Asylum and Immigration (Treatment of Claimants, etc.) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 3:45 pm on 6th July 2004.

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Photo of Lord Avebury Lord Avebury Shadow Minister, Foreign & Commonwealth Affairs 3:45 pm, 6th July 2004

My Lords, as my noble friend Lord Russell has been mentioned, I draw attention to the fact that he moved an amendment on the clause in the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Bill on 24 October 2002. The matter was taken up by the Joint Committee on Human Rights, which in its 23rd report of Session 2001–02, HL paper 176, concluded that there was a significant risk that the new clause would lead to a violation of Article 11.1 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. There was a threat of violation of Articles 3 and/or 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

It is worth reminding ourselves of that exchange in October 2002, because we frequently refer to the JCHR. There are always good reasons why the Minister of the day rejects its findings, but it is our watchdog in the matter of human rights. We should pay a little more attention to what it says, otherwise there will be more cases in which the Government have to answer to the Court of Appeal, like the one that we are discussing at the moment. If we had paid attention to my noble friend Lord Russell and to the JCHR then, we would not be faced with the difficulties that the Government have encountered with Section 55 in the Court of Appeal.