Clause 1

Part of UK Borders Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 11:45 am on 6th March 2007.

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Photo of Paul Rowen Paul Rowen Shadow Minister, Transport 11:45 am, 6th March 2007

I believe that the Minister has been genuinely helpful this morning, in outlining what the Departments are planning to do. I look forward to seeing the amendment when we receive it on Thursday, and, based on what he said, I believe that we are moving in the right direction. The consultation with and involvement of a range of organisations, including the independent regulator, is important.

Nevertheless, as the hon. Member for Ashford said, there is an important principle at stake here. All organisations and all laws should be accountable to this House. I would ask hon. Members to look at the problem in the US at the moment with their border police, who are virtually a law unto themselves. Last week, a 19-year-old young man who went over to the US to spend some time with family was summarily arrested and deported back to Britain. If we are to introduce new powers that give immigration officers the powers to stop and detain and to ask questions that, if anybody responds to them inappropriately, can be subject to criminal sanction, then I believe that the code of practice and the framework that we are setting in place need to be subject to some form of recourse to this House. I do not believe that that would be a time-consuming and lengthy process. We do not have these codes of practice. I mentioned earlier our concern that the last three immigration Acts had promised that regulations and codes of practice would be introduced and it did not happen. We have waited since 2001. I believe that if the Bill is to operate successfully and efficiently, those regulations and codes of practice must come back to this House.

Therefore, although I shall withdraw the amendment, I do believe that when we see the Minister’s amendments we may wish to amend them further to ensure that that Parliamentary scrutiny is built in.