Clause 185 - Asylum appeal to High Court

Part of Extradition Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:45 pm on 16 January 2003.

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Photo of Mr Nick Hawkins Mr Nick Hawkins Conservative, Surrey Heath 3:45, 16 January 2003

I am seeking reassurance from the Minister on a point that applies to both clauses 185 and 186, so perhaps he could deal with them together.

I was not sure whether the hon. Member for Doncaster, North was rising in his seat to try to catch my eye to intervene, but perhaps not. Given that he was so helpful last time he intervened, supporting our side and not his own, I live in hope.

We are concerned, and I know that the Government are also concerned, that there will be no slowing down of extradition, and that people will be able to appeal at every stage. I refer to the points made by my hon. Friend the Member for Stratford-on-Avon about the length of appeals, and the length of time spent in the courts delaying the extradition of someone who should have been dealt with years ago by the courts of France. I want to ensure that the Government felt that they were toughening up the legislation sufficiently. Certainly I know that the Minister, unlike his fellow Minister, will not be able to accuse the Opposition this time of trying to water down the provisions. We are asking whether this legislation is tough enough, and whether there is still a danger that people will be able to slow things down by concurrently running asylum claims and trying to battle against extradition.

I suspect that this may be an area in which the law is new, and therefore differs from the previous extradition legislation. In this brief stand part debate, will the Minister speak about those matters in relation to this clause and to clause 186, so that I need not raise the same point again on the next clause?