THE Scottish Parliament has refused consent for Priti Patel’s “repugnant” Nationality and Borders Bill.

MSPs said the bill would interfere with devolved powers, raises serious concerns over child welfare and could harm efforts to deal with human trafficking.

The vote was welcomed by Sabir Zazai, the chief executive of the Scottish Refugee Council, who said: “Today’s vote in Parliament sent a very clear message – Scotland welcomes refugees.”

The decision comes one week after the Welsh Parliament rejected the Westminster legislation, with the Senedd’s social justice minister Jane Hutt saying that the provisions of the UK Government bill would “fundamentally undermine” that country’s “nation-of-sanctuary vision”.

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A motion by Neil Gray, Scotland’s Minister for Culture, Europe and International Development, stated that the “repugnant” Home Office bill “will damage people living in communities across Scotland and the UK, now and in the future”.

It raised concerns about the proposed creation of a National Age Assessment Board with the authority to use “scientific techniques” to judge the age of young asylum seekers. The reliability of such methods are a matter of question and it’s feared that minors could be wrongly identified as adults.

The motion also opposed proposals for “differential treatment of refugees based on how they arrived rather than their protection needs, measures that criminalise vulnerable people seeking protection, “push-back” provisions that will put lives at sea at risk and open the door for offshore asylum accommodation, and powers to revoke citizenship without notice”.

And it went on to say that the bill – which Patel says will fix a “broken” system, increase fairness and security and reduce so-called pull factors attracting people to the UK – “will not achieve its aims or the change that is needed to ensure that the UK’s asylum and immigration systems are effective, efficient and deliver for people in need of humanitarian protection, according to international human rights obligations”.

However, as in Wales, the vote cannot prevent the passage of the bill, which is now in its latter stages.

Zazai said: “We now call on the Scottish Government to use its powers to their fullest extent to protect the rights and wellbeing of people seeking refugee protection in Scotland, and to find ways to alleviate the worst impacts of this bill. From making sure that the rights of refugees are protected at every possible opportunity in Scottish legislation, notably in the forthcoming Scottish Human Rights Bill, to creating a full and robust system to identify and support victims of trafficking to reviewing several public strategies, there are meaningful practical actions that the Scottish Government can take to ensure Scotland remains a welcoming place for refugees.”

During the debate, Gray said the bill “misdiagnoses” the problems with the asylum and immigration system and will not solve the issue of “incompetent management”. He said pushback plans will risk lives and increased destitution will drive more people to the margins. And he said it would make people more vulnerable to criminal gangs, adding: “Scottish ministers are clear that this bill will impact on Scotland’s devolved competencies in a myriad of ways.”

The Tories argued that the provisions of the bill did not fall within devolved competence, something Gray said was “entirely false”.

Conservative MSP Donald Cameron dismissed the “fire and thunder” from Gray and said the parliament was focused on a legal issue, not a political one.

He said the age team will not be “forced” on local authorities and the scientific age assessments are used in other European countries, hitting out at “flimsy complaints” and accusing the Scottish Government of manufacturing grievance.

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SNP MSP and Social Security and Social Justice committee convener Elena Whitham said after the meeting: “This abhorrent bill will criminalise those seeking refuge in the UK after fleeing the most dangerous conflicts in the world – it is completely grotesque, and I welcome the Scottish Parliament rejecting this piece of legislation.

"We have all heard the harrowing stories of refugees fleeing war and torture by making the dangerous journey across the Channel just to seek safety.

"This Bill would increase that danger as it would close legal and safe routes that allow for family reunion.

“Several dozen charities share the same concerns as the SNP on the Nationality and Borders Bill – it is one of the cruellest to ever come out of the hostile environment policy of the Home Office.”