Deportation of Foreign National Offenders

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 5:07 pm on 7 February 2024.

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Photo of Simon Clarke Simon Clarke Conservative, Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland 5:07, 7 February 2024

I thank my hon. Friend Rachel Maclean for securing the debate. The recent awful case in Clapham has reminded us of the serious problem that we are addressing: the systematic abuse of articles 3 and 8 of the European convention on human rights to frustrate the legitimate deportation of people who have forfeited their right to be in this country. As we have heard, the latest practice appears to be claiming a conversion to the Christian faith that may or may not be genuine. There is a serious problem with rights groups, which we should all acknowledge across the House. Judicial activism has led to the law being expanded in ways that those who created the post-1945 order would struggle to recognise and certainly would not agree with.

It is deeply problematic that the Leader of the Opposition and the shadow Justice Secretary signed letters attempting to block the deportation of foreign national offenders, as we have heard. In some cases, these people have gone on to commit further very serious crimes. It speaks to the fundamental naivety—some would call it madness—that blinds us to the reality of how dangerous some of these people are, and how wrong-headed it is to put their rights ahead of the rights of the victims of crime and of the wider British public.

We do not have a moral responsibility in this country to offer asylum to sex offenders from elsewhere. That is at the heart of this debate, and it is why it is important, as my hon. Friend Jonathan Gullis said, that the Opposition acknowledge that they got that wrong. I say with great affection for Stephen Kinnock that his party needs to change its approach to the question. Otherwise, I am afraid it will give succour to people who do not deserve it.

The post-1945 world order is under strain in all directions. We live in a world that is being transformed, largely by the issues connected with migration. If we do not address cases in which there is a clear imperative to remove people have committed crimes in this country, I am afraid we will completely lose the moral right to make the case for balanced, compassionate and fair immigration to this country. This House should act. I hope that today the Minister will set out a clear path to tackling the problem.