European Union — Asylum policy should remain under control of the British government — rejected — 29 Nov 2007 at 16:17

The majority No voters rejected an amendment[1] to a motion on a Common European Asylum System. If passed the amendment would have required the House of Commons to recognise that asylum policy "should remain under the control of the British Government." However, it was defeated and as a consequence the original motion was agreed to[2].

In moving the amendment Damian Green MP explains that[3]:

  • 'Since the treaty of Amsterdam, the EU has had the competence to legislate in this field [asylum], but with a British opt-out, or a possibility to opt in—whichever way one wishes to describe it. However, in practice the Government have not chosen to exercise the opt-out on asylum matters, so it has been pointless. The Minister explained that the Government had taken the opportunity to opt out in some immigration matters, in order to preserve the integrity of our borders, as she put it, and they have. But on asylum matters, the Government have always opted in...'

However, Michael Connarty MP thought that the Conservatives were actually agreeing with the government's position[4]:

  • 'I have heard so much about general immigration policy from the Opposition Front Bench that I wondered whether the Conservatives had read the Green Paper or the Government's response before they tabled their amendment. They seem to have tried to push enough in to make the amendment credible. In reality, however, they seem to be agreeing entirely with the Government's submission on the Green Paper. But perhaps they did not read it.'

In the British government's response to the European Commission's Green Paper on a Common European Asylum System, they are broadly in support of the proposals. However, the last line of the British response mentions:

  • 'We believe that... Member States should continue to be responsible for the decision to provide protection to individuals wherever their claims are considered.'

This suggests that ultimately the decision on whether to allow a asylum seeker to stay in a Member State should be taken by that Member State (as opposed to the European Union).


Debate in Parliament | Source |

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Party Summary

Votes by party, red entries are votes against the majority for that party.

What is Tell? '+1 tell' means that in addition one member of that party was a teller for that division lobby.

What are Boths? An MP can vote both aye and no in the same division. The boths page explains this.

What is Turnout? This is measured against the total membership of the party at the time of the vote.

PartyMajority (No)Minority (Aye)BothTurnout
Con0 135 (+2 tell)070.6%
Independent0 1025.0%
Lab249 (+2 tell) 0071.3%
LDem22 0034.9%
PC1 0033.3%
SNP2 0033.3%
Total:274 136066.6%

Rebel Voters - sorted by party

MPs for which their vote in this division differed from the majority vote of their party. You can see all votes in this division, or every eligible MP who could have voted in this division

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no rebellions

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