Immigration and Social Security Co-Ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:29 pm on 28th January 2019.

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Photo of Diane Abbott Diane Abbott Shadow Home Secretary 5:29 pm, 28th January 2019

I am loth to disagree with the Father of the House, but he will be aware—more than any other Member, because he has been here longer—that this is not the end of our deliberations on the Bill. As has happened many times before, we will see how it is amended in Committee before we take a decision on how we vote on Third Reading, which will be the end of the deliberations.

One thing we hope will be addressed when the Bill goes into Committee is indefinite administrative detention. I was a Member of Parliament when immigration detention as we now know it was introduced. When some of us queried the lack of due process surrounding it, we were told not to concern ourselves because people would be detained for only short periods immediately prior to being deported. Now we have a monstrous system where people are held in administrative detention for a year or more. Ministers insist that detention is not indefinite, but if someone is in a detention centre, cut off from their friends and family, with no idea when they will be released, it certainly feels like indefinite detention to them.

It has long been my view that we should end indefinite detention, and the Labour party’s commitment to ending it was set out clearly in the 2017 manifesto. I welcome the fact that Members on both sides of the House are coming round to that point of view. One can only hope that the Bill is amended along those lines in Committee.