French government immigration reform meets fierce crossfire from MPs

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The French government’s proposed legislation to reform immigration and asylum laws has begun its passage through parliament this week, to fierce attacks from opposition MPs of both the Left and the Right. The conservatives, whose policies under their new leader have veered towards the hard-right, claim the bill is little more than soft tinkering of current laws, while the Left denounce an unjustified clampdown on migrants’ rights, a view shared by some among President Macron’s ruling LREM party. Mathilde Mathieu was in parliament to witness the early exchanges of what promises to be a week of inflamed debate.

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Faced with the first significant revolt within the ranks of President Emmanuel Macron’s LREM party, the government has spent weeks fine tuning its proposed new legislation to curb immigration, and to defuse the unease publicly expressed by a number party MPs over the severity of the measures it contains.