New Clause 7 — Appeal from within United Kingdom

Part of Asylum and Immigration (Treatment of Claimants, Etc.) Bill – in the House of Commons at 9:55 pm on 1st March 2004.

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Photo of David Blunkett David Blunkett The Secretary of State for the Home Department 9:55 pm, 1st March 2004

I beg to move, That the Bill be now read the Third time.

I thank my ministerial colleagues from the Home Office and the Department for Constitutional Affairs, the Whips, all members of the Standing Committee and all hon. Members who participated today. The Bill has been properly and adequately considered. Once we got over using silly words, such as "despicable", about clause 7, we had a sensible debate.

I am pleased that we have amended the Bill to include trafficking offences to deal with forced labour, and tackled important subjects such as child slavery. I thank my hon. Friend Mr. Gerrard, who does not always agree with me, for his work in Committee in drawing attention to that. I am glad that we could make important changes.

Clause 11 has caused controversy and will cause it in another place. It is a classic example, which shows that had people been more modest in their operation of the law and their approach to their job, they would not have cooked the goose that laid the golden egg. I am talking about lawyers who simply abused the judicial review system by dragging out cases for months and, in some instances, years. That is what happens when those who preach liberalism lead us down the wrong path so that those who try to protect human rights and individual interests find that the system has been so abused that we have to remove the golden thread. The legal aid budget has doubled to £174 million. That is public money that has not gone towards asylum seekers or people in the community but into lawyers' pockets. That is a disgrace that is coming to an end.