Clause 39 - Inspection of detention facilities

Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 6:30 pm on 25 October 2005.

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Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

Photo of Dame Cheryl Gillan Dame Cheryl Gillan Shadow Secretary of State for Wales

I have four quick points. The clause is designed to regularise the position regarding inspections of establishments currently carried out by Her Majesty’s chief inspector of prisons. As I understand it, what is happening in practice is being enshrined in statute. First, with regard to proposed new subsection (5B)(a), could the Minister provide us with a list of all centres, facilities and arrangements that currently exist in the United Kingdom and that come under these short-term holding facilities or other facilities or arrangements?

Secondly, Her Majesty’s chief inspector of prisons is constantly under-resourced in this area. As the Minister is putting matters on a statutory footing, will he consider what additional resources may be needed by HMCIP? Thirdly, will the National Offender Management Service proposals—for which we are awaiting the draft legislation yet again, because the Government cannot get their act together—affect any of these provisions? Lastly, if we are putting the chief inspector of prisons on a statutory footing, what is the position regarding the prisons ombudsman?

Photo of Tony McNulty Tony McNulty Minister of State (Immigration, Citizenship and Nationality), Home Office

As the hon. Lady suggests, clause 39 simply puts on a statutory footing that which already prevails. On the detailed questions that she asks, I am happy to write to her, but most of our ports have non-residential holding rooms, as do our immigration   service enforcement offices. This measure will cover four residential facilities, at Colnbrook, Manchester airport, Dover and Harwich, but it simply regularises the position that prevails at the moment. The hon. Lady’s questions, albeit interesting, are not a matter for debate today, but as I said, I will happily write to her.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 39 ordered to stand part of the Bill.