I wonder whether I can help the Government a little with two amendments that I tabled—Nos. 10 and 11. I gain the impression that the Minister is genuine in wanting to ensure that foreign criminals are deported expeditiously wherever that is possible and wherever the courts will allow that to happen.
Amendment No. 10 will require that a deportation order be made within 14 days of conviction for an offence rather than, as at present, at a time chosen by the Secretary of State. I think that would help to ensure that matters took place more quickly. The problem with the wording as it stands is that it could drag on for many months, with all sorts of people putting pressure on the Secretary of State not to carry out a deportation order. By accepting this amendment, that pressure is removed and the Secretary of State would simply have to issue an order within 14 days. I think the Minister might find that helpful.
The second amendment would remove clause 30(2)(b). At the moment, the clause states that a deportation order may not be made while an appeal “could be brought”. The problem with the words “could be brought” is that, as we know, lawyers are very good at using all sorts of means to bring forward appeals even when they know perfectly well that those appeals will fail, and since most of them are on legal aid and being funded at the largesse of the taxpayer, it is well within their financial interests to do so and they will do so. Amendment No. 11 would simply remove the words “could be brought”— thereby removing this money feast for immigration lawyers, who would not be able to bring forward all sorts of bogus claims to stop an appeal taking place that was clearly going to fail.