A rebel group of Tory party members have suggested that the UK visa system should be amended to prevent people with HIV and Hepatitis B from living and working in the country.
Almost 20 Tories backed the amendment to the Immigration Bill that would have required UK visa applicants to prove that they were not HIV positive before being given permission to enter the country. The group have been described as “shameful” and “outrageous” by Aids charities. Deborah Jack, chief executive of the National AIDS Trust, said: “This amendment shows that there remains a shameful lack of understanding about HIV among some of our elected representatives.”
She added: “The UK has for 30 years resisted entry restrictions and to introduce them at this stage would set us squarely against the international trend to overturn such rules.”
Other Conservative MPs have also criticised the proposed amendment, which was introduced by Dr Philip Lee, Conservative MP for Bracknell and a former doctor. Dr Lee said that the amendment was not about “banning anyone”, but rather that it aims to contribute towards “detecting blood-borne virus carriage”.
Dr Lee added: “Individuals who know they’re HIV positive understand the risk of transmission. Those who don’t do not. After detection can come treatment.”
While the amendment caused quite a stir, time restrictions have mean that it as not actually debated or voted on and so will not be included in the Bill when it is put before the House of Lords.