Clause 13

Part of UK Borders Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 12:15 pm on 13th March 2007.

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Photo of Paul Rowen Paul Rowen Shadow Minister, Transport 12:15 pm, 13th March 2007

We have just agreed that wholesale powers should be given to the Home Secretary to impose penalties for non-compliance with clauses in the Bill. I do not have a problem with that, because the Bill has a particular purpose and job. However, it is important that a code of practice is subject to consultation and also approved by the House. My amendment seeks to pursue the affirmative process, so that the penalties are subject to public consultation before they come into operation and are approved by the House. Without that surety, as has been said earlier, the immigration system comes into disrepute. Concerns about the system have been raised. The Bill helps us on the way to developing our immigration and nationality policies. However, as we are introducing such wide-ranging penalties and appeals—powers that are solely limited to the Home Secretary—we should at least ensure that that code of practice is approved by the affirmative process in this House. I hope that the Minister appreciates the reasons given by both sides of the House as to why that might be a desirable process if the Bill is to operate efficiently and with the credibility that he wants it to have in the wider community.