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Lords Amendment

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 8:45 pm on 6th November 2002.

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Photo of Lord Moser Lord Moser Crossbench 8:45 pm, 6th November 2002

My Lords, I support the views expressed by the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Portsmouth. I find the clause very disturbing. I speak both from the point of view of my involvement in education and as a successful asylum seeker 66 years ago.

I am conscious that we are talking about a small number of people, but that does not reassure me because they are very important. Even for 10 people it is important that we get it right. I am conscious that we are talking about a transitional group, including people who may not stay, but we should treat them on the supposition that they may stay and get it right from the beginning. If they then do not stay, so be it.

I am not reassured by the constant reference to this being an experiment. If it were not so late in the day I would give the Minister, with the greatest respect, a lecture on what is an experiment. He does not need a lecture from me, but this is not an experiment in any sense that a scientist, social scientist or statistician would accept. An experiment means that you have alternative ways of proceeding; that you have rigorous ways of allocating different victims, or whatever, to those alternative options; and that you have rigorous ways of judging which has succeeded. This is not an experiment. The Government have decided what to do, roughly speaking, and they will then say whether or not it was a success. That is a political view, but this is not an experiment.