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Protesters to picket South Shields MP office over plans to deal with asylum seekers and migrants

South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck.
South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck.

South Shields’ MP says she’s stunned that her surgery is due to be picketed by a support group for asylum seekers and migrants.

Members of the Migration and Asylum Justice Forum (MAJF) say they will be picketing Emma Lewell-Buck’s surgery at Ocean Road Community Centre, in South Shields, at 2.30pm tomorrow.

Protesters say the action is because of Mrs Lewell-Buck’s involvement with the Immigration Bill 2015-16. She sat in on its public committee.

The bill includes measures such as making it a criminal offence for landlords to rent to anyone who does not have the ‘right to rent’ – with up to five years in prison.

Those driving while a migrant without papers could spend up to six months in prison and/or receive an unlimited fine and support – including accommodation – will be withdrawn entirely for families whose asylum claims are refused

Mrs Lewell-Buck says she‘s confused as to why she’s been targeted as she voted against the bill at its second reading and will be voting against it at its final reading next month.

She said: “I am astonished that the (MAJF) have chosen to picket the surgery of an MP who voted against the bill at second reading, worked incredibly hard to make changes to the bill at committee stage, and will vote against it at its third and final reading.

“Essentially, what the forum are asking for is exactly what I and my Labour colleagues are pressuring the Government for and will continue to pressure the Government for.”

Mrs Lewell-Buck has also said she’d prefer it if forum members organised a proper meeting with her.

A forum spokesman said: “The committee finished its assessment of the bill on November 17 and it will now pass through the reports stage and third reading in the House of Commons on December 2.

“Unlike the Labour Party, our position is that the bill is fundamentally racist – through and through – and as such no amendment will do. It needs to be scrapped in its entirety.”