The Independent (London) (01.30.2014)
The Independent reported that conservative Members of Parliament (MPs) unsuccessfully proposed amending the government’s immigration bill to give the Home Secretary the power to require that all immigrants prove they were not HIV-positive before being allowed to live in the United Kingdom. Dr. Phillip Lee, Conservative MP for Bracknell, introduced the amendment, which had the backing of several senior Tory MPs, including Graham Brady, chair of the “backbench 1922 committee.” Dr. Sarah Wollaston, another former physician, also supported amending the bill to exclude HIV-positive immigrants.
AIDS organizations and other politicians described the amendment as “shameful” and “outrageous.” Conservative MP Margot James accused the amendment’s sponsors of trying to return the party to the 1980s. Chief Executive of the National AIDS Trust Deborah Jack noted that the amendment indicated some elected representatives did not understand the nature of HIV infection. Jack stated that the United Kingdom had resisted such entry restrictions for 30 years, and the amendment would counter the international trend to overturn such rules.
Lee countered that the amendment aimed to identify HIV infections so HIV-positive people could understand transmission risks. Because of time restrictions, the House of Commons did not debate or vote on the amendment. Therefore, the bill went to the House of Lords for a vote without the amendment.