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‘I am extremely concerned about the dog whistle political tactics being used by the Home Secretary when she announced changes to the asylum system for adults recently.

Talking up speedy deportations, talking up the total withdrawal of state support for those who are not granted leave to remain, talking about ‘getting tough’ on so called ‘failed’ asylum seekers is all designed to stir up public anger against some of the most vulnerable people in our communities.

People seeking asylum are already demonised while desperately trying to navigate a complex system. Creating a divide based on how people try to reach safety will further fuel the harassment, violent attacks and hate crimes that people already experience.

I am proud that Newcastle is a City of Sanctuary. We believe that dignity should be the default. Everyone deserves safe and dignified accommodation, enough food and essentials to live, and the right to work and contribute to their community. Our asylum system should offer these basic rights to everyone, regardless of how they arrive.

Ultimately we need traffickers to stop exploiting vulnerable people. We need an end to the conflicts around the world that forces people to flee war zones and oppression. But until then we will do our bit and put our City of Sanctuary values into action.

The Government may have lost its’ moral compass on this issue; Newcastle emphatically has not’