Enforced Removal (Families with Young Children)

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 11:34 am on 10th January 2006.

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Photo of John Robertson John Robertson PPS (Dr Kim Howells, Minister of State), Foreign & Commonwealth Office 11:34 am, 10th January 2006

I thank the hon. Gentleman for his intervention, which leads on to a point touched on by my hon. Friend the Member for Islington, North about fast-tracking and the change in the system to make it quicker. We are talking about enforced removals, and in the case that has been mentioned we would expect things to be quicker. This is why we are getting the enforced removals now: we have caught up with the backlog. We are discussing the cases of people who were left to sit in the house all day, where the kids went to school and college, and got an education but could not do anything else in terms of work. In relation to enforcement, we are talking about people who have been here for a few years.

I understand what the hon. Gentleman is saying, but I shall not get involved in what has been discussed in the other place, because I know that his colleagues do their utmost to butcher whatever Bill is sent there. However, when we get the measure back, we shall put it back to how it should be. The most important thing is that in the end, we have legislation that is fair.

I shall finish now, Mrs. Humble, as I am on my last page—although I must admit that the speech that I wrote in advance bears no resemblance to what I have said. Some of what we read in the newspapers is lies, and some of it is a distortion of the truth; at best, it stretches the truth. The emotional blackmail that appears in the press is not helpful. It is certainly not helpful to those of us in this place who have to work with the Home Office to defend people. It is difficult to defend a case when it has been in the press and everybody has already made up their mind about what should be done.

We need to have a reasoned debate. I wish that more hon. Members were here today. I wish that my speech had taken less time—many other people here probably wish that, too—but it is important that we have a measured discussion. We must look after the children as best we can, but we must remember that ultimately, the parents are responsible for them. I shall finish on the following questions. Should we separate children from their parents? Should we remove the whole family or let them all stay?