Clause 39 - Position where asylum claimed

Part of Extradition Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 10:30 am on 14th January 2003.

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Photo of Mr Nick Hawkins Mr Nick Hawkins Conservative, Surrey Heath 10:30 am, 14th January 2003

Our amendment No. 49 is quite small, and the Liberal Democrat amendment No. 142 is grouped with it. Our amendment would replace the words ''must not'' with the word ''may''. Although it is a small amendment, it has a significance well beyond the small changes to the wording, as often happens in the law.

We suggest that the legislation, rather than stating,

''The person must not be extradited in pursuance of the warrant before the asylum claim is finally determined.''

should say ''may be extradited.'' That reverses the power of the courts.

I shall wait to hear what the Minister says about that, but I believe that it is a potential toughening up of the legislation. There is great concern in the United Kingdom that people can find legal loopholes by which they can stay in the country, when they should not be able to stay. We have repeatedly said that the Bill gives the Government powers that are too draconian, but we believe that, in this instance, there

should be the opportunity to give the Government greater powers. We do not say that the wording of our amendment is perfect, and we will be interested to hear what the Minister has to say about the matter.