UK politicians have been accused of breaching the trust of their constituents after it was revealed that an immigration enforcement hotline was called 68 times by MPs or their staff in the last year.
Of the 68 calls from MPs, 34 were from Tories, 32 from Labour, one from the Lib Dems, and one from the DUP.
Charities have argued that people should not have to fear their own MPs. They have written to Commons Speaker John Bercow, demanding that lawmakers pledge not to inform on their own constituents.
Of the 107 MPs that have already signed up to the pledge, only one – Heidi Allen – is a Tory.
The stats were unveiled in written questions by Labour MP David Lammy, which also revealed that between September 30, 2012, and May 25, 2018, MPs were responsible for 723 reports to the Home Office over alleged immigration abuses.
The charities that signed the letter indicated that they would advise people not to seek advice from MPs who did not take the pledge, the BBC reports. The letter requests that Bercow raise the issue in the House “at the earliest opportunity and request that party whips instruct their MPs to immediately cease the practice.”
“MPs have a responsibility to advocate for all their constituents, regardless of immigration status,” it states.
“Many migrants are now fearful of contacting their MP, effectively excluding them from democratic representation.”
Akram Salhab, coordinator for Migrants Organize and Global Justice Now, said: “Some have said that they will not report people for immigration enforcement but may do if they have committed a crime. But these are separate issues – if someone has committed a serious crime, they should be reported to the police, not the Home Office.”
One of the MPs who admitted calling the hotline was Conservative MP Christopher Chope.
“I have reported cases of immigration crime on behalf of constituents who have felt their neighbors are engaged in illegal working when they shouldn’t have been in the country,” he told the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire program.
“Home Office policy is very much to ensure that, as far as possible, life is made uncomfortable for those one million illegals, so that they will be encouraged to go back to where they came from rather than be a burden on our public services here,” Chope added.
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