UK Borders Bill

Part of the debate – in a Public Bill Committee at 10:45 am on 27th February 2007.

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Photo of Liam Byrne Liam Byrne Minister of State (Home Office) (Immigration, Citizenship and Nationality) 10:45 am, 27th February 2007

I should like to express mild surprise at the pose that Opposition Members are striking. I thought that in previous discussions, we agreed a principle that it was important for Back Benchers to have selectability to table amendments, which may or may not entail calling witnesses. There are a large number of witnesses who could throw further light on our deliberations, not only Migration Watch, whose members are unfortunately out of the country, but organisations such as the CBI, which has a perspective to add, and the east London community organisations that represent migrants’ rights. There is a wide range of others as well.

I would like to pick up on the point made by the hon. Member for Hertsmere. It is important that the Committee has the opportunity to digest the evidence presented to it, as it goes along, and the flexibility and recourse to table amendments to summon additional witnesses. I think that that principle is extremely important and, subject to your guidance, Mr. Illsley, one that is already in place.