Backbench Business — Immigration Detention

Part of Business of the House – in the House of Commons at 11:28 am on 10th September 2015.

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Photo of Paul Blomfield Paul Blomfield Labour, Sheffield Central 11:28 am, 10th September 2015

I do indeed. It underlines the urgency of today’s debate and the need to address the issue. Nobody, especially not the Government, wants to see the immigration detention estate expanding, but without a shift in policy along the lines recommended in the report, it will be an inevitable, deeply distressing and disturbing reality.

The UK is alone in the EU in not having a maximum time limit on detention. That lack of a time limit was a constant theme in the evidence we received during our inquiry and one on which we received some striking testimony. Time and again we were told that detention was worse than prison, because in prison people know when they will get out. As one former detainee said:

“The uncertainty is hard to bear. Your life is in limbo. No one tells you anything about how long you will stay or if you are going to get deported.”

A team leader from the prisons inspectorate told us that the lack of a time limit also encourages poor working.