Schedule

Part of UK Borders Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 12:45 pm on 20th March 2007.

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Photo of Damian Green Damian Green Shadow Minister (Home Affairs) 12:45 pm, 20th March 2007

I am grateful to the Minister for those remarks but do not find them entirely satisfactory in either case—although the first set were better than the second. However, it is not my reading of subsection (4) of new clause 6 that it will encourage the investigation of individual cases by the chief inspector. I made it clear in my original remarks that the chief inspector should not spend most of his time dealing with individual cases. The Minister says that people might bombard him with their individual cases as a means of delaying their removal from this country. Of course that is undesirable, but as it will be the chief  inspector’s decision as to which individual cases he chooses to take up, that simply would not happen—they would be automatically dismissed.

The drafting of subsection (4) is extremely careful. It begins:

“The Chief Inspector shall not aim to investigate individual cases”,

which seems to be a fairly strong instruction to any inspector that that should not be what he does. It then says that,

“this subsection does not prevent the Chief Inspector from considering or drawing conclusions about an individual case for the purpose of, or in the context of, considering a general issue”.

It should be for the chief inspector to decide what is an important general issue, on the basis of an individual case. Very occasionally, the case itself might be the issue—if indeed there are visas on sale for sex at Lunar house, as it has been accused of and as has been reasonably well attested. Even if there is only one person doing that, it is a general issue.