Backbench Business — Immigration Detention

Part of Business of the House – in the House of Commons at 1:00 pm on 10th September 2015.

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Photo of Alistair Carmichael Alistair Carmichael Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Home Affairs) 1:00 pm, 10th September 2015

Indeed. I was very struck by the constituent’s email that the hon. Lady read out. It is clear that that lady has significant language difficulties. Nobody in such a situation should be left having to represent themselves before a court or tribunal. These are exactly the sort of people for whom legal aid is designed and is absolutely necessary.

If I could make only one change, it would be in relation to the need for a time limit. In my time as a prosecutor, when we detained somebody or remanded them in custody, they had to be brought to trial within 40 days on a summary complaint or within 110 days on an indictment. Those were very demanding timescales to meet, and it could be very difficult to do so, particularly for complex crimes. However, such people were given priority because they had been deprived of their liberty. If that is how we treat people suspected of a crime, I see no reason why we should treat people seeking refuge any differently.