Knowingly Overstaying Limited Leave

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

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Photo of Diane Abbott Diane Abbott , Hackney North and Stoke Newington 10:30 pm, 4th May 1988

Does my hon. Friend agree that—as with the previous amendment and the clause on polygamous wives—numbers are the essence here? The politics of the Bill has been to conjure up some huge threat to civilisation as we know it, and then call in aid the need of law. Just as there is no evidence of a steep rise in the number of overstayers, a whole clause has been devoted to the apparently world-menacing threat of polygamous wives trying to enter the country. When we inquired in Committee, we were told that an entire clause was devoted to a total of 26 polygamous wives a year. In this and the previous amendment the figures are not an irrelevance; they are central to the politics of the Bill.