Lord Carlile hands over chair to focus on Illegal Migration Bill

By Lord Carlile CBE KC

15 May 2023

It has been a great honour to chair the Commission on the Integration of Refugees over the last eight months.  I have now taken the difficult decision to step back from this role to focus on my work as a parliamentarian and participate fully in the legislative process of the Illegal Migration Bill.

I continue to strongly support the existence, continuation and purposes of the Commission and am proud to continue as a Commissioner.  

Since I became chair, we have witnessed the slow and painful gestation of the Illegal Migration Bill, which contains provisions which in all conscience I cannot stand by and watch without participation. 

Whilst it is with regret that I hand over the role, it is crucial to the process that the chair is politically independent throughout – neither party-political nor involved in the controversies of any current legislation. I feel that it is now necessary for a non-parliamentarian to take the chair to ensure this approach can be upheld.  

It is a great pleasure to welcome Dr Ed Kessler as the new chair.  He has played a pivotal part in the Commission since its inception as its founder, chair of the steering group and a commissioner.

When I agreed to chair the Commission, I saw its role to be that of a non-governmental body of high standing, founded in the ethical matrix of the Woolf Institute. It has brought together people with a remarkable range of backgrounds, a variety of views, and some extraordinarily valuable lived experience. 

I have been gratified at the progress towards cooperation and consensus and look forward to working alongside my fellow commissioners to further this goal and find practical solutions to support integration and community for refugees across the UK.

Read the Commission’s first publication now for more information.