Previous SectionIndexHome Page

9.45 pm

David Winnick (Walsall, North): We know the background, with people with claims of little or no merit appealing time and again, but is my hon. Friend aware that some of us, including Opposition spokesmen, remain uneasy? I would be happier if there were a double check. Perhaps the matter will be raised in another place. We should not have only one official—junior or otherwise, but it certainly will not be a very senior official—deciding that the case is unfounded. The decision should certainly go to another official, higher up the chain. My unease may be totally unjustified, but I had better express my view now.

Beverley Hughes: As the debate unfolds, various measures and solutions may be proposed that will provide some reassurance on the concerns that have been expressed, while still allowing us to make progress.

I do not recognise the figures on judicial review given by the hon. Member for Southwark, North and Bermondsey. I would be interested to know where he got them. My information is that, in the year up to March 2002, 3,200 cases were dealt with and 441 applications were granted, which is an average of 14 per cent. Perhaps that can be clarified in another place.

Simon Hughes: Whatever arguments we may have, they should not be about the figures, which I took from a parliamentary answer on 19 April 2002, at column 1260W. They are ministerial figures given only six weeks ago to Members of Parliament.

Beverley Hughes: I need to be clear about the time scale to which the figures relate and whether we are

11 Jun 2002 : Column 822

talking about the same thing. Judicial review outcomes are clearly significant for this debate, and we need to get the figures absolutely right.

The hon. Member for Witney (Mr. Cameron) asked about new clause 14(5). Legal aid will be available if the appeal is from a third country, subject to the usual merit and eligibility tests. It is a drafting measure to ensure that the adjudicator considers whether the appellant is a refugee.

The hon. Gentleman also asked about the bilateral agreement timetable. The Home Secretary said today that, as the French elections conclude, we should try to make progress on the matter. Towards the end of May, Mr. Sarkozy made a statement warmly welcoming the approach that we are taking and expressing a desire to work with us to establish a bilateral agreement. We can be optimistic about making progress on a reasonable time scale.

The hon. Member for Upminster (Angela Watkinson) referred to independent country assessment. We are sympathetic to the need to strengthen the perception that assessment is robust and rigorous, and as independent as possible.

Many of the provisions in the new clauses do not break new ground, either here in the UK or in Europe. The idea of having fast-track systems for manifestly or clearly unfounded claims is not uncommon in Europe, and indeed several countries do not have automatically suspensive appeals for such claims. That is the case in Denmark, Germany, France and Finland, for example. Obviously, an unfounded claim is not defined in legislation; none the less, case law exists and our courts are familiar with cases that fall into that category. I am not presenting those arguments to hon. Members as a validation of the principle of non-suspensive appeals; I am simply saying that the argument that the principle is far removed from reality is not itself valid.

Annabelle Ewing: The Minister says that, putting to one side the debate about the validity of the provisions in principle, they are not far removed from existing legislative precedent. If so, why were they tabled at the eleventh hour?

Beverley Hughes: As my right hon. Friend has made clear, we had to relate the provisions to our own legal system and obtain the legal advice necessary to ensure that what we tabled could withstand the robustness of our law.

Mr. Barker: In the light of the Minister's reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Witney (Mr. Cameron) about the availability of legal aid for appellants in foreign countries, have the Government assessed the additional legal cost of making such appeals from abroad? Given that foreign law firms will be used, an additional cost will presumably be incurred.

Beverley Hughes: We will deal with such issues as we progress through the Bill.

The hon. Member for Woking (Mr. Malins) spoke softly and persuasively on clause 80. Although an extensive debate took place in Committee—I have read it—I am afraid that he still does not fully appreciate the current position or the proposal. As we said in Committee,

11 Jun 2002 : Column 823

clause 80 simply builds on existing legislation. Perhaps he does not realise that the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 introduced the one-stop procedure for appeals—a measure that enjoyed support on both sides of the House. It provides for each asylum seeker to have one, and only one, substantive appeal. During such an appeal, all other grounds that an applicant may have for wishing to remain in this country must be raised. To ensure that the system could work, sections 73 and 76 of the 1999 Act introduced certification in exactly the way referred to in clause 80. Section 73 applies if an appeal is dismissed and an applicant raises grounds that they knew about, and which they could, and should, have raised earlier.

As I said, in 1999 agreement was reached in Standing Committee that the one-stop procedure was the right way forward. I should point out to the hon. Gentleman that the form of certification arising from the 1999 Act has been shown to work. Since October 2000, some 700 applications have been certified—by the officials about whom he is rather disparaging—to effect removal. Only three applications for judicial review of those certifications have been made. Two were refused permission on the papers, one was refused after an oral hearing, and no substantive hearings have challenged those certifications. There can be no better evidence that the concerns expressed then and now are completely unfounded.

Mr. Malins: When I told Ministers in Standing Committee that the procedure constituted a departure, the point was not denied. Indeed, the current scenario used not to exist. Under the terms of the clause, an appellant might never have seen an adjudicator—end of story.

Beverley Hughes: That situation might, in theory, arise, but I shall go through the process with the hon. Gentleman and show how clause 80 will build on the current provision. A person submits a claim, having been served with notice on more than one occasion that all the reasons to support the claim must be included in it. An initial decision is then made. Let us suppose that the claim is refused. That decision goes to appeal. It is only in circumstances in which an asylum seeker chooses at that point not to appeal or absconds, and then returns to try to make a fresh application, that it is possible to certify on grounds included in the 1999 Act that the person has already exhausted their access to a right of appeal.

We do not oppose the Opposition amendments because they would take up adjudicators' time, although they would: we oppose them because they would start to unravel the one-stop appeal process and would, in effect, allow another consideration by an adjudicator of the case of someone who had already gone through the process once, and submitted a fresh application. If that case was not then certified by the Home Secretary or an official and went to an adjudicator, there would be another appeal, which would cut across the procedure that we have all agreed in principle—that there should be one, and only one, substantive appeal.

I hope that on that basis the hon. Member for Woking can accept that we are not introducing new principles. We are building on what is already working well and what his party largely agreed when we discussed the process in proceedings on the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999. There are no new principles included in the new clauses and, therefore, we oppose the Opposition amendments. They would start to chip away at a procedure to which we have all agreed.

11 Jun 2002 : Column 824

Question put, That the clause be read a Second time:—

The House divided: Ayes 379, Noes 71.

Division No. 264
[9.57 pm


Adams, Mrs Irene (Paisley N)
Ainger, Nick
Ainsworth, Bob (Cov'try NE)
Alexander, Douglas
Allen, Graham
Anderson, Rt Hon Donald
(Swansea E)
Anderson, Janet (Rossendale)
Armstrong, Rt Hon Ms Hilary
Atkins, Charlotte
Bailey, Adrian
Baird, Vera
Banks, Tony
Barker, Gregory
Barnes, Harry
Barron, Kevin
Battle, John
Beard, Nigel
Beckett, Rt Hon Margaret
Begg, Miss Anne
Beggs, Roy
Bell, Stuart
Benn, Hilary
Benton, Joe
Berry, Roger
Betts, Clive
Blackman, Liz
Blears, Ms Hazel
Blizzard, Bob
Blunkett, Rt Hon David
Boateng, Rt Hon Paul
Bottomley, Peter (Worthing W)
Bottomley, Rt Hon Virginia
Bradley, Rt Hon Keith (Withington)
Bradley, Peter (The Wrekin)
Bradshaw, Ben
Brazier, Julian
Brennan, Kevin
Brown, Rt Hon Nicholas
(Newcastle E & Wallsend)
Brown, Russell (Dumfries)
Browne, Desmond
Bryant, Chris
Burden, Richard
Burgon, Colin
Burnham, Andy
Burnside, David
Butterfill, John
Cairns, David
Cameron, David
Campbell, Alan (Tynemouth)
Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge)
Campbell, Gregory (E Lond'y)
Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V)
Caplin, Ivor
Casale, Roger
Caton, Martin
Cawsey, Ian
Challen, Colin
Chapman, Ben (Wirral S)
Chaytor, David
Clapham, Michael
Clark, Dr Lynda
(Edinburgh Pentlands)
Clark, Paul (Gillingham)
Clarke, Rt Hon Charles
(Norwich S)
Clarke, Rt Hon Tom (Coatbridge)
Clarke, Tony (Northampton S)
Clelland, David
Clwyd, Ann
Coaker, Vernon
Coffey, Ms Ann
Cohen, Harry
Cook, Rt Hon Robin (Livingston)
Cooper, Yvette
Corston, Jean
Cranston, Ross
Crausby, David
Cruddas, Jon
Cryer, Mrs Ann (Keighley)
Cummings, John
Cunningham, Jim (Cov'try S)
Cunningham, Tony (Workington)
Dalyell, Tam
Darling, Rt Hon Alistair
Davey, Valerie (Bristol W)
David, Wayne
Davidson, Ian
Davies, Geraint (Croydon C)
Davis, Rt Hon David (Haltemprice)
Dawson, Hilton
Dean, Mrs Janet
Denham, Rt Hon John
Dhanda, Parmjit
Dismore, Andrew
Dobbin, Jim
Dobson, Rt Hon Frank
Donohoe, Brian H
Doran, Frank
Dowd, Jim
Drew, David
Eagle, Angela (Wallasey)
Eagle, Maria (L'pool Garston)
Edwards, Huw
Ellman, Mrs Louise
Ennis, Jeff
Fallon, Michael
Farrelly, Paul
Fisher, Mark
Fitzpatrick, Jim
Fitzsimons, Mrs Lorna
Flight, Howard
Flint, Caroline
Flook, Adrian
Flynn, Paul
Follett, Barbara
Foster, Rt Hon Derek
Foster, Michael (Worcester)
Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings)
Foulkes, George
Francis, Dr Hywel
Francois, Mark
Gale, Roger
Gapes, Mike
Gardiner, Barry
George, Rt Hon Bruce (Walsall S)
Gibson, Dr Ian
Gillan, Mrs Cheryl
Gilroy, Linda
Godsiff, Roger
Goggins, Paul
Gray, James
Grieve, Dominic
Griffiths, Jane (Reading E)
Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)
Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)
Grogan, John
Hain, Rt Hon Peter
Hall, Mike (Weaver Vale)
Hamilton, David (Midlothian)
Hamilton, Fabian (Leeds NE)
Hammond, Philip
Hanson, David
Harman, Rt Hon Ms Harriet
Harris, Tom (Glasgow Cathcart)
Hayes, John
Healey, John
Henderson, Doug (Newcastle N)
Henderson, Ivan (Harwich)
Hendrick, Mark
Hendry, Charles
Hepburn, Stephen
Heppell, John
Hermon, Lady
Hesford, Stephen
Hewitt, Rt Hon Ms Patricia
Heyes, David
Hill, Keith
Hinchliffe, David
Hoban, Mark
Hodge, Margaret
Hoey, Kate
Hood, Jimmy
Hoon, Rt Hon Geoffrey
Hope, Phil
Hopkins, Kelvin
Howarth, Rt Hon Alan (Newport E)
Howarth, George (Knowsley N)
Howells, Dr Kim
Hughes, Beverley (Stretford)
Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N)
Humble, Mrs Joan
Hutton, Rt Hon John
Iddon, Dr Brian
Irranca–Davies, Huw
Jackson, Helen (Hillsborough)
Jackson, Robert (Wantage)
Jamieson, David
Jenkins, Brian
Johnson, Alan (Hull W & Hessle)
Jones, Helen (Warrington N)
Jones, Jon Owen (Cardiff C)
Jones, Kevan (N Durham)
Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S)
Jowell, Rt Hon Tessa
Joyce, Eric
Keeble, Ms Sally
Keen, Alan (Feltham & Heston)
Keen, Ann (Brentford & Isleworth)
Kelly, Ruth
Kemp, Fraser
Kennedy, Jane (Wavertree)
Khabra, Piara S
Kidney, David
Kilfoyle, Peter
Kirkbride, Miss Julie
Knight, Jim (S Dorset)
Kumar, Dr Ashok
Ladyman, Dr Stephen
Laing, Mrs Eleanor
Lammy, David
Lawrence, Mrs Jackie
Lazarowicz, Mark
Lepper, David
Leslie, Christopher
Letwin, Oliver
Levitt, Tom
Lewis, Ivan (Bury S)
Lewis, Dr Julian (New Forest E)
Liddell, Rt Hon Mrs Helen
Liddell–Grainger, Ian
Lidington, David
Linton, Martin
Lloyd, Tony
Loughton, Tim
Lucas, Ian
Luff, Peter
Luke, Iain
Lyons, John
McCabe, Stephen
McCafferty, Chris
McCartney, Rt Hon Ian
McDonagh, Siobhain
MacDonald, Calum
McFall, John
McGuire, Mrs Anne
McIntosh, Miss Anne
McIsaac, Shona
MacKay, Rt Hon Andrew
McKechin, Ann
McKenna, Rosemary
Mackinlay, Andrew
McLoughlin, Patrick
McNulty, Tony
MacShane, Denis
McWalter, Tony
Mahmood, Khalid
Malins, Humfrey
Mallaber, Judy
Mandelson, Rt Hon Peter
Mann, John
Marris, Rob
Marsden, Gordon (Blackpool S)
Martlew, Eric
Mawhinney, Rt Hon Sir Brian
Meacher, Rt Hon Michael
Meale, Alan
Mercer, Patrick
Merron, Gillian
Michael, Rt Hon Alun
Milburn, Rt Hon Alan
Miliband, David
Miller, Andrew
Mitchell, Andrew (Sutton Coldfield)
Moffatt, Laura
Moonie, Dr Lewis
Morgan, Julie
Morley, Elliot
Morris, Rt Hon Estelle
Mountford, Kali
Mullin, Chris
Munn, Ms Meg
Murphy, Denis (Wansbeck)
Murphy, Jim (Eastwood)
Murphy, Rt Hon Paul (Torfaen)
Murrison, Dr Andrew
Naysmith, Dr Doug
O'Brien, Bill (Normanton)
O'Hara, Edward
O'Neill, Martin
Organ, Diana
Osborne, Sandra (Ayr)
Owen, Albert
Palmer, Dr Nick
Pearson, Ian
Picking, Anne
Pickthall, Colin
Pike, Peter
Plaskitt, James
Pollard, Kerry
Pond, Chris
Pope, Greg
Pound, Stephen
Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lewisham E)
Prentice, Gordon (Pendle)
Prescott, Rt Hon John
Primarolo, Dawn
Prisk, Mark
Prosser, Gwyn
Purchase, Ken
Purnell, James
Quin, Rt Hon Joyce
Quinn, Lawrie
Rammell, Bill
Rapson, Syd
Raynsford, Rt Hon Nick
Redwood, Rt Hon John
Reed, Andy (Loughborough)
Reid, Rt Hon Dr John (Hamilton N)
Robertson, John
(Glasgow Anniesland)
Robertson, Laurence (Tewk'b'ry)
Robinson, Geoffrey (Cov'try NW)
Robinson, Peter (Belfast E)
Roche, Mrs Barbara
Rooney, Terry
Ross, Ernie
Roy, Frank
Ruane, Chris
Ruffley, David
Russell, Ms Christine (Chester)
Ryan, Joan
Salter, Martin
Savidge, Malcolm
Sawford, Phil
Shaw, Jonathan
Sheridan, Jim
Short, Rt Hon Clare
Singh, Marsha
Skinner, Dennis
Smith, Rt Hon Andrew (Oxford E)
Smith, Geraldine (Morecambe)
Smith, Jacqui (Redditch)
Smith, John (Glamorgan)
Smith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent)
Smyth, Rev Martin (Belfast S)
Soley, Clive
Southworth, Helen
Spicer, Sir Michael
Squire, Rachel
Starkey, Dr Phyllis
Steinberg, Gerry
Stevenson, George
Stewart, David (Inverness E)
Stewart, Ian (Eccles)
Stoate, Dr Howard
Strang, Rt Hon Dr Gavin
Stringer, Graham
Stuart, Ms Gisela
Sutcliffe, Gerry
Swayne, Desmond
Swire, Hugo
Syms, Robert
Tami, Mark
Taylor, Rt Hon Ann (Dewsbury)
Taylor, Ms Dari (Stockton S)
Taylor, David (NW Leics)
Taylor, Sir Teddy
Thomas, Gareth R (Harrow W)
Tipping, Paddy
Todd, Mark
Touhig, Don
Trickett, Jon
Truswell, Paul
Turner, Andrew (Isle of Wight)
Turner, Dennis (Wolverh'ton SE)
Turner, Dr Desmond (Kemptown)
Turner, Neil (Wigan)
Twigg, Derek (Halton)
Twigg, Stephen (Enfield)
Tynan, Bill
Vaz, Keith
Walley, Ms Joan
Ward, Ms Claire
Watkinson, Angela
Watts, David
Whitehead, Dr Alan
Whittingdale, John
Wicks, Malcolm
Wiggin, Bill
Williams, Rt Hon Alan
(Swansea W)
Williams, Mrs Betty (Conwy)
Wilson, Brian
Winterton, Mrs Ann (Congleton)
Winterton, Nicholas (Macclesfield)
Winterton, Ms Rosie (Doncaster C)
Woodward, Shaun
Worthington, Tony
Wray, James
Wright, Anthony D (Gt Yarmouth)
Wright, David (Telford)
Wyatt, Derek
Young, Rt Hon Sir George

Tellers for the Ayes:

Angela Smith and
Mr. Phil Woolas.


Abbott, Ms Diane
Allan, Richard
Baker, Norman
Barrett, John
Beith, Rt Hon A J
Best, Harold
Brake, Tom
Breed, Colin
Bruce, Malcolm
Buck, Ms Karen
Burnett, John
Burstow, Paul
Cable, Dr Vincent
Campbell, Rt Hon Menzies
(NE Fife)
Carmichael, Alistair
Chidgey, David
Coleman, Iain
Cook, Frank (Stockton N)
Corbyn, Jeremy
Cotter, Brian
Davey, Edward (Kingston)
Doughty, Sue
Ewing, Annabelle
Foster, Don (Bath)
Galloway, George
George, Andrew (St Ives)
Gerrard, Neil
Gidley, Sandra
Green, Matthew (Ludlow)
Hancock, Mike
Harvey, Nick
Heath, David
Holmes, Paul
Hughes, Simon (Southwark N)
Jones, Lynne (Selly Oak)
Jones, Nigel (Cheltenham)
Keetch, Paul
Kennedy, Rt Hon Charles
(Ross Skye & Inverness W)
Kirkwood, Archy
Lamb, Norman
Laws, David
Lewis, Terry (Worsley)
Llwyd, Elfyn
McDonnell, John
McNamara, Kevin
Marsden, Paul (Shrewsbury)
Marshall–Andrews, Robert
Moore, Michael
Mudie, George
Oaten, Mark
Pugh, Dr John
Reid, Alan (Argyll & Bute)
Rendel, David
Robertson, Angus (Moray)
Salmond, Alex
Sanders, Adrian
Simpson, Alan (Nottingham S)
Smith, Sir Robert (W Ab'd'ns)
Stunell, Andrew
Taylor, Matthew (Truro)
Taylor, Dr Richard (Wyre F)
Thomas, Simon (Ceredigion)
Tonge, Dr Jenny
Tyler, Paul
Wareing, Robert N
Webb, Steve
Weir, Michael
Williams, Hywel (Caernarfon)
Willis, Phil
Wishart, Pete
Younger–Ross, Richard

Tellers for the Noes:

Bob Russell and
Mrs. Annette L. Brooke.

Question accordingly agreed to.

11 Jun 2002 : Column 827

Clause read a Second time, and added to the Bill.

It being after Ten o'clock, Mr. Speaker put the remaining Questions required to be put at that hour, pursuant to Order [this day].

Next Section

IndexHome Page