Backbench Business — Immigration Detention

Part of Business of the House – in the House of Commons at 11:42 am on 10th September 2015.

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Photo of David Burrowes David Burrowes Conservative, Enfield, Southgate 11:42 am, 10th September 2015

That is a good question, and the Minister will have time to find that answer—I hope it will miraculously come to him. My experience is that although there have been challenges on articles 3 grounds, I have not heard of that many findings in recent years. Progress has been made, not least in dealing with mentally ill prisoners, although the situation is not ideal and there is certainly room for improvement.

As the hon. Member for Sheffield Central said, many of these vulnerable people have faced a history of torture, trauma and persecution, only then to find themselves further abused in detention. As we found when we visited the IRCs, there has been improvement in recent years. There has been a change of management and they are doing their best, within the physical structures they are operating in, to improve both conditions and staffing. I note that, and recognise that there has been a response to these judgments and that improvements have been made. What we found on our visits to the IRCs—the Minister has a lot of experience in the justice field, so he will know this, too—is that they are, in essence, prisons with some soft furnishings and some plants. They have now put in more plants and a few more soft furnishings, but structurally and fundamentally that is what we are talking about. We recognise that we do not have a blank piece of paper, but it cannot be right that so many immigrants are detained for so long in prison-like conditions for administrative reasons.