The Petitions Committee, the Parliamentary body in charge of the UK’s online petition system, has demanded the British government re-write their response to a recent petition on the UN migration pact.
The petition, which has over 126,000 signatures at the time of writing, simply demanded that the UK should not agree to the UN’s Global Compact on Migration. “The UN’s Intergovernmental Conference will be held in Marrakech, Morocco on 10 and 11 December 2018. Like Hungary, the UK should not sign”, it reads.
Late Friday night, in an email sent out to signers of the petition, the Petitions Committee requested a “revised response” from the government:
The Petitions Committee (the group of MPs who oversee the petitions system) met recently and considered the Government’s response to this petition. They felt that the response did not directly address the request of petition and have therefore written back to the Government to ask them to provide a revised response.
Only 12 out of the 235 petitions on the website with government responses, including this petition, have been subject to revised responses. This works out to a rate of only 5%. Furthermore, this is only the 2nd petition to have not been given a reason why the response needed to be changed, making this an even rarer occurrence. Past demands from the Committee ask the government to clarify certain points, such as exactly why a referendum on the issue is not needed, or requesting that the specific point of the petition be addressed.
The government has already written a lengthy response explaining their reasoning, arguing that it does not create a human right to migrate or force unrestricted immigration on nation states. It is therefore unclear exactly what the Committee wishes to see changed.
The Global Compact for Safe Orderly Migration was designed by the UN to regulate and harmonise the world’s approach to refugees. It includes 23 “objectives” to better define the rights of people fleeing their home countries. It has sparked outrage across the world, with multiple countries already pulling out of it, including: Australia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Bulgaria. The United States was never party to the pact, with President Trump refusing to sign it back in 2017, rejecting it for creating a global order with “no borders [where] everyone can come in”. Legal professionals have stated that whilst the act does not mandate laws, it does create a legal framework for future legislation to be drawn up; lawyers will be able to interpret this on a national level in future.
On Monday, the UK government signed the compact, with the British representative praising it for supposedly tackling illegal migration. The government was slammed by anti-migration campaigners, such as Migration Watch UK, for not obeying their manifesto commitments to reduce immigration:
The Government committed, 3 times in election manifestos, to reduce immigration by a lot (a goal supported by 73% of the public according to one poll). How is signing a Compact which binds the UK into 'enhanc[ing] the availability… of [migration] pathways' compatible with that?— Migration Watch UK (@MigrationWatch) December 11, 2018
Sabre’s Edge will update this story if further information regarding the Petitions Committee’s decision is revealed.