I support the excellent amendment tabled by my hon. Friend the Member for Ashford, and I rise in the same spirit as he did to seek further information about the mechanics of deportation. A certain amount is spelled out in the Bill, but it would be an improvement if it contained a little more detail.
Amendment No. 33 would require the Secretary of State to write to the court responsible for the sentence triggering deportation if the deportation order had not been made within one month of the period specified in the Bill. I say “specified in the Bill” because the Bill sets out a certain amount about the mechanics of the system, and it is clear that when a deportation order has been made following the triggering of the trigger mechanism, time is allowed for an appeal against the conviction or sentence that triggered the order.
My amendment would require the Secretary of State to write to the court if the deportation order had not been carried out within one month of the end of that period. I believe that that would have the advantage of focusing official efforts so as to ensure an efficient process of deportation. The amendment also gives the Minister an opportunity to say a little more about the mechanics of the process.
More generally, there is a need for greater communication between the Government and the courts about what is going on with deportation. I also think that the courts need to have confidence that when a deportation order has been made—that is, they have recommended deportation or passed a sentence on a foreign prisoner of a type that would trigger deportation under the provisions of the Act—it will be carried out.
There have been cases in which senior members of the judiciary have said that they do not have confidence in the deportation process. I could give just one example from last year, when the recorder of York said that he was not going to make a recommendation for deportation in the case of a man who had been jailed for 15 months for offences of fraud. The recorder said:
“Even if I did, I would have no confidence that anyone would take any notice.”
We must get back to a position where the courts have confidence in what is going on regarding deportation. There must be communication between the Government and the courts. I hope that the Minister will be able to welcome the amendment.