Clause 27

Part of UK Borders Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:45 pm on 15th March 2007.

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Photo of Damian Green Damian Green Shadow Minister (Home Affairs) 3:45 pm, 15th March 2007

We have been discussing the Council of Europe convention and the Under-Secretary will recognise chunks of it in the amendment, which I hope she will treat as a probing amendment. We simply seek to establish how soon we can sign up and ratify and therefore, more importantly, how soon those who are suffering trafficking into this country can look forward to the protections afforded by the convention.

As I have said, we welcome the fact that the Government have signalled their intention to sign up. If the amendment were agreed, it would insert into the Bill key elements of the convention. That would be a clear statement of intent. The fact that this Bill is before the House at the moment should enable us to enjoy the benefits of signing up to the convention more speedily than might otherwise be the case, as it could be used as a vehicle through which we can do so. Many other European countries have already signed up. I hope that the Under-Secretary will regard the amendment as a gentle and friendly push in a direction in which she wants to move anyway. I shall be interested to know the Government’s proposed time scale for moving from their very welcome declaration of intent to sign up to the convention, to action.