The government has left the post of Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner vacant for eight months, and following an unexplained delay, Suella Braverman has scrapped the recruitment process. With no watchdog in place, the government has proposed a law to force the appointment of an anti-slavery watchdog.
The home secretary has announced that a new competition , but no job advert is currently online. This comes after the government has announced plans to introduce new laws targeting Channel migrants, after Rishi Sunak vowed to “significantly raise the threshold someone must meet to be considered a modern slave”. A bill being tabled by the Liberal Democrats on Thursday would introduce safeguards by giving parliament the power to appoint an Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner if the post is left vacant for three months or more.
The party’s home affairs spokesperson, Alistair Carmichael, said change was necessary after “months of Conservative inaction”.
“Yet again, the Conservative’s dithering, delay and broken promises are letting vulnerable people down,” he added.
“By refusing to appoint a new anti-slavery commissioner while cases soar, this government is shutting down scrutiny. It’s a deeply cynical move as they act to weaken protections for modern slavery victims at the very same time.”
Mr Carmichael said it was “time for parliament to take matters into its own hands and appoint a new commissioner without delay”.
The legislation is being introduced as a presentation bill, which is a mechanism unlikely to succeed in becoming law but used as a way of drawing attention to issues requiring change. MPs will not be formally required to debate the bill or vote on it.