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Refugees' Rights of Appeal

Order of the Day – in the House of Commons at 6:30 pm on 16th February 1988.

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`At the end of section 13(3) of the Immigration Act 1971 there shall be inserted the following subsection—(3A) The limitation in subsection (3) above on the exercise of the right of appeal against refusal of entry shall not apply in any case in which a person is to be removed to a country where he claims to have a well-founded fear of persecution on grounds of race, religion, nationality, membership of a social group of political opinion.".'.—[Mr. Hattersley.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

Photo of Mr Roy Hattersley Mr Roy Hattersley , Birmingham Sparkbrook

I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time.

This new clause aims to deal explicitly and specifically with the need to establish an appeals procedure which will protect entrants to Britain who claim political asylum. The removal and reduction of rights of appeal in other circumstances were debated a moment ago, and no doubt my hon. Friends will wish to turn again to the general subject of appeal when we come, as I hope we shortly will, to Third Reading. They will want to debate appeal procedures as restricted by clauses 4 and 5.

The new clause deals with a point which is narrow, but nevertheless crucial in terms of the operation of immigration control. It seeks to meet an obvious need—the protection of asylum seekers from arbitrary removal to the country in which they fear persecution.

At present, the right of asylum seekers is exercisable only after removal. For some refugees — for example, Tamils returned to parts of Sir Lanka or opponents of the Khomeini regime returned to Iran — an appeal after return is obviously too late. Indeed, it is only necessary to describe the proposal of the immigration officer to see that the procedure is clearly absurd. The officer would say, "You claim to be an opponent of the regime. You claim to be in danger of your life. You have supplied insufficient evidence to convince me of that contention. Therefore, return to the country in which you say that your life is in danger and appeal from there."

The defence of the Home Office against the absurdity of the present situation falls under two headings. First, it states that there will be a referral procedure under which some asylum seekers will be examined by the United Kingdom Immigrants Advisory Service. Secondly, it states that a full and automatic appeal system—appeal by right while in the United Kingdom—would produce a flood of applications, and, by implication, the Home Office means a flood of bogus applications.

If the Minister of State is to reply to the debate, he might do so with more capacity if he listened to the proposal. On 11 February, the Home Secretary said that there might be as many as 800,000 appeals—as many as there are currently in the appeals procedure of West Germany—if an automatic system were introduced. The fear of flooding which, in all circumstances, is an unhappy expression, is clearly nonsense.

Before the Immigration (Carriers' Liability) Act 1987 came into operation, the total number of applications for asylum in Great Britain was about 4,000. Clearly, carriers' liability will considerably reduce that number. As a continuation of our long and honourable tradition of helping refugees and supporting applicants for asylum, the burdens on the system, which our proposed appeal procedure would certainly create, could easily be borne by the Government and the Home Office.

The referral procedure is clearly inadequate. At best, it provides access to legal representation and advice about how to proceed with the appeal. More important, it is available only to those appellants who obtain permission from the Home Office to go through that process. The objective of an appeals system is that it should be independent, not least to avoid the political bias which, in part, is bound to creep into the application of asylum laws.

The new clause would allow the setting up of a procedure which was independent and quick. Under our proposal, a tribunal would be able, almost immediately, to uphold a Home Office decision, in which case the man or woman would be returned to the place from which he or she had come; or to overturn that decision, in which case he or she would be allowed to remain in the United Kingdom. If the claim was complicated and uncertain, the Home Office could call for a more detailed examination of the full merits of the case and of the justification for a fuller appeal.

The provision of such a system would be wholly in line with the traditional attitude taken by this country towards those who have applied to come here because they are being persecuted and their lives are put in danger by the regimes under which they suffer. Such a system would avoid the many bad decisions in respect of asylum which have occurred in the recent past. It would enhance Britain's reputation in the world. I hope that the Minister of State will tell me that, as it is such a modest proposal, the Government are prepared to accept it.

Photo of Mr Stuart Holland Mr Stuart Holland , Vauxhall

Under present legislation, anyone who arrives in the United Kingdom without a valid visa can be refused leave to enter, without access to the immigration appeals authority. A right of appeal is exercisable only after removal.

There is widespread concern that that situation violates basic natural justice. All the organisations concerned with the protection of refugees are calling for a right of appeal to be exercisable before removal. As the Minister is well aware, that is the basic policy of both the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and of the British Refugee Council and its member agencies.

I support the new clause. A review board would provide a quick and independent review of decisions to refuse asylum. I share the view of my right hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley) that the West German situation is quite exceptional, partly because the reference in the Grundgesetz, or basic law of West Germany, to appeal rights is itself exceptional, and partly because of the division of Germany into the Federal Republic and the Democratic Republic.

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A review board and review procedure could help, especially in the kind of cases on which I have recently made representations and of which I know the Minister is aware. The danger is that, without such a procedure, representations by Members of Parliament may not succeed in securing natural justice for asylum seekers in this country.

The Minister of State is well aware that a few weeks ago I made representations on behalf of two Iraqi Kurds, that I did so on a Saturday afternoon and that I gained an assurance that my representations would be accepted. In this very tragic case, early on the Monday morning the couple concerned were removed from this country back to Yugoslavia, which had been the intermediate point of transfer for them on their way to this country.

The position was unsatisfactory on the following grounds. A Minister of State in the Department works with officials who cannot necessarily be fully apprised of the details of cases in claims of political asylum in the very short time in which those claims are frequently rejected. It stretches the credibility of the use of the Minister's name in such a case that, when he was not in London, officials should choose to say that he had been able personally to approve the removal of these two persons. I do not want to make political capital out of that; I want simply to say that there are administrative problems. There would be problems for Ministers from parties on either side of the House if this were the basis on which decisions are taken to remove.

In the specific case of removal to which I have referred, because of the lack of a relevant alternative body or a review board to which such matters could be referred, the couple went back to Yugoslavia, where the wife slit her wrists. The United Nations was involved. I made representations to the Yugoslav authorities by telephone, asking that the couple should not be automatically referred back to Iran. The United Nations intervened and declared the couple to have the status of mandate refugees. The mandatory status should be such that the Minister should be able to accept the couple back into the United Kingdom.

It is an on going matter on which I have made yet another representation to the Minister. I trust that he will be able to consider it sympathetically because, without elaborating on that case, yet another case has occurred of Iraqi Kurds. The woman in a different couple has also cut her wrists from fear of being returned and tragically, as I am sure both sides of the House will appreciate, has tried to smother her child. These are cases in which a procedure of individual representations by Members of Parliament is not adequate in addressing the issues.

Photo of Mr Jeremy Hanley Mr Jeremy Hanley , Richmond and Barnes

The hon. Gentleman is setting out details of tragic cases. I hope that the question which I ask him will in no way reduce my horror because of the words that he has uttered. Is it not the case that a refugee should claim refuge in the first country to which he travels after leaving the country where he feels frightened?

Photo of Mr Stuart Holland Mr Stuart Holland , Vauxhall

There is an inadequacy in the present rules and legislation. The fact that in this case the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees gave mandate status to these refugees shows that in his view there were exceptional circumstances which should have resulted in the refugees being able to stay in this country.

Photo of Mr Timothy Renton Mr Timothy Renton , Mid Sussex

I know well the case to which the hon. Gentleman is referring. Doubtless we will be in further communication about it, either by correspondence or by a meeting. If the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees gave these people mandate status, surely that meant specifically that Yugoslavia, which was the safe third country for them—as my hon. Friend the Member for Richmond and Barnes (Mr. Hanley) has just said—as a signatory to the United Nations convention, was bound to give them, as mandate refugees, full consideration of their refugee claim.

Photo of Mr Stuart Holland Mr Stuart Holland , Vauxhall

Although the Yugoslav Government have recently deported several Iraqi Kurds, they have not deported this couple, precisely because of the mandate status. I will move off this case shortly, but surely the most appropriate country for this couple is the United Kingdom, not Yugoslavia.

I should like to refer to the general principle of the new clause proposed by my right hon. Friend, and deal with refugees are escaping from a country. We have been talking about Iraqi Kurds so I shall use them as an example. Iraqi Kurds tend to come out via Turkey or through Iran. A refugee may have great difficulty getting travel documents; he may not have valid documents and he may be at risk of his life, as is the case with many Iraqi Kurds.

In response to the point made by the hon. Member for Richmond and Barnes (Mr. Hanley), such a person does not hang around at the airport to get the optimum flight which would take him to the country of his primary choice, despite the fact that he may speak only, for example, English or French. I submit to the hon. Gentleman that many fewer people in the Middle East speak Serbo-Croat than English. That does not mean that this country has an obligation to accept anyone claiming political refugee status, but it should be possible to have a review procedure which does not depend upon a Member of Parliament responding to a telephone call from an airport at a time —at the weekend as in this case—when officials are not in the Minister's private office.

Cases slip through the cracks and procedures do not always work perfectly. Indeed, in far too many cases, the procedures work very imperfectly. If the new clause were accepted, immigration officers would recognise that in such a new review procedure they had a safety mechanism to which they could refer cases in which there was serious, but not in their view definitive, merit.

I have an anticipation, which I trust is unfounded, that the Minister may not accept the new clause. If that is to prove the case, I hope that nonetheless he will consider seriously this procedure and the terms in which it has been put forward.

Photo of David Winnick David Winnick , Walsall North

I should like to praise the efforts made by my hon. Friend the Member for Vauxhall (Mr. Holland) in his constituency cases. I have read about some of those cases and I am sure that all hon. Members, certainly on this side of the House, have the utmost admiration for the manner in which he has pursued them. It does him credit.

In the new clause, we are dealing with the most sensitive cases. It is difficult to imagine more sensitive cases than those which come before the immigration authorities. This country has a long and honourable tradition, which goes back centuries, as a place of asylum. It would be a bad day for us if that ever ended. We know that in the past many people who have had difficulties under their own regimes have settled here. I hope that the fact that Marx was among them will not be a reason for the Government not to look favourably on the new clause.

Unfortunately, there remain in the latter part of the 20th century far too many tyrannical regimes. The reputation of this country is at stake, as well as the very lives of some people, as my hon. Friend the Member for Vauxhall pointed out. What is vitally important is that no one should be sent back to a country where that person could face persecution or worse on grounds of race, nationality or, in some cases, of politics.

I may be anticipating wrongly what the Minister will say in reply, but I imagine he will tell us that negotiations are taking place between the United Kingdom Immigrants Advisory Service and the Home Office on an agreed procedure. I am aware of those negotiations, as chairman of UKIAS, and I know that considerable progress is being made.

There is a feeling, certainly among organisations dealing with refugees, including the refugee unit of UKIAS, that the agreed procedure being negotiated between the Home Office and UKIAS is not a substitute for an independent review system. That is essential. If the Minister rejects the new clause, as I suspect he will, in my view — I am speaking personally on this matter—it is better to have procedure whereby passengers can be referred to the refugee unit of UKIAS than to have no system at all. I consider that the type of procedure being discussed by the Home Office and UKIAS is not as good as an independent review body.

Again, the Minister is likely to say that, if the new clause were accepted — I am sure that my right hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley) raised this point, although I was not in the Chamber then — we would be flooded out with many thousands of cases. I do not believe that that would be the position. Indeed, before the Immigration (Carriers' Liability) Act 1987 was introduced, fewer than 4,000 applications for asylum were made on average in the United Kingdom each year. That does not suggest that immigration authorities or a review body would be flooded out with cases on a daily or weekly basis.

The other point I wish to make absolutely clear concerns the new clause not being accepted. I hope that it will be accepted, but I am not one of nature's optimists. I see that the Minister is smiling, but I know very well what he will say to the House.

Photo of Keith Vaz Keith Vaz , Leicester East

I cannot believe that.

Photo of David Winnick David Winnick , Walsall North

That is an understandable view, but my hon. Friend the Member for Leicester, East (Mr. Vaz) has not been in the House as long as I have. He has a more optimistic nature than me, but I have known Tories well for so many years that I have become very pessimistic. I am afraid to say that my hon. Friend, in the many years that he will no doubt represent Leicester, East, will probably come to the same view. But, with any luck, we will be in government and the Minister will be in the Conservative Opposition.

In any event, the point that I particularly want to make concerns the new clause not being agreed to. In that event, we hope that a procedure can be agreed between the Home Office and UKIAS, giving an assurance that the right of hon. Members to make representations should not be taken away. I hope that we shall not reach a position where the Minister will say that passengers have been referred to UKIAS and the Home Office has dealt with the recommendations, and therefore there is no reason for Members of Parliament such as my hon. Friend the Member for Vauxhall to make representations.

It is my long-held view that if we are to make representations, which we do almost daily, on both sides of the House, on behalf of our constituents, about housing, social security and other matters, where passengers or their close relatives are making representations to us, those should be dealt with in the same way. We have a right as Members of Parliament to make those representations, and no Government should try to take that away from us.

I hope that the Minister will bear those points very much in mind. What is at stake here, certainly with regard to representations by Members of Parliament, are the very privileges and rights of Members of Parliament. I think that the Minister will find, like some of his predecessors who tried it, not very successfully, that we shall resist all such attempts, as we have done in the past. We have a right to make representations, and we shall continue to make them where we consider it is appropriate.

Photo of Mr Timothy Renton Mr Timothy Renton , Mid Sussex 7:15 pm, 16th February 1988

I thank the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley) and the hon. Members for Vauxhall (Mr. Holland) and for Walsall, North (Mr. Winnick) for the quiet and considerate way in which they supported the new clause. I am sorry that they have all anticipated my speech. I might just say "No" and then sit down. I would have immediate support from the Government Whip.

Nevertheless, I should like to go into these matters a little further. I understand the reasons that led Opposition Members to table the new clause. I understand, too, and share their concern about the cases of those who come here claiming that they are refugees and have a well-founded fear of persecution, in United Nations convention terms, in the country from which they have come, and who are seeking asylum. Those cases must always worry very deeply all of us who become concerned with them. If we accepted the new clause, I should be the person whose work load and burden of anxiety would be most relieved. Clearly the new clause would remove a very great load from the shoulders of the Minister with responsibility for immigration, and would in essence pass the responsibility to an in-country appeal system.

I know, without seeking tears of sympathy from anyone, that in the eight months since I took over responsibility for refugees at the Home Office, one of my major worries has been those very long and complicated files about refugee claims, which come to me virtually every night of the week and every weekend. Clearly, if there were an in-country appeal system, it would relieve much of that burden because we would be putting in an umpire, or arbitrator, to take it over. I had to disagree with the right hon. Member for Sparkbrook, however, when he said that he regarded the new clause as a modest proposal. I fear that it is not modest, for reasons that I shall explain shortly.

Before I deal with that, I shall deal briefly with the case of the Iraqi Kurds that the hon. Member for Vauxhall has raised with me. It has been the subject of much agonising correspondence between us, and 1 use that word on purpose. It is true, as I said when I intervened in the speech by the hon. Member for Vauxhall, that Yugoslavia is a signatory to the United Nations convention. It falls to that country, therefore, to consider their asylum claim under the convention of 1951. There is no reason why those people should be sent to another signatory country, such as the United Kingdom, to make their claim.

The hon. Member for Vauxhall made a very interesting comment, when he added that he thought the United Kingdom was the most appropriate country in which those people's refugee claim should be considered. The hon. Gentleman has much experience in these matters. and he will recognise that if we accepted that principle it would go to the heart of, and destroy, the principles that lie behind the 1951 United Nations convention on the status of refugees. It is an intrinsic part of the convention that the first safe third country to which a refugee goes after leaving his own country is the one that will consider the refugee claim.

Clearly, that goes back in history to the time when the refugee convention was written, and it was essentially dealing with people moving across land frontiers, for example from parts of eastern Europe into Turkey or Germany, or later from Vietnam into Cambodia. Such refugees were moving across land frontiers to get away from an enemy of whom they were fearful and it was thought that the first safe country to which they came should therefore be the one that considered their refugee claim.

The convention including all that detail was written and designed long before the days of 747s and mass travel, which, sad to say—although we have to accept the fact — enable people to be moved about the world by ruthless "travel agents", who take their life savings, give them false passports or visas, and say that they will get them into, say, the United Kingdom or Canada. "There," they say, "you must claim refugee status. Your claim will be considered, and it will take so long to be resolved that in the end you will be able to stay there."

The hon. Member for Vauxhall must think through that point. If we accepted that those who claim refugee status should end up in the most appropriate country for them, it could only add stimulus to what is already a worrying movement—aided by the ruthless travel agents whom I have described. There would be an increased tendency to move around the world people who, for wholly understandable reasons, seek to improve their economic conditions elsewhere, and who are advised that the best way to do that is to claim on arrival that they wish to seek asylum because they are afraid to go back.

Photo of Mr Stuart Holland Mr Stuart Holland , Vauxhall

Clearly, times have changed. The cross-border movements between east and west Europe as well as those from Eastern Europe, to, say, Turkey, have been superseded by jet air travel.

Taking that into account, surely the Minister will recognise that there are appropriate differences which should be taken into account in determining whether someone should stay in one country rather than another —for example, whether that person has relatives here, as well as whether he speaks the language. It may well be the case that we should be looking at the United Nations code, while preserving the crucial principle that, to prevent refugees from being bundled back into the country from which they came, the first country should be the prior country.

Photo of Mr Timothy Renton Mr Timothy Renton , Mid Sussex

When we consider a refugee claim to this country and there is no safe third country, we always take into consideration whether the person has relatives here, particularly if we give exceptional leave to remain.

I sympathise with the hon. Gentleman's wish for a reexamination of the United Nations convention. I do not feel that it is working very well at present. One of the problems is that other countries are not as honourable as we are — I name no names — in living up to their obligations, although they are signatories to the convention.

One of our difficulties is that, because Heathrow is such a major airport and aeroplanes call there in transit throughout the world, it is easy for an immigration service in another country to plant refugees that it does not wish to look after on an aeroplane that will land in transit at Heathrow. While the passengers may be ticketed through from Heathrow, there will be no firm booking. Those are the people who leave the aeroplane at Heathrow and whom we find wandering around terminal 2 or 3. Their passports and air tickets have been destroyed, and it falls to us to consider their refugee claims — although it is clear that they have been in a safe third country on the way.

I fear that, if we open up the UN convention, given the pressures on economic migration throughout the world, it will be extraordinarily difficult to reach a definition of a refugee that is even as satisfactory as the present definition. If the hon. Member for Vauxhall can prove me wrong, I shall be delighted to listen, because I share his view that there are problems in the present convention.

Before I move on to the argument of the right hon. Member for Sparkbrook, let me say to the hon. Member for Walsall, North that I recognise his position as chairman of UKIAS, and I agree that Britain has a long and honourable reputation for looking after refugees. Where we may differ, however, is in my belief that we have nothing to be ashamed of in our present treatment of those seeking refugee status in this country.

It is not only that, over the past eight years, we have given refugee status to some 8,000 people, and have taken 20,000 Vietnamese. We have also given 7,000 exceptional leave to remain. It is a great pity that such organisations as Amnesty International, for which I have a great respect, occasionally put out circulars that give the impression that we are not living up to our obligations. I wholly reject that.

The right hon. Member for Sparkbrook described the new clause as a modest proposal. I do not agree, for the reasons that he himself predicted. It is not, of course, a new proposal; the Sub-Committee on Race Relations and Immigration made such a recommendation in 1985, and the issue has been taken up since by the British Refugee Council and by Amnesty. Each time that it has been raised, we have considered it very carefully.

The basic argument is, as I have said, persuasive. But, as SCORRI recognised—and as the experience of other Western European countries amply demonstrates—the proposed solution carries the potential for considerable abuse. At present, a person who arrives at a United Kingdom port seeking entry and is refused has no in-country right of appeal, unless he has an entry clearance or work permit. In that respect, asylum seekers are in the same position as anyone else who seeks to enter the country. If, however, we were to introduce an in-country right of appeal for asylum seekers, it takes little imagination to guess what would happen.

Some 23,000 people were refused leave to enter the United Kingdom in 1986, the last full year for which statistics are available. If all that they had to do to delay their removal was claim asylum, there is little doubt that many — indeed, probably most — would do so. They would simply say the magic words, "I fear persecution in the country whence I have come" — whether that country was Iran, Iraq or the United States. They would then be within our appeal system immediately, with all that that involves—including lengthy consideration and, it must be said, excessive delays. That certainly seems to be the experience of other European countries.

The right hon. Member for Sparkbrook referred to the West German experience, which is certainly the most dramatic. It may not be entirely typical, as the right hon. Gentleman said, because of the Berlin gap which has now been closed. It is a fact, however, that West Germany has some 800,000 outstanding applications for asylum, of which, from experience, only 8 per cent. of which are likely to prove well-founded. Because of the delays involved, the majority — perhaps as many as 90 per cent. — will ultimately be allowed to remain in West Germany. But it is taking years for their cases to be considered.

I know that full well, because a constituent came to see me about her brother, who was in one of the camps in West Germany and was seeking refugee status in that country. He had already been there for three or four years, and had no prospect of even getting out of the camp or of learning German. My constituent's purpose in coming to see me was simply to ask whether there was any chance of his being able to come to the United Kingdom, because his future in the refugee camp was so bleak and it would take so many years for his claim to be considered.

Photo of Mr Roy Hattersley Mr Roy Hattersley , Birmingham Sparkbrook

The Minister's logic puzzles me. He tells us that Germany is always untypical, and agrees with my contention that there is no comparison. He then goes on to say that our proposals cannot be implemented by comparing what may happen here with what is happening in Germany. That does not make sense to me.

Photo of Mr Timothy Renton Mr Timothy Renton , Mid Sussex

Very well. I will read the statistics for other continental countries.

The same enormous increase has occurred in virtually every other west European country. The total number of asylum seekers in west European countries, including Austria, went up from 92,000 in 1984 to 184,000 in 1986. Denmark is in many ways a much more interesting example than West Germany, because it has no Berlin gap. Denmark introduced an in-country appeal system no different from that pressed on us by Opposition Members. Within a month, 3,000 people applied for asylum there. As a result, Denmark did what a number of other countries are now beginning to do, and introduced a system much closer to ours—in which, I understand, there is no in-country appeal system.

Photo of Mr Max Madden Mr Max Madden , Bradford West

I can understand why the Minister of State is taking so long defending the status quo when I gather that the Home Office is shortly to announce a new referral system for refugees, whereby UKIAS will be the referral agency. I understand that the Minister is quoted extensively in New Society this week as saying that the arrangements have been agreed and that UKIAS will receive additional funding to enable it to carry out that referral work. May we have some information about those arrangements, rather than the tedious defence of that existing situation?

Photo of Mr Timothy Renton Mr Timothy Renton , Mid Sussex 7:30 pm, 16th February 1988

I should like to think that the hon. Gentleman found my defence of the present position extremely conclusive. Whatever the superficial and emotional attractions of the in-country appeal system, we do not want to fall into the same trap and the same pitfalls as some of our western European neighbours, from which they are now having to resile, with all the unhappiness and the inconvenience, not least to the asylum applicants in their own countries, that has occurred from going down the wrong route.

The hon. Member for Bradford, West (Mr. Madden) made a point about IKIAS and I shall come to that in my closing remarks. Unfortunately, I am not like the hon. Gentleman and do not receive my copy of New Society three days early. I do not get it until the weekend, so I have not yet had the benefit of reading what will be written on Wednesday or Thursday of this week.

The right hon. Member for Sparkbrook argued that the scope of his new clause would be limited to those travelling directly from the country in which they fear persecution. I think that the right hon. Gentleman said that it would not be possible for a person to use the safe third country and claim that he feared persecution in that country. That is certainly in the new clause as drafted. Surely that is incorrect, because all that a person would have to do to achieve an in-country right of appeal would be to claim to fear persecution not only in his country of origin, but in whichever country he has travelled from.

Thus, an Afghani, travelling to the United Kingdom via Pakistan, would claim to fear persecution in both Afghanistan and Pakistan and would then have an automatic right to remain in the United Kingdom while his appeal against refusal was heard. Even in cases that are clearly absurd and even abusive — where, for example, the third country was the Netherlands or Sweden—there would be no denying an in-country right of appeal.

Therefore, I am afraid that the new clause would, as I have said, substantially increase the number of applications made at ports in the United Kingdom. It would thus introduce lengthy delays in the determination of such applications and that, frankly, would be to the disadvantage of genuine refugee applicants coming here. I hope that the Opposition Members who have tabled the new clause will, on second thoughts, see its great intrinsic disadvantages.

I return to the point raised by the hon. Members for Walsall, North and for Bradford, West. I accept that some form of independent input in the refugee determination procedure is desirable. That is why I and my officials have been discussing revised referral arrangements with UK LAS and UNHCR, whereby the majority of cases arriving at ports will be referred to UKIAS, which will be able to consider the cases and offer observations on them. They will then be carefully considered and if there is any difference of view between UKIAS and officials in the refugee unit, I shall look into the case personally.

Although that does not go as far as a full appeals procedure, I hope that hon. Members will agree that it will be a useful safeguard. We are not there yet and, contrary to anything that New Society may say, the hon. Member for Walsall, North knows that we have not yet reached full agreement with UKIAS on all the details. 1 understand that a further meeting is planned shortly and, for the reasons that I have stated, I hope that we will reach agreement soon.

Photo of David Winnick David Winnick , Walsall North

I do not want to comment on the negotiations as that would certainly not be in order. However, I should like the Minister to confirm a point that I was making a few moments ago. Does he accept that any agreement reached between UKIAS and the Home Office must not and cannot take away the right of hon. Members to make representations when they consider that that is appropriate?

Photo of Mr Timothy Renton Mr Timothy Renton , Mid Sussex

On Third Reading, I propose to make a few comments about hon. Members' representations, on which Opposition Members have aired their views. I should like to leave the hon. Gentleman's comments until that debate.

Although as I said, the UKIAS procedure is not yet finalised, I hope that that will be so in a matter of a few weeks.

I appreciate that the treatment of refugees is an emotional matter. It is important that all refugees—that is, all those who come here claiming asylum — should have their cases deeply considered, but, for the reasons that I have stated, I do not believe that Opposition Members have thought through the consequences of their new clause. I hope that on consideration they will riot seek to press it to a vote.

Question put, That the clause be read a Second time:—

The House divided: Ayes 207, Noes 263.

Division no.182][7.35pm
Abbott, Ms DianeFraser, John
Allen, GrahamGalbraith, Sam
Anderson, DonaldGarrett, John (Norwich South)
Archer, Rt Hon PeterGarrett, Ted (Wallsend)
Armstrong, HilaryGeorge, Bruce
Ashdown, PaddyGilbert, Rt Hon Dr John
Ashley, Rt Hon JackGolding, Mrs Llin
Ashton, JoeGordon, Mildred
Banks, Tony (Newham NW)Graham, Thomas
Barnes, Harry (Derbyshire NE)Grant, Bernie (Tottenham)
Battle, JohnGriffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)
Beckett, MargaretGriffiths, Win (Bridgend)
Beith, A. J.Grocott, Bruce
Bell, StuartHarman, Ms Harriet
Benn, Rt Hon TonyHattersley, Rt Hon Roy
Bennett, A. F. (D'nt'n & R'dish)Healey, Rt Hon Denis
Bermingham, GeraldHeffer, Eric S.
Bidwell, SydneyHenderson, Doug
Blair, TonyHinchliffe, David
Blunkett, DavidHogg, N. (C'nauld & Kilsyth)
Boyes, RolandHolland, Stuart
Bradley, KeithHome Robertson, John
Brown, Gordon (D'mline E)Hood, Jimmy
Brown, Nicholas (Newcastle E)Howells, Geraint
Brown, Ron (Edinburgh Leith)Hughes, John (Coventry NE)
Bruce, Malcolm (Gordon)Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)
Buchan, NormanHughes, Roy (Newport E)
Buckley, George J.Hughes, Sean (Knowsley S)
Caborn, RichardHughes, Simon (Southwark)
Callaghan, JimIngram, Adam
Campbell, Menzies (Fife NE)Janner, Greville
Campbell, Ron (Blyth Valley)John, Brynmor
Campbell-Savours, D. N.Jones, Barry (Alyn & Deeside)
Canavan, DennisJones, Martyn (Clwyd S W)
Clark, Dr David (S Shields)Lambie, David
Clarke, Tom (Monklands W)Lamond, James
Clay, BobLeadbitter, Ted
Clelland, DavidLeighton, Ron
Clwyd, Mrs AnnLestor, Joan (Eccles)
Cohen, HarryLewis, Terry
Coleman, DonaldLitherland, Robert
Cook, Frank (Stockton N)Livsey, Richard
Cook, Robin (Livingston)Lofthouse, Geoffrey
Corbyn, JeremyMcAllion, John
Cousins, JimMcAvoy, Thomas
Cox, TomMcCartney, Ian
Crowther, StanMacdonald, Calum A.
Cryer, BobMcFall, John
Cummings, JohnMcKay, Allen (Barnsley West)
Cunliffe, LawrenceMcKelvey, William
Cunningham, Dr JohnMcLeish, Henry
Darling, AlistairMcNamara, Kevin
Dewar, DonaldMcTaggart, Bob
Dixon, DonMcWilliam, John
Doran, FrankMadden, Max
Duffy, A. E. P.Mahon, Mrs Alice
Dunnachie, JimmyMarek, Dr John
Dunwoody, Hon Mrs GwynethMarshall, David (Shettleston)
Eadie, AlexanderMarshall, Jim (Leicester S)
Eastham, KenMartin, Michael J. (Springburn)
Evans, John (St Helens N)Martlew, Eric
Ewing, Harry (Falkirk E)Maxton, John
Ewing, Mrs Margaret (Moray)Meacher, Michael
Fatchett, DerekMeale, Alan
Fearn, RonaldMichael, Alun
Field, Frank (Birkenhead)Michie, Bill (Sheffield Heeley)
Fields, Terry (L'pool B G'n)Michie, Mrs Ray (Arg'l & Bute)
Fisher, MarkMillan, Rt Hon Bruce
Flannery, MartinMitchell, Austin (G't Grimsby)
Flynn, PaulMoonie, Dr Lewis
Foot, Rt Hon MichaelMorgan, Rhodri
Foster, DerekMorley, Elliott
Foulkes, GeorgeMorris, Rt Hon A. (W'shawe)
Morris, Rt Hon J. (Aberavon)Skinner, Dennis
Mowlam, MarjorieSmith, Andrew (Oxford E)
Mullin, ChrisSmith, C. (Isl'ton & F'bury)
Murphy, PaulSmith, Rt Hon J. (Monk'ds E)
Nellist, DaveSoley, Clive
Oakes, Rt Hon GordonSpearing, Nigel
O'Neill, MartinSteinberg, Gerry
Orme, Rt Hon StanleyStott, Roger
Parry, RobertStrang, Gavin
Patchett, TerryTaylor, Mrs Ann (Dewsbury)
Pike, Peter L.Taylor, Matthew (Truro)
Powell, Ray (Ogmore)Turner, Dennis
Primarolo, DawnVaz, Keith
Quin, Ms JoyceWall, Pat
Radice, GilesWalley, Joan
Randall, StuartWardell, Gareth (Gower)
Rees, Rt Hon MerlynWareing, Robert N.
Reid, Dr JohnWelsh, Andrew (Angus E)
Richardson, JoWelsh, Michael (Doncaster N)
Roberts, Allan (Bootle)Wigley, Dafydd
Robertson, GeorgeWilliams, Rt Hon Alan
Robinson, GeoffreyWilliams, Alan W. (Carm'then)
Rogers, AllanWilson, Brian
Rooker, JeffWinnick, David
Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)Wise, Mrs Audrey
Rowlands, TedWorthington, Tony
Ruddock, JoanWray, Jimmy
Salmond, AlexYoung, David (Bolton SE)
Sedgemore, Brian
Sheerman, BarryTellers for the Ayes:
Sheldon, Rt Hon RobertMr. Frank Haynes and
Shore, Rt Hon PeterMr. Allen Adams.
Short, Clare
Adley, RobertButcher, John
Aitken, JonathanButler, Chris
Alexander, RichardButterfill, John
Alison, Rt Hon MichaelCarlisle, John, (Luton N)
Amess, DavidCarlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln)
Amos, AlanCarrington, Matthew
Arbuthnot, JamesCarttiss, Michael
Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham)Cash, William
Arnold, Tom (Hazel Grove)Chapman, Sydney
Ashby, DavidClarke, Rt Hon K. (Rushcliffe)
Aspinwall, JackColvin, Michael
Atkins, RobertCoombs, Anthony (Wyre F'rest)
Atkinson, DavidCoombs, Simon (Swindon)
Baker, Rt Hon K. (Mole Valley)Couchman, James
Baker, Nicholas (Dorset N)Currie, Mrs Edwina
Baldry, TonyDavies, Q. (Stamf'd & Spald'g)
Banks, Robert (Harrogate)Devlin, Tim
Batiste, SpencerDorrell, Stephen
Beaumont-Dark, AnthonyDouglas-Hamilton, Lord James
Bellingham, HenryDover, Den
Bendall, VivianDunn, Bob
Bennett, Nicholas (Pembroke)Durant, Tony
Benyon, W.Dykes, Hugh
Bevan, David GilroyEmery, Sir Peter
Biffen, Rt Hon JohnEvans, David (Welwyn Hatf'd)
Blackburn, Dr John G.Fairbairn, Nicholas
Blaker, Rt Hon Sir PeterField, Barry (Isle of Wight)
Body, Sir RichardFinsberg, Sir Geoffrey
Bonsor, Sir NicholasFookes, Miss Janet
Boscawen, Hon RobertForman, Nigel
Boswell, TimForsyth, Michael (Stirling)
Bottomley, PeterForth, Eric
Bowden, Gerald (Dulwich)Fox, Sir Marcus
Braine, Rt Hon Sir BernardFranks, Cecil
Brandon-Bravo, MartinFrench, Douglas
Brazier, JulianGarel-Jones, Tristan
Bright, GrahamGill, Christopher
Brittan, Rt Hon LeonGlyn, Dr Alan
Brown, Michael (Brigg & Cl't's)Goodson-Wickes, Dr Charles
Browne, John (Winchester)Gorman, Mrs Teresa
Bruce, Ian (Dorset South)Gow, Ian
Buchanan-Smith, Rt Hon AlickGower, Sir Raymond
Buck, Sir AntonyGrant, Sir Anthony (CambsSW)
Burns, SimonGreenway, John (Ryedale)
Burt, AlistairGregory, Conal
Griffiths, Sir Eldon (Bury St E')Miller, Hal
Griffiths, Peter (Portsmouth N)Miscampbell, Norman
Grist, IanMitchell, Andrew (Gedling)
Ground, PatrickMitchell, David (Hants NW)
Gummer, Rt Hon John SelwynMoate, Roger
Hamilton, Hon Archie (Epsom)Monro, Sir Hector
Hamilton, Neil (Tatton)Morrison, Hon P (Chester)
Hampson, Dr KeithMoss, Malcolm
Hanley, JeremyMudd, David
Hannam, JohnNeale, Gerrard
Hargreaves, A. (B'ham H'll Gr')Nelson, Anthony
Hargreaves, Ken (Hyndburn)Neubert, Michael
Harris, DavidNewton, Rt Hon Tony
Haselhurst, AlanNicholls, Patrick
Hawkins, ChristopherNicholson, Miss E. (Devon W)
Hayes, JerryOnslow, Rt Hon Cranley
Hayward, RobertOppenheim, Phillip
Heathcoat-Amory, DavidPage, Richard
Heddle, JohnPaice, James
Heseltine, Rt Hon MichaelPatnick, Irvine
Hicks, Robert (Cornwall SE)Pawsey, James
Higgins, Rt Hon Terence L.Peacock, Mrs Elizabeth
Hill, JamesPorter, Barry (Wirral S)
Hind, KennethPrice, Sir David
Hogg, Hon Douglas (Gr'th'm)Raffan, Keith
Holt, RichardRedwood, John
Hordern, Sir PeterRenton, Tim
Howard, MichaelRhys Williams, Sir Brandon
Howarth, Alan (Strat'd-on-A)Riddick, Graham
Howarth, G. (Cannock & B'wd)Ridsdale, Sir Julian
Howell, Rt Hon David (G'dford)Rifkind, Rt Hon Malcolm
Howell, Ralph (North Norfolk)Roberts, Wyn (Conwy)
Hughes, Robert G. (Harrow W)Roe, Mrs Marion
Hunt, David (Wirral W)Rossi, Sir Hugh
Hunter, AndrewRost, Peter
Hurd, Rt Hon DouglasRowe, Andrew
Irvine, MichaelRumbold, Mrs Angela
Irving, CharlesRyder, Richard
Jack, MichaelSackville, Hon Tom
Jackson, RobertSainsbury, Hon Tim
Janman, TimShaw, Sir Giles (Pudsey)
Jessel, TobyShaw, Sir Michael (Scarb')
Johnson Smith, Sir GeoffreyShelton, William (Streatham)
Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N)Shephard, Mrs G. (Norfolk SW)
Kellett-Bowman, Dame ElaineShepherd, Colin (Hereford)
Key, RobertShepherd, Richard (Aldridge)
Kilfedder, JamesShersby, Michael
King, Roger (B'ham N'thfield)Sims, Roger
Kirkhope, TimothySoames, Hon Nicholas
Knapman, RogerSpeed, Keith
Knight, Greg (Derby North)Speller, Tony
Knight, Dame Jill (Edgbaston)Spicer, Sir Jim (Dorset W)
Knowles, MichaelSpicer, Michael (S Worcs)
Knox, DavidSteen, Anthony
Lamont, Rt Hon NormanStern, Michael
Lang, IanStevens, Lewis
Latham, MichaelStewart, Allan (Eastwood)
Leigh, Edward (Gainsbor'gh)Stewart, Andy (Sherwood)
Lester, Jim (Broxtowe)Stokes, John
Lilley, PeterStradling Thomas, Sir John
Lloyd, Sir Ian (Havant)Sumberg, David
Lloyd, Peter (Fareham)Summerson, Hugo
Lord, MichaelTaylor, Ian (Esher)
McCrindle, RobertTaylor, John M (Solihull)
MacKay, Andrew (E Berkshire)Tebbit, Rt Hon Norman
Maclean, DavidTemple-Morris, Peter
McLoughlin, PatrickThompson, Patrick (Norwich N)
McNair-Wilson, M. (Newbury)Townend, John (Bridlington)
McNair-Wilson, P. (New Forest)Tracey, Richard
Major, Rt Hon JohnTrippier, David
Malins, HumfreyTrotter, Neville
Mans, KeithTwinn, Dr Ian
Marland, PaulVaughan, Sir Gerard
Marshall, John (Hendon S)Waddington, Rt Hon David
Martin, David (Portsmouth S)Waldegrave, Hon William
Maude, Hon FrancisWalden, George
Mawhinney, Dr BrianWalker, Bill (T'side North)
Maxwell-Hyslop, RobinWaller, Gary
Mellor, DavidWard, John
Meyer, Sir AnthonyWarren, Kenneth
Watts, JohnWolfson, Mark
Wells, BowenWood, Timothy
Wheeler, JohnWoodcock, Mike
Widdecombe, AnnYoung, Sir George (Acton)
Wiggin, Jerry
Wilkinson, JohnTellers for the Noes:
Wilshire, DavidMr. Mark Lennox-Boyd and
Winterton, Mrs AnnMr. David Lightbown.
Winterton, Nicholas

Question accordingly negatived.