Clause 17

Part of UK Borders Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 5:30 pm on 13th March 2007.

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Photo of Paul Rowen Paul Rowen Shadow Minister, Transport 5:30 pm, 13th March 2007

The hon. Gentleman makes a fair point about the extent to which people might have been involved in the system but, with respect, that is part of the problem. As such people have been here for so long, rather than ensure a speedy removal, the Government resort to the quite inhuman tactic of trying to get people removed by forcing them into destitution.

If such people were arrested by an immigration officer and steps were taken to remove them speedily, the argument might have some validity. In my surgery, I have told people bluntly that they have exhausted the system and have no right to remain in the country. That might well be upsetting and worrying for those people, but unfortunately I am only one Member of Parliament and cannot change the law for particular cases, so I have told them that they should be removed.  That would be fine if they were speedily removed from the system when a decision is taken.

Generally, this country has high international standards in how we treat people, and a reputation for and record of sympathy to asylum seekers. I object because the tactic—it must be nothing other than that—of using destitution as a means to try and force people back—