Foreign National Offenders (Exclusion from the United Kingdom) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:19 pm on 6th March 2015.

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Photo of James Brokenshire James Brokenshire Minister of State (Home Office) (Security and Immigration) 1:19 pm, 6th March 2015

Clearly, a distinction is drawn in existing law between EU and non-EU, or EEA and non-EEA—my hon. Friend understands that—and we must therefore consider our current obligations. He will have a different view about the overarching relationship with the EU, and that is a broader and bigger debate of which this Bill is part. I know the clear views he has expounded and will continue to expound, and I appreciate and recognise that.

Over the past year the Government have focused on increasing the volume and pace of deportation of EU national offenders, in some ways recognising some of my hon. Friend’s points. For example, in July 2014, to coincide with changes introduced through the Immigration Act 2014 for non-EEA nationals, we amended EEA regulations so that for the first time an appeal against a deportation decision no longer automatically suspends the removal of an EEA offender. The Government recognise the distinctions drawn in international obligation and existing law, and we are making changes that respect and recognise that. Yes, those changes are also obligations, but where we have made changes on one side, we have sought to do so on the other side as well, and I would point to that example. As a result of those changes, EEA national offenders can be removed back to their national member state where there is no risk of serious irreversible harm before the conclusion of the appeal process. That concept of being able to remove someone and not have to wait for an appeal has been reflected on the EEA side as well as the non-EEA side.