Seema Kennedy becomes the
new Immigration Minister

Seema Kennedy, the first MP of Iranian descent in the UK, has been appointed Immigration Minister in Boris Johnson’s government.

Born in Lancashire to an Iranian father and British mother, her family moved to Iran when Seema was a child but returned quickly to Britain during the Islamic revolution. Kennedy started her career as a solicitor before becoming an MP and became under-secretary for the Department of Health in 2015.

The MP for South Ribble, Lancashire voted Remain in the 2016 referendum, but has generally voted against more EU integration and against the automatic right to remain for EU nationals already living in the UK.

Kennedy’s government position is less senior than her predecessor Caroline Nokes. She will be a junior minister who will probably not attend cabinet meetings. Is this a sign that the new Prime Minister wants to distance himself for Theresa May’s harsh stance on immigration? Kennedy herself has consistently voted for stronger enforcement of immigration rules.

Free Movement, the campaign group for migrants, their families, lawyers and judges commented that the new government now contains an Immigration Minister, a Home Secretary and a Chancellor who are children of immigrants or refugees. Does this signal the end of the ‘hostile environment’?

 

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