New Clause 1 - Detention of persons – exempted persons

Part of Immigration Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 4:00 pm on 10th November 2015.

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Photo of Keir Starmer Keir Starmer Shadow Minister (Home Office) 4:00 pm, 10th November 2015

I support my hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield Central’s new clause and I pay tribute to the part he played in the report to which he referred. As he said, the report was powerful and strong recommendations were made. The key recommendations from the report were, first, that there should a limit of 28 days on the length of time anyone can held in  immigration detention. Secondly, detention is currently used disproportionately frequently, resulting in too many instances of detention. The presumption, in theory and practice, should be in favour of community-based resolutions and against detention. Thirdly, decisions to detain should be very rare and detention should be for the shortest possible time and only to effect removal. Fourthly, the Government should learn from international best practice and introduce a much wider range of alternatives to detention than are currently used in the UK.

This is a real concern, a growing concern and a cross-party concern. I know that the Stephen Shaw work has been done and there is a report. I think that that mainly touches on welfare, but I will be corrected by the Minister if I am wrong. The new clause is important because it goes well beyond welfare issues; it is a point of real principle. In that spirit I support it.