Speaking for Ourselves

Main party conference reports

Main party conference reports


 Migrant Voice - Main party conference reports

Party conference season is usually an opportunity for political parties to step away from Parliament, debate the future and present the guiding principles of their plans for the future.

There is much to discuss and digest from the season – but very little on migration, despite the combination of Brexit, the Europewide refugee situation, and a more interconnected world making the issue absolutely central to politics whether local or global.

We were established because we were concerned about the toxic tone and misinformation that characterised the migration debate – but ducking the debate altogether is not a sustainable alternative, and migrant voices must be heard throughout such discussions.

The Prime Minister’s keynote speech did at least contain warm and welcoming words for EU nationals in the UK. Hopefully this will now be backed up by concrete action to safeguard EU nationals’ rights and those of UK citizens in the EU.

Yet beyond that, and a mention of “the challenge of mass migration” at the beginning of the speech, there was a conspicuous absence of migration policy. Elsewhere we were told that secondary legislation on post-Brexit movement will not be ready until next autumn; potentially meaning we won’t have an agreed strategy until the eve of the UK’s departure.

Even the very limited commitments on refugee protection made by the Government were absent.

Opposition parties also lack clarity. Labour Party conference gave a full-throated defence of EU nationals’ rights, and opposition to both the migration cap and the scapegoating and demonization of migrants – all of which are welcome.  

Yet whilst we know what aspects of government policy the official opposition would drop, we are unclear on what they would replace it with. We need to know the details of their approach sooner rather than later.

We have laid out our broad recommendations for a humane, fair migration system in our Alternative Manifesto. As Parliament returns from the conference recess, we will continue to drive migration issues – from family reunion to the plight of undocumented people – up the agenda, and put migrant experiences and voices at the centre of our campaign work.  


Get in touch

Migrant Voice
VAI, 200a Pentonville Road,
N1 9JP

Phone: +44 (0) 207 832 5824
Email: [email protected]

Registered Charity
Number: 1142963 (England and Wales); SC050970 (Scotland)

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