Justice – in the House of Commons on 10th January 2023.
What discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on reducing waiting times for cases in immigration courts.
What discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on reducing waiting times for immigration cases.
We are committed to ensuring faster throughput in immigration and asylum tribunals to support the Government’s priority to combat dangerous small boats crossing the channel.
Does my right hon. Friend agree that the quickest way to end the use of hotels such as those in my constituency as temporary accommodation centres is to speed up the processing of immigration cases and, when cases are rejected by the courts, for the Government to act swiftly to remove failed claimants from the UK?
My hon. Friend is absolutely right. That is part of the solution, and I am working closely with the Home Secretary on that. Our aim, working together, is to eliminate the backlog of people who claimed asylum before June 2022 by the end of this year. We will support the Home Office in delivering that so that we can end the use of hotels by 2024. Part of that is about the throughput, so we are doubling the number of decision makers in tribunals from 1,270 to 2,500. Digital can also play a role. Overall, we are driving forward that process to the ends that she describes.
Further investment in the immigration process is welcome. However, last year we saw a stark increase in the number of people attempting to enter the country illegally in small boats. That is unsafe for those genuinely in need, unfair on those who moved to this country through safe and legal routes and unacceptable for the working people of the UK, including those of Watford, who foot the bill. As one of the Government’s priorities for the new year, will my right hon. Friend set out what practical steps are being considered, including by the Justice Department, to ensure that we have the most effective border in the world by 2025?
My hon. Friend is absolutely right. He will have heard what the Prime Minister said about the five pledges, one of which is to end the small boats coming across illegally. I mentioned what we are doing with the Home Office to get the backlog down in the immigration tribunal. My hon. Friend will know about the Nationality and Borders Act 2022, and the Home Secretary and the Prime Minister have also talked about further measures being brought forward shortly. Of course, the Labour party has opposed every single one of those measures. It is no surprise that, in 2010, the last Labour Government left a record backlog of asylum claims. We are the ones fixing that mess.