UK Borders Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 3:13 pm on 11th October 2007.

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Photo of Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer Spokesperson in the Lords, Home Affairs 3:13 pm, 11th October 2007

My Lords, it does not look as if we are going to hear from Conservative Benches on this issue, and I am disappointed about that. On Tuesday, the noble Baroness, Lady Carnegy of Lour, who is not in her place, referred to the unfairness of the Guardian leader, which said that it was a shame that Conservative Peers were not going to support the amendment on destitution tabled by my noble friend Lord Avebury, and accused the Guardian of getting it wrong. However, when we voted today, there was no support from the Conservatives, which was disappointing. I would like to have heard what aspects of Conservative policy are preventing them supporting this amendment which is a constructive suggestion. I shall not repeat the cogent arguments that my noble friend and the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Winchester made, but it is important that we air the reasons for the amendment and those for not supporting it, if there are any, as well as hearing from the Minister about why the Government do not want to support it. This is an important amendment because the public perception of asylum seekers is that they come here and live on benefits. During the debate on the destitution amendment, we heard that asylum seekers are not doing that, but we do not allow them to work while they await their voluntary or involuntary removal. In no way can we be said to be being constructive about this at the moment.