Backbench Business — Immigration Detention

Part of Business of the House – in the House of Commons at 12:53 pm on 10th September 2015.

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Photo of Mims Davies Mims Davies Conservative, Eastleigh 12:53 pm, 10th September 2015

I thank the hon. Gentleman for his input. I absolutely agree that we should be working to something, but if the casework and the systems are not in place it is very difficult to set a number. It is important that judicial review, which provides a powerful and constant check, remains intense and has clear oversight.

The welfare of those in detention centres is a very serious matter. Under the Labour Government, 1,000 children a year were in prison-like conditions, and I am proud that my party is ending the detention of children for immigration purposes. The number of children entering detention is falling rapidly, but the end cannot come soon enough. These are little people going through a very frightening process in a foreign country.

I welcome this key, enlightening debate and the extra scrutiny this House is giving to the process of detention. A state cannot allow those who break the law to continue to live as though they have not done so. The rule of law depends on us upholding it appropriately.

I absolutely support having a hard look at how to remove and detain people properly, and at the arbitrary timeframe of the 28-day limit, as colleagues have said. We must make sure that those in detention in the UK are treated with respect and dignity. It is right to enforce our laws, but we must work together to act with humanity. This is a scandal waiting to happen: there could be further loss of life if we do not shine a light on this issue.

I agree with other hon. Members that our future handling of such complex cases involving vulnerable people must be balanced by the appropriate and proportionate management of detainees who might simply be here to abuse the system. I am sure that the Minister has taken on board the importance of what hon. Members have said.