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Karen Bradley MP Column 19.12.22

His Majesty The King visited the Palace of Westminster earlier this week to unveil a plaque in Westminster Hall to mark the place of the Lying-in-State of Queen Elizabeth II. Many of you will have seen the other famous plaques which I always point out to constituents who come on one of my coach trips to Parliament.

The King also unveiled a gift from parliamentarians to the late Queen, which marked the occasion of her Platinum Jubilee. The gift - a pair of unique bronze sculptures featuring the heraldic beasts of the United Kingdom – also serve as illuminated beacons, symbolising the guiding light her late Majesty had been to the country, and to Parliament, throughout her reign. Despite the snow and cold weather in Westminster, there was a great show of support for the tribute to the late Queen; a testament to the impact of her 70-year reign and life of dedicated public service.

In the Chamber, during the Prime Minister’s statement on illegal immigration, I raised the issue that illegal immigration and people smuggling, not human trafficking, are global problems that require global solutions. I therefore pressed him to urge the United Nations to make this a topic for the next General Assembly and to introduce an annual Heads of Government conference that focuses on the issue. I am pleased that the Prime Minister responded positively to my suggestion and recognised the importance of legislation such as the Modern Slavery Act which I took through Parliament when in the Home Office.

As Co-Chair of the APPG on Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery I am monitoring developments closely. People smuggling and human trafficking are very distinct and separate crimes and it is important that they are not treated or spoken of as the same thing.


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