Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Prime Minister – in the House of Commons at 11:30 am on 3rd May 2006.

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Photo of Tony Blair Tony Blair Prime Minister 11:30 am, 3rd May 2006

I totally understand why my hon. Friend says that. In my view, the fit between immigration, asylum, crime and prisons, on the other hand, is a proper fit. The issue, which is important when we go back over the history, is that part of the problem is the rules that apply to people when they are eligible for deportation. For example, there was the case by the immigration appeal tribunal in the Chindamo case back in 2001, when the Home Office was prevented from considering deportation early in the prison sentence of the foreign national.

If we do not change the rules—it does not matter what structure we have—it will be difficult to do what I am sure the public want, which is to say, "If you come to our country and you are a foreign national, and you commit a crime, you should go back to your own country." That is the real part of the issue. It is absolutely understandable why people raise the issues that they do, but if we look back over the history of this issue, we find that this is a system that has never worked, not for reasons to do with structure in the Home Office but for reasons to do with the system itself.