Clause 28

Part of UK Borders Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 4:15 pm on 15th March 2007.

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Photo of James Clappison James Clappison Conservative, Hertsmere 4:15 pm, 15th March 2007

I am grateful for the hon. Gentleman’s intervention. I said that the public might regard it as a loophole. As I am sure that he will recollect that, at the beginning of my speech in support of the amendments, I mentioned that the Bill is in addition to the provisions in existing legislation. The court recommended the deportation of offenders or a separate power for the Home Secretary to deport someone whose presence in the country is not conducive to the public good. Those provisions were in place in the spring of last year when we experienced all those problems.

The provisions are subject to a legal mechanism and a series of appeals. The proposals before us are the outcome of the Government’s attempts to improve the situation in the light of last spring. It is the case that the sort of person who I described might be deported, but as we found out last spring, that is not always the case. Let us imagine that the public found out that such a person, having not come under the provisions of the Bill, had committed more serious offences, having already received more than 12 months in prison, but not been automatically deported. I can picture in my mind’s eye the television reporters on the steps of the court saying that because of a loophole, X, Y or Z was able to remain in the country, even though theyhad been sentenced to more than 12 months’ imprisonment. The Committee has the chance to say, “We have seen the loophole so let us close it”.