MPs representing Glasgow constituencies have united to condemn the Home Office for a botched study into the impact of COVID-19 on asylum seekers.
In a meeting with Glasgow MPs today, a senior civil servant at the Home Office told MPs the UK government department would “evaluate” the impact of the virus on asylum seekers - falling far short of the politicians’ calls for an inquiry. The MPs had expected to contribute the experiences of their constituents as part of a report - instead, the Home Office refused to confirm if MPs would see the report, let alone discuss it publicly, leading the MPs to pause their engagement in the process.
In a joint statement, the MPs voiced a lack of confidence in the Home Office and reiterated their calls for a full, independent investigation - rather than an internal evaluation - into the impact of COVID-19 on asylum seekers.
Following the meeting, Chris Stephens MP, Alison Thewliss MP, Carol Monaghan MP, Anne McLaughlin MP, Stewart McDonald MP, Patrick Grady MP and David Linden MP said:
“It is becoming increasingly difficult to engage with the Home Office in good faith. To be blunt, we have no confidence in the UK government to take action for asylum seekers if they won’t even properly investigate what the problems are or publish their evaluation.
“Asylum seekers are already reporting that they feel intimidated to speak out without a representative present. Measures must be taken so they have confidence that their individual cases are not jeopardised.
“Offering piecemeal internal assessments completely misses the mark - and does a huge disservice to those who need constructive and meaningful action. The Home Office cannot continue to dodge scrutiny on this.
“UK government departments have a habit of hiding behind corporate language rather than taking decisive action. At the heart of this matter is people - and the Tory government simply cannot ignore the devastating impact that this virus has had on asylum seekers in particular.
“We call on the Home Office to see sense and commit to a full, independent investigation, outline their process and to ensure their findings are shared with Glasgow City Council and the Scottish Government.”