Immigration and Asylum

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Home Department – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 8th January 2001.

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Photo of Mrs Barbara Roche Mrs Barbara Roche Minister of State, Home Office 12:00 am, 8th January 2001

The right hon. Lady will recall that it was under the Conservative Administration that asylum applications increased tenfold. As the provisions come into force, she will see an improvement in the general position. By looking closely at the figures, one sees that applications from the most difficult countries, such as Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan, have increased, as has happened in the rest of Europe. However, applications from countries in respect of which many unfounded applications were previously made—including the Czech Republic—are decreasing, because of measures such as those introduced at Oakington and elsewhere.

The right hon. Lady must make clear what she would do. All that we have heard from her is her inhumane and unrealistic proposal to lock up every asylum seeker. The proposal would cost more than £2 billion to establish and would have a running cost of more than £1 billion a year. At the same time, the hon. Member for Ashford (Mr. Green), another Front-Bench Member, opposes a detention centre that we propose to open in Aldington to remove people at the end of the process. As was the case with the right hon. Lady's policy on cannabis, her colleagues and friends do not support her.