not to know whether such a debate would take place. Therefore, analogous to Report stages in debates on Bills, Members who wish to catch the eye of the Chair should simply stand in order to do so.