James O'Brien's moving reaction to Priti Patel's new immigration policy

7 July 2021, 16:12 | Updated: 7 July 2021, 16:16

By Fiona Jones

James O'Brien gives his instant reaction to the Home Office's proposed immigration policy.

The Nationality and Borders Bill, which was unveiled on Tuesday, states that helping an asylum seeker enter the UK will no longer need to be "for gain" in order to be illegal.

With the motive no longer a factor, the offence reads: "A person commits an offence if a) he knowingly facilitates the arrival, or attempted arrival in, or the entry or attempted entry into, the United Kingdom of an individual"

"and b) he knows or has reasonable cause to believe that he individual is an asylum-seeker."

The bill will face detailed scrutiny from MPs and peers later this year.

James reflected that this legislation seems to make it a crime to help asylum seekers - in other words, "looks as if it criminalises the Kindertransport."

Sir Nicholas Winton's Kindertransport was a rescue effort during the Second World War which saved almost 10,000 mostly Jewish children and brought them to safety in the United Kingdom.

James cited the incredibly moving moment on Esther Rantzen's "It's Life" programme, where Sir Nicholas Winton was unknowingly surrounded by a studio of Jewish people - when Ms Rantzen asked the audience whose lives Sir Nicholas had saved, they all stood up.

"Those kids would have died if it wasn't for Nicholas Winton, and what he did was knowingly facilitate their arrival in the United Kingdom, while knowing that those individuals were asylum seekers," James said.

He told listeners he hoped he was wrong, "but it appears to me Priti Patel is in the process of criminalising the Kindertransport.

"It's as if she watched Schindler's List and decided that Oskar Schindler was the bad guy."

LBC approached the Home Office for a statement on whether the Home Office's proposed legislation regarding people who help asylum seekers would have rendered an humanitarian mission like the Kindertransport criminal.

They declined to answer this question.

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