Knowingly Overstaying Limited Leave

Part of Clause 5 – in the House of Commons at 10:30 pm on 4th May 1988.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr Stuart Randall Mr Stuart Randall , Kingston upon Hull West 10:30 pm, 4th May 1988

We welcome the idea of inserting into the legislation the notion that there should not be multiple prosecutions for overstaying. One can justify the argument for that provision from the legal viewpoint. Although I am not a lawyer, I am sure that there are lawyers in the House who understand such matters and who would be able clearly to explain that it is a provision that one would want to make.

Overstaying is done by people intentionally, which is wrong, and sometimes—as we discussed to some considerable extent in Committee—for technical reasons and unintentionally. When one examines clauses 4 and 5 of the Bill, it is clear that the Government's line on overstaying has been harsh and wrong. The appeal procedures, which were perfectly adequate under the existing administrative arrangements, now mean that prosecutions will be brought far more often, because of the new option in the legislation—assuming that it receives Royal Assent.

Overstaying need not necessarily be evil or very bad —although, as with many other things, it can be abused and intentional. For that reason, overstaying is to be condemned, but removing the possibility of multiple prosecutions is to be welcomed.