Clause 16

Part of UK Borders Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 4:45 pm on 13th March 2007.

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Photo of Damian Green Damian Green Shadow Minister (Home Affairs) 4:45 pm, 13th March 2007

I am feeling particularly generous this afternoon. I suspect that if they had wanted to, they would have found other means of imposing their will on such people. Indeed, with the vote coming up tomorrow, I suspect that they would end up using those means against their own colleagues.

There is a serious point here. We have seen a notorious example in recent times of function creep in some serious legislation. It is worth the Committee pausing to consider whether we are giving too much power to Governments and laying ourselves wide open to the possibility of the legislation being used against people in ways that Ministers explicitly tell us that they do not intend now. We can see that happening and we should not allow it to happen. We should pass properly defined legislation that aims at specific targets, does what it is intended to do and does not allow these Ministers or any future group of Ministers to do things that the Committee cannot possibly anticipate. On those grounds, I regret that the Minister has found herself unable to accept any of this group of amendments. I know that you feel that we have discussed the issues sufficiently fully not to have a debate on clause stand part, Mr. Amess, but I urge my hon. Friends to vote against the clause.