M People’s Heather Small has spoken about the “positive, hard work” immigrants bring to the UK, in a new interview with NME.
Taking part in Does Rock ‘N’ Roll Kill Braincells?!, Small spoke about the time Boris Johnson referenced the lyrics to M People’s 1994 hit ‘Search for the Hero’ while talking about his experience of COVID-19 and subsequent weight loss mission.
Rather than invoice the Prime Minister, Small (whose parents are originally from the Caribbean) saw it as a chance to prove what people from immigrant backgrounds bring to the country.
“At this moment in time, I am of immigrant stock, I’m working class, I’m black, female and if a Conservative prime minister’s going to quote my words, I’ll take it! Everything I am doesn’t sit well with Conservatives all of the time,” she said.
“And if you look at the strict immigration rules they want to put in place, I think to myself: there you are quoting the daughter of an immigrant,” she continued. “We bring something positive, we bring something different, and we bring a lot of hard work that should be acknowledged.”
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There are currently protests about the Conservatives planned Nationality And Borders Bill. Under Clause 9 of the Bill, which is currently being discussed by The House Of Lords, the government no longer has to give notice of decision to deprive a person of citizenship if is not “reasonably practicable”.
While international law says everyone has the right to a nationality and cannot be left stateless, the government says it is possible to remove a person’s citizenship if they have another nationality to fall back on, such as the country where their parents were born.
As well as national security cases, there are other situations in which citizenship can be removed without warning, including maintaining relations with other countries and “in the public interest”.
This has prompted widespread criticism, with Lord Woolley telling The Independent: “This will further exacerbate the reality that millions of British people, many of African, Caribbean and Asian descent, are second-class citizens.”
Barrister Samir Pasha, who specialises in immigration law, told the BBC that the new bill “provides a grey area for the government. ‘’Public interest’ is very general, it allows the government to use it pretty much whenever it suits them to strip somebody of their nationality.”
Immigration minister Tom Pursglove did not define how “public interest” would be used, when asked by the BBC but said the law was “the correct approach to protect the British people”.