Part of Business of the House – in the House of Commons at 7:43 pm on 29th April 2009.

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Photo of Phil Woolas Phil Woolas Minister of State (also in the Home Office), Home Office, Minister of State (also in the Home Office), HM Treasury 7:43 pm, 29th April 2009

I am very grateful to the Chairman of the Home Affairs Committee for saying that I agreed to come before the Committee. I did agree to do so, but I suspect that I would not have had a choice if I had not agreed; I would have been there anyway. As I hope he knows, I respect that; I think that Select Committees do a terrific job.

There are implications for other areas of immigration policy—the House can have a debate, but that is a fact, as former immigration Ministers on both sides of the House have recognised—and there are unintended consequences, which is why we took so long, particularly regarding the issue of Commonwealth soldiers. If hon. Members do not think that there would be legal cases in the courts very quickly as a result of an expansion of policy on the Gurkhas, they should reconsider their position. I am grateful to my right hon. Friend, however: we will take the Select Committee very seriously and share our findings with it, as I said in the statement.

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