Clause 9

Part of UK Borders Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 11:45 am on 13th March 2007.

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Photo of Damian Green Damian Green Shadow Minister (Home Affairs) 11:45 am, 13th March 2007

Absolutely. Their loss is the Westminster Parliament’s gain.

Amendment No. 4 and my amendment No. 63 and consequential amendment No. 64 seek to do similar things in proposing to alter the maximum level offine. The Minister had kind words to say about the helpfulness of the previous amendments on clause 8. Amendment No. 63 is also designed to make the Bill more flexible. If the Government’s current proposal stood, the Secretary of State would constantly have to review the appropriateness or otherwise of the £1,000 fine in this area and with regard to this legislation. Immigration Bills, like buses, come along regularly under this Government, but we cannot always assume that that will be the case. The inflexibility of a  straightforward fine seems to us less sensible than simply putting the maximum fine on level 3 of the standard scale, which would also have the small but significant benefit of bringing the penalties in the Bill into line with other offences and legislation where the standard scale is used. As I said, amendment No. 63 is designed to help the Minister.

Amendment No. 64 would remove reference to the Secretary of State’s decision in relation to appeals held in court. Since amendment No. 66 has not been selected, the amendment sits slightly oddly on its own, but I am sure that we will be able to return to it, perhaps in a debate on clause 10.

I hope that the Minister will take amendment No. 63 in the intended spirit, which is to make the Bill more flexible and possibly in some small way reduce the burden of future legislation that the House has to pass.