Lies, Falsehoods and Misrepresentations from Boris Johnson to Rishi Sunak

‎”If a pregnant woman comes over, she is not going to be removed back to where she came from”

Bob Seely MP, BBC Newsnight

Facts

Whilst discussing the Illegal Migration Bill, Conservative MP Bob Seely stated that “If a pregnant woman comes over, she is not going to be removed back to where she came from if there are potential health implications to her and her child”. 

When challenged on this statement, Seely explained that in the Bill, the Secretary of State has power to make provision for “exceptional cases.”

When Bob Seely went on Newsnight there were no specific exceptions in the Bill for pregnant women who arrive in the UK.

The 2016 Immigration Act states that pregnant women may not be detained for longer than 72 hours. The 2023 Illegal Migration Bill did not, at the time, contain this provision. 

The 2023 bill did prevent removal in the case of “exceptional circumstances”, but these circumstances were limited, and clause 5(1) outlined that there was no obligation for this to be interpreted in line with the Human Rights Act.

Later on, an amendment was passed meaning that the 72-hour limitation from the 2016 Immigration Act was applied to the 2023 Immigration Act. This amendment was put forward by the House of Lords. 

Verdict

Seely’s comment was misleading. Far from protecting pregnant women, the new Illegal Migration Bill stripped pregnant women of essential protection, though this was later overturned in the House of Lords.  

We emailed Bob Seely’s parliamentary office offering him the chance to respond. The email was received, but no reply. 

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