In Brecon and Radnor there will be a By- election on the 1st August. The Conservatives, the Welsh Liberal Democrats, The Brexit Party, Welsh Labour, Ukip, and The Official Monster Raving Loony Party have all selected representatives.
The confirmed candidates are:
- The Conservative Party – Chris Davies
- The Welsh Liberal Democrats – Jane Dodds
- The Brexit Party – Des Parkinson
- Welsh Labour – Tomos Davies
- Ukip – Liz Phillips
- The Official Monster Raving Loony Party – Lady Lily The Pink Following discussion, the Trustees and others have worked upon some requests to learn about the views of our prospective parliamentary candidates. The letter is below and as responses come in I will add them here. I have so far been unable to find an email address for the UKIP candidate and will send a letter to their local offices.
——————————————————————————————————-9 July 2019
Dear candidate,I write on behalf of Hay, Brecon and Talgarth Sanctuary for Refugees, a local support group with over 450 members in Brecon and Radnorshire who want to know if you will make a commitment to ensure that your party will work to improve conditions for asylum seekers in the UK, please. I will share this letter and any responses with our members and supporters.In particular we are concerned about the areas below ,1 Right to Work. We are part of the Lift the Ban coalition which campaigns to give people seeking asylum the right to work once they have been here for over 6 months.Currently, many are left to live in poverty, struggling to support themselves and their families, whilst the Government wastes the talents of thousands of people who could contribute to our society by paying tax, reducing the burden on the state, and benefiting local communities up and down this country with their skills.There is no evidence to support the Government’s argument that the right to work would attract more asylum seekers.We are particularly concerned as a man we knew died a year ago when, on his first day of work, his workplace was raided by the immigration service. He had been waiting for over 3 years for his asylum claim to be accepted. Desperation, boredom and poverty may force people to work illegally.
Will you make a commitment to ensure that people seeking asylum are given the right to work?
2. Detention. As things stand, it is Government policy to detain people, who have committed no crime and are seeking safety, for months or even years, often in unpleasant conditions with brutal treatment. In 2018 It cost £108 million [ more than £600 a week for an individual in detention] for immigration detention and 2016–17, there were 143 cases of wrongful detention, for which £3.3m compensation was paid.
This is a matter of great concern to us and many others.
Many are released without being deported but enormous psychological harm is done to these individuals. We know a man who was detained unexpectedly last year and released after a few weeks. He has told us how ill he became whilst in detention – fearing for his life in the event of being deported which he was told several times was going to happen imminently. He had been tortured in his own country and being detained brought back these memories.Will you make a commitment to ensure that in line with the rest of Western Europe the UK has a maximum time limit on immigration detention? Will you commit to ensuring that the use of detention is minimised and subject to Judicial review?3 Destitution. The home office has a duty to ensure that people who require support whilst waiting for a decision upon their asylum claim do not fall into destitution and homelessness. Yet many vulnerable people are being wrongly denied assistance or are waiting unreasonable lengths of time to receive the support they are entitled to. Thankfully voluntary groups like Share Tawe, Share Dydd and Refugees at Home help out.Will you make a commitment to deliver dignity not destitution for people seeking asylum?4 Home office decision making. Handling of immigration matters by the Home Office has become a national scandal. Combined with wrongful policies (especially ‘hostile environment’) there are persistent and systematic errors and inefficiencies and expense.We are all aware of errors such as the deportation of ‘Windrush immigrants ‘, errors in applying immigration law and the asylum process dragging on for many years. An Iranian man we know was finally granted refugee status last week having applied over 10 years ago when he was 16 – such a waste of formative years and skills. The latest reports of errors with fast track also alarm us.
Will you make a commitment to ensure that your party reviews immigration policy and brings the management of the Home Office in line with human rights?
We look forward to your response on these topics. Whilst there are few if any people seeking asylum in our area, there are 3000 in Wales and our group are united in our concern that people fleeing persecution are welcomed and treated with kindness. Will you assure us that if you are elected as our representative you will take these matters forward, please?