Clause 17

Part of UK Borders Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 5:15 pm on 13th March 2007.

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Photo of Damian Green Damian Green Shadow Minister (Home Affairs) 5:15 pm, 13th March 2007

We have no objection to the clause in principle. The aim is to clear up the problem of failed asylum seekers becoming destitute while awaiting their appeal hearings, which is clearly a sensible course of action. My amendment would allow those who have been given permission to appeal out of time to be treated as an asylum seeker, by leaving out paragraph (b). It seeks to add fairness and some degree of justice to the system, because the clause seeks to exclude from the definition of asylum seekers, and therefore from support, those who have permission to appeal out of time.

I am sure that the Minister will treat the amendment as a probing amendment, because I am puzzled as to how it can be the case that the Government can give someone permission to appeal out of time and yet say that, while they are appealing, they are not seeking asylum. On the surface, that seems contradictory; if there is some legal point that lies underneath the surface, I would welcome clarification from the Minister. However, as it stands the clause appears to be slightly contradictory. The state has recognised that the process on the particular individual’s decision is not completely over, although they are clearly, at this stage, on the last knockings of the appeal process. However, as long as they are recognised as being in the appeal process, it seems, on the surface, to be straightforwardly unfair that they should not be recognised as an asylum seeker. As I say, I wait with bated breath for clarification from the Minister as to why that should be, but as it stands the clause seems to be straightforwardly self-contradictory and unfair.