Clause 16

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 had a good debate this morning, and we have moved forward. I suspect that we will not have the same measure of agreement with regard to clause 16. At first sight it seems inoffensive and small, but its provisions are vital to people’s confidence in the operation of our immigration system. It is about the conditions that the Secretary of State may place on a person who has been granted leave to remain.

We are considering people’s liberty. When a decision has been made that someone has a legitimate right to remain in the country, we may want to place conditions on that right. I am concerned about the open-ended nature of the clause. Amendment No. 128 would insert an important safeguard to ensure that any conditions that the Secretary of State places on someone staying in the country, such as restricting their movement or place of abode, should comply fully with the UK Government’s treaty obligations as set out in the Human Rights Act 1998 and the European convention on human rights and with the obligations that rest with us under the international covenant on civil and political rights. That is important. If the Secretary of State has cause to restrict someone’s movement, there must be clear parameters and it must be stated clearly that the person subject to that curtailment can use those treaties and obligations to argue against the restriction if they feel it unfair and unreasonable.