On a point of order, Mr Owen, before we reach the formal conclusion of the Committee with the final motion for our consideration, I very much thank you and your co-Chair, Mr Bone, for the manner in which you have chaired our deliberations. At times you have provided us with sage advice on procedure and the conduct of our consideration of the Bill, so I thank both of you for the exemplary way in which you fulfilled your duties. You will have been ably assisted by the Clerks in so doing, so on behalf of the Committee I underline our thanks to them and all the officials. That support has ensured that our proceedings have always been in order and that we have conducted our business appropriately, so I extend those thanks.
I also extend thanks to the officers of the Official Report. They have ensured that our words have been faithfully replicated. Those who will consider the Bill as it passes to Report and onwards will know that our deliberations and debates have been appropriately and faithfully recorded. I also thank the Doorkeepers and all those who have kept us safe and secure throughout our consideration of the Bill.
On the Government side, I thank my officials and the Bill team for all the support they have provided to me and the Solicitor General during our debates and discussions. I also thank the parliamentary draftsmen for the expert advice that that team has given in the preparation and drafting of the Bill, as well as on some of the more technical amendments that we have laid. I also thank the Solicitor General for the support that he has given, for all his sage interventions and for leading on particular parts of the Bill.
I also thank the Whip, my hon. Friend the Member for Dover, for always ensuring that we are conducting our proceedings appropriately and for moving to adjourn at the end of the day. I also thank my Parliamentary Private Secretary, my hon. Friend the Member for Calder Valley, for his support, and all Members on the Government side.
We have had a good debate. At times it has been quite passionate, but it has been conducted in a measured way which does credit to this Committee. Yes, we have had differences at times, but the process has added to the scrutiny of this legislation. Therefore, in conclusion, I thank all members of the Committee for their questions, for their debates and for the manner in which they have conducted our proceedings. This has been a very positive and helpful Committee and one that we can all look back on as adding to parliamentary scrutiny and consideration of the Bill as it moves to its next stage.
On a point of order, Mr Owen, I join the Minister in thanking so many members of the teams. In particular, I thank you and Mr Bone, for chairing these proceedings. It has been invaluable to me, in particular, going through such a process for the first time, and has ensured that we have got through quite difficult, technical business in an efficient way which has provided the safeguards that this process is intended to provide. We are all very grateful for that.
I extend my gratitude to the Clerks, who have helped not only in the proceedings themselves but in the preparation as well, and have ensured that we have gone through this process in the best possible way, and to all the support staff, in whatever capacity, both in this Room and sitting behind both teams. The support may be different and perhaps more luxurious on the other side, but that support is vital for both sides, to enable issues to be untangled where they can be untangled quickly and to allow probing, testing and challenge. The process has been useful.
I have had some difficult briefs in my time. In terms of the likelihood of ever winning a single vote, this goes down as one of the most difficult. I thought for one brief moment that we might just have sealed one vote a moment ago, but that was not to be. That is a reflection on the process, but I thank the Minister and the Solicitor General for the way they have dealt with our questions, the information they have provided and the assurances they have given on issues that are of real concern, not only in the Committee but to many people outside who will be affected by the Bill. They have willingly written or put on the record their position where they have agreed to meet our concerns, and we are grateful for that.
Perhaps we should add our thanks to the witnesses who came and gave their time and their evidence to the Committee, both orally and in writing.
On a point of order, Mr Owen, I am beginning to feel a bit sorry for Mr Bone, because this is twice you have had this. Perhaps you have engineered it this way. I add my thanks, on behalf of my hon. Friend the Member for Paisley and Renfrewshire North and myself, to everyone involved. This is obviously our first time on a Public Bill Committee. I was a Member of the Scottish Parliament for two years, but I never served on a Bill Committee. I was on the Audit Committee and the Petitions Committee, so this is completely new to me. As well as the Clerks, colleagues in the Labour party have been so helpful and generous. Our own researchers have been really good.
I will always remember my first experience on a Bill Committee as being a little like ceilidh dancing in that you work out exactly what you are doing just as the music stops. I am desperate for my next Bill Committee, because it has all now clicked into place.
It is not often that I have anything positive to say about Members on the Government Benches. [Hon. Members: “Oh!] They bring it on themselves. While the entire Bill is wrong and everything they said is wrong, the way in which it was said was respectful and the responses were comprehensive. While I completely disagree with everything that is being done, I thank Government Members, particularly the two Ministers. It was helpful and useful to have them here, and everything was done respectfully. However, I was worried when the Minister for Immigration said that it had been a measured debate, because I feel like I have not done my job properly.
Finally, I thank all the stakeholders and witnesses, who were incredible. I have read some of the really interesting evidence again, and they advised us and suggested amendments and taught me so much. I am looking forward to my next Bill Committee because of my experience here. I just want to thank everyone again and to thank my mum. I will sit down now.
I am grateful. The last three contributions are known as bogus points of order, but they have been accepted and will be recorded because they were so eloquent. I want to echo what has been said and to say that we deal with serious matters in such Committees, but we have done so in a way that is a credit to Parliament. I am grateful to both Front-Bench and Back-Bench Members for their contributions. I also want to single out the Clerks for their excellent preparatory work before our meetings.
Written evidence reported to the House
IB 39 Hansen Palomares Solicitors
IB 40 British Medical Association further submission
IB 41 Bail for Immigration Detainees (BID)
IB 42 Letter from the Solicitor General concerning clause 31 - legal aid for judicial review
IB 43 Oxford Against Slavery
IB 44 Letter from the Home Office on support for certain categories of migrant
IB 45 René Cassin
IB 46 Association of Labour Providers
IB 47 Office of the City Remembrancer, City of London Corporation
IB 48 British Retail Consortium (BRC)
IB 49 Frances Macfarlane
IB 50 Local Government Association (LGA), Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ADCS), Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA), the No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF) Network and the Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA)
IB 51 Letter from the Home Office to the Residential Landlords Association
IB 52 Gatwick Detainees Welfare Group