Asylum Seekers

Oral Answers to Questions — Advocate-General – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 6th November 2001.

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Photo of Anne McIntosh Anne McIntosh Shadow Spokesperson (Culture, Media and Sport) 2:30 pm, 6th November 2001

What recent advice she has given on the application of the Human Rights Act 1998 to asylum cases.

Photo of Dr Lynda Clark Dr Lynda Clark Advocate General for Scotland, Department for Constitutional Affairs, Advocate General for Scotland

I give advice on a range of matters as and when required. I am aware of the Home Secretary's proposals for treatment of asylum seekers and of the need to ensure that their treatment continues to comply with convention rights.

Photo of Anne McIntosh Anne McIntosh Shadow Spokesperson (Culture, Media and Sport)

Is the Advocate-General in a position to tell the House this afternoon what her advice would be in a case in which an application was made for the deportation of a person deemed to be a threat to the security of Scotland, and whether there are any contra-indications in the Human Rights Act that might be invoked in defence?

Photo of Dr Lynda Clark Dr Lynda Clark Advocate General for Scotland, Department for Constitutional Affairs, Advocate General for Scotland

The hon. Lady knows, because I have told her on two occasions, if not three, that Law Officers' advice is always confidential. That was the case under previous Administrations and I see no reason to alter that convention.

Photo of Ms Annabelle Ewing Ms Annabelle Ewing Scottish National Party, Perth

What assessment she has made of the adequacy of legal representation available to asylum seekers in Scotland.

Photo of Dr Lynda Clark Dr Lynda Clark Advocate General for Scotland, Department for Constitutional Affairs, Advocate General for Scotland

Legal aid is a matter devolved to the Scottish Ministers, so the provision of legal representation available to asylum seekers in Scotland is a matter for them.

Photo of Ms Annabelle Ewing Ms Annabelle Ewing Scottish National Party, Perth

I thank the Advocate-General for yet another interesting almost non-answer, but may I point out that whereas the provision of services, and therefore of legal services, to asylum seekers is a devolved matter, policy on asylum seekers is set by the United Kingdom Government? What additional resources will be made available to the Scottish Executive to meet the costs of implementing UK Government policy in that respect?

Photo of Dr Lynda Clark Dr Lynda Clark Advocate General for Scotland, Department for Constitutional Affairs, Advocate General for Scotland

Perhaps the hon. Lady would like to address that matter to the responsible UK Minister. Scottish legal aid is a matter for the Scottish Executive. It is a policy matter and not a matter for me. I am a Law Officer.