Clause 16 - Provision of evidence in support of protection or human rights claim

Part of Nationality and Borders Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 11:00 am on 26th October 2021.

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Photo of Stuart McDonald Stuart McDonald Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Home Affairs) 11:00 am, 26th October 2021

We have had an extensive debate on these clauses, so I can be brief. Amendment 27 would cast the evidence notices that we have just debated in the form of a request, rather than a requirement. Amendment 28 would mean that an explanation for late evidence could be provided, rather than it being mandatory, so that we were explaining these rights and responsibilities instead of imposing inappropriate penalties. Amendment 40 would provide for similar changes to the priority removal notices instituted by clause 18.

The previous debate was essentially about whether those notices should extend to various groups of people, but in this group of amendments we are attempting to challenge the principles behind them.

Like other hon. Members, we agree that this is just a rehash of the one-stop process, which will achieve little and risk harm to claimants who need refugee protection. It is a distraction from the real issues that the Home Office needs to get a grip of. People who are at risk of persecution are generally desperate to provide evidence if they can, and if they are aware of and understand the processes that they are involved in. There is no advantage to them in providing evidence late, but there are often very good reasons why that happens. On the other hand, if evidence is provided late, it is still ultimately going to have to be looked at; if it proves someone is a refugee, it will have to be recognised, so it is time for the Home Office to get on with fixing the real problem in the asylum system, which is the appalling delays and backlogs in that system. That is why we have tabled these amendments. However, rather than putting them to a vote, I beg your leave to withdraw them, Sir Roger. I will vote against the clause standing part instead.