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 beg to move amendment No. 70, in clause 1, page 1, line 11, at end add—

‘(4) After section 11(1)(m) of the Children Act 2004 (c. 31) insert—

“(n) designated immigration officers in England.”’.

We have had a discussion in this section about the powers that we are asking immigration officers to accept. Clause 1 gives them the power to detain foreign nationals and British citizens, and that can include children. The effect of my amendment is quite simple and straightforward. At the moment immigration officers are not subject to the Children Act 2004; they are specifically excluded from it. We believe it is vital for the protection of the officer, as much as for the person that they may come into contact with, that the provisions of the 2004 Act apply. That will ensure that certain checks take place and that certain procedures are followed. At the end of the day, that can only be for the protection of the officer as much as for the person.

It is an important point, which several people who have submitted written evidence have mentioned. I refer Members to the written submission by the Refugee Children’s Consortium, which particularly expressed concern about this. It is a small amendment but an important one. It ensures that immigration officers are subject to the 2004 Act, which in my view can only be a strengthening of their position and something which I hope all hon. Members can support.