Clause 76 - Other grounds of public good

Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 9:45 pm on 21st May 2002.

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Photo of Humfrey Malins Humfrey Malins Conservative, Woking 9:45 pm, 21st May 2002

I beg to move amendment No. 413, in page 39, line 30, leave out paragraph (b).

The clause excludes cases from attracting a right of appeal when the Secretary of State certifies that a person's exclusion from the UK is conducive to the public good. The clause would allow the Executive to stop an appeal in mid-process. It would operate to end an appeal process without the person involved knowing the case against them, let alone having that case assessed independently. Does the Minister agree that that could be thought an unnecessary intrusion into the jurisdiction of the appellate authorities, their independence and the principles of fairness? Will she tell us what consultation, if any, was conducted with the immigration judiciary? Such a clause should not be introduced without prior consultation with the immigration judiciary. Given that such consultation must have taken place, what was the judiciary's opinion? The clause would prevent a matter seized by the appellate authorities from proceeding, and would make something of a dent in the so-called independence of the appellate process, which is under attack.

Photo of Simon Hughes Simon Hughes Shadow Spokesperson (Home Affairs)

The hon. Gentleman and I share two objections to the clause. First, once again, it gives the Executive authority. Secondly, it gives a broad range of definitions where it should give very specific reasons that are similar to those in other legislation. We hope that we can get the clause into a proper state either through the amendment or at a later stage.

Photo of Angela Eagle Angela Eagle Parliamentary Secretary (Home office)

The provision is not new and is rarely used. It is necessary in the very rare cases in which a person arrives in the UK and presents such a danger to the public good that their swift removal is appropriate. The Secretary of State takes those decisions personally, and there must be such a grave threat to the public good that it is important that at his personal direction exclusion or removal can be effected. He certifies that the decision on exclusion or removal is conducive to the public good, or he could direct that such a decision should be made. That is what this is all about.

In answer to the questions of the hon. Member for Woking, the immigration judiciary has had the opportunity to comment on the Bill, and no adverse comment has been made about the provision, which is because it is largely similar to provisions that already exist. The most recent decision on excluding a person that was judicially reviewed—

It being five minutes to Ten o'clock, The Chairman proceeded, pursuant to Sessional Order C [28 June 2001] and the Orders of the Committee [30 April and 9 May 2002], to put forthwith the Question already proposed from the Chair.

Amendment negatived.

The Chairman then proceeded to put forthwith the Questions necessary to dispose of the business to be concluded at that time.

Amendment made: No. 360, in page 39, line 34, at end insert—

'( ) Subsection (2) does not prevent the bringing of an appeal on either or both of the grounds referred to in section 62(1)(b) and (c).'.—[Angela Eagle.]

Clause 76, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.