Clause 6

Part of UK Borders Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 4:00 pm on 8th March 2007.

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Photo of Damian Green Damian Green Shadow Minister (Home Affairs) 4:00 pm, 8th March 2007

What the Minister said was breathtaking. The dismissive way in which he said he was not going to negotiate the rules he wants to impose on the British people in Committees was the absolute quintessence of Ministers who have been in power for  too long. He constantly argues that foreign nationals who will be living in this country will be of benefit to this country, in many cases, rightly so. However, what he does not want is any level of parliamentary scrutiny; he completely dismissed the idea that there might, outside the Executive, be any helpful advice to be given, not to reject outright what he wants to do but even to amend it. His argument is breathtaking; everything springs from his head so perfect that it is not possible for a Member of Parliament to table any amendment that he would even be prepared to consider.

I beg the Minister to read the Hansard report of what he has just said, because it is an extraordinarily and uncharacteristically arrogant claim that in no circumstances can any amendment of the regulations that he proposes as a result of the Bill be permitted even to be discussed. We do not seek to include any new parliamentary scrutiny that has not happened before on other Bills; we simply propose that the regulations that spring from this clause should be amendable by Parliament. That is not a very large claim for a Parliament to make, and he has dismissed it out of hand as getting in the way of what he wants to do. In the circumstances, I will seek to press the amendment to a Division, and I urge the Committee to support it.