MPs back ‘pardon’ for asylum seekers (update)

In their first debate since the general election, a majority of MPs have backed a ‘general pardon’ for a group of long-term asylum seekers, thought to number around 12,000. The Christian Democrats, Liberals (VVD), anti-immigration PVV and fundamentalist Christian SGP all voted against.

The previous parliament was opposed to giving a blanket right-to-stay for the group, all of whom have been in the country for over five years.
The 150 members of the new Dutch lower house of parliament were sworn in this afternoon – including 70 first-time MPs. Yesterday evening, outgoing MPs, including a number of long-serving members such as Klaas de Vries and Frans Weisglas, said their farewells. Weisglas used the occasion to warn the incoming government about the dangers of losing so many experienced MPs. It was bad for parliament’s collective memory, Weisglas said.

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