Reports of labels being stitched into Primark clothes alleging sweatshop conditions have already been mentioned. The Rana Plaza tragedy has been spoken about in this House before. Labour Behind the Label, a Bristol-based national campaigning organisation, works to support garment workers around the globe. Consumer pressure is really important in highlighting these issues, but I do not think that we should leave to consumers the choice

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between something produced by slave labour and something not produced by slave labour. One way for the Government to step up to the mark would be by reinstating their support for the International Labour Organisation, which they withdrew when the coalition was elected.

After the report on the Thai fishing industry, the hon. Member for Cardiff Central (Jenny Willott), then a Minister in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, announced that the British Retail Consortium would make recommendations to eradicate human rights abuses from the supply chain. This requires strong leadership from Ministers and for the UK to send a strong message to our trading partners around the globe. The Government response to the Joint Committee said that they would

“work collaboratively with businesses to support them to eliminate forced labour in supply chains, in a way which does not place additional burdens on them”.

I am worried that the Home Office will say that it does not want to place an additional burden on business with more red tape as a way of wriggling around this. Businesses ought to care about whether there is slavery in their supply chain. If that creates an additional burden or onus on them to investigate their supply chain, well that is something they have a moral obligation to do.

As consumers, we need transparency and accountability from companies. Amnesty International has said that legislating for supply chain due diligence along the lines of the Californian Transparency in Supply Chains Act will help create a corporate culture in the UK that will be intolerant of modern forms of slavery and enable it to be rooted out of the labour market. I agree.

Finally, I hope that the Home Secretary will reconsider the decision not to protect migrant domestic workers. Each year around 15,000 migrant domestic workers visit the UK with their employers to look after their families and homes. They will come here legally with those families, and many will be completely happy in their work. But the Human Rights Watch report “Hidden Away” shows that some are exposed to abuse and exploitation with no protection from the British authorities. Some have been subjected to physical, sexual and verbal abuse, confined to their homes, isolated from any contact with their families back home and given no access to a phone. Their passports have been confiscated. They are paid far below the minimum wage and, in some cases, not paid at all.

Human Rights Watch is particularly concerned that two developments since April 2012 have left domestic workers even more vulnerable and isolated, and risk the Government neglecting their obligations to them under national and international law. The first is cuts to legal aid, which have cut off their opportunities to seek help and redress and mean that there is no longer even the threat of taking their employers to employment tribunals because they cannot afford to do so. The second is that migrant workers are now less likely to seek help due to the coalition’s tied visa rules, which prevent them from changing employers; something we have heard mentioned in the debate. The fact that they risk losing their immigration status if they leave gives the employer tremendous power over them, particularly as many migrant workers have heavy financial responsibilities at home and have no choice but to endure staying with the employer that is treating them incredibly badly.

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The then UN special rapporteur on the human rights of migrants concluded after a visit to the UK in 2009 that the right to change employer had been instrumental in facilitating the escape of migrant domestic workers from exploitative and abusive situations. Reversing the bar, and going back to the situation that applied in 2009, on changing employer is a practical step that the coalition could take to protect workers. The Human Rights Watch report suggests that the Government are not prepared to look at the issue of tied visas and I would be grateful if the Minister responded on that.

The UK in 2011 was one of only nine states not to vote for the ILO domestic workers convention, which was supported by 173 Governments. The coalition then rejected recommendations during the UK’s universal periodic review to ratify the convention. Again I would be interested to hear from the Minister whether she feels there is any prospect of the UK signing up to it and joining the 173 Governments who have done so.

I do not want to end on a negative note. I am incredibly pleased and proud that the House is debating the issue and will bring it forward. I do not agree with the Home Secretary that we do not have enough time to make the Bill as good as possible. I think she was implying that we need to accept the Bill because it is at least a pretty big step in the right direction. I think we have plenty of time between now and the end of this parliamentary Session to make sure that we make the Bill as tough and strong as possible for those people who have been subjected to absolutely hideous treatment and to make sure that as few people as possible are subjected to it in the future.

4.33 pm

Mrs Caroline Spelman (Meriden) (Con): It is a pleasure to follow the hon. Member for Bristol East (Kerry McCarthy). I saw the report in the paper to which she referred and thought, like her, that a three-year sentence for the serious criminal behind those abuses was too light. Hardly a day goes by when we do not have yet another report in the paper of different forms of modern day slavery. I commend the Home Secretary, as previous speakers said, on having the determination to bring in a Bill on modern day slavery in the final Session of Parliament before a general election. I commend her also on the way in which she has built the consensus about which we have heard over the last four hours or so in the Chamber. She has built consensus with all parties to make sure that we get the Bill on to the statute book.

My right hon. Friend had the foresight to appoint the right hon. Member for Birkenhead (Mr Field) to chair the Joint Committee of both Houses, a decision for which I respect her. I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to serve on that Committee. It is probably true to say, Mr Deputy Speaker, that you really would not have known from which political party the Members of both Houses hailed as they sat on the Committee due to their absolute determination to do their best in that pre-legislative scrutiny exercise.

If this Bill is to be world class, it must tackle the issue of modern day slavery on a global scale. When we as a country are implicated, it is no good turning our backs to where the majority of the slavery occurs. I shall, therefore, focus on the issue of the supply chain.

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There are various estimates of the number of slaves globally—as high a figure as 30 million has been given, yet that is probably an underestimate. It is appalling to think just how profitable this despicable trade in human beings is, generating an estimated $150 billion each year. We must use the Bill to send a clear signal, not just at home but abroad, that criminals who perpetrate these crimes will not prosper in our country. We do not want them to prosper through any intervention of ours either inside or outside this country. The Bill will become the first Act of its kind in Europe, and tougher sentences for this human piracy will help send that strong signal. The Bill undertakes an important exercise in streamlining existing legislation and ensuring that there are no gaps in the law through which criminals can evade prosecution.

Through William Wilberforce, we have an important legacy to live up to; he had the courage and moral determination over years and years to ensure that this country got rid of terrible injustice perpetrated on poor people outside our shores. That is the spirit in which we need to look at supply chains and how they impact on people—abroad, but in ways in which we as a country are implicated.

Mindful of our reputation as one of the leading legal jurisdictions in the world—we have a proud history of the rule of law—we can do no less than pick up from where Wilberforce left off and continue his fight against this inhumanity, wherever it occurs. It can be a difficult issue for any Government. We obviously do not want to burden business unnecessarily, but I genuinely doubt whether British businesses out there would knowingly associate themselves with this blight on humanity. Despite our current efforts, however, businesses often do not have clear oversight of their complex supply chains. We saw that in the experience of Primark, caught up in the collapse of the factory in Rana Plaza. It might well have undergone due diligence on the seventh floor of that factory to establish that the working conditions were all right on the floor it had contracted for garment workers to work; it realised in hindsight, however, that it needed to go beyond that and to look at the floors above and below to see what was going on there.

As I say, not a day goes by without an example of modern day slavery taking place, and the problem with the supply chains should be properly exposed. I want to put a case study briefly before the House, and it is thanks to the Human Trafficking Foundation that I am able to do so. The person cannot be named, but is otherwise present.

Mr Deputy Speaker (Mr Lindsay Hoyle): Order. I may be able to help. He can be named, but we cannot point out that the person is present—that is the difference.

Mrs Spelman: I think that the record will reveal to the wider world the true position. I am grateful to the Human Trafficking Foundation for bringing these cases to our attention.

One particular example shows why the supply chain issue must be tackled. It comes from the Islington law centre, and it concerns 10 Hungarian men who were trafficked to the UK. They were told that they would earn £250 a week with good accommodation and food, but they received only £10 a week and two packets of cigarettes. They were told nothing more until they had paid back the £400-worth of flight costs incurred in

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coming here. It was the equivalent of 40 weeks’ work just to pay that back. They worked first in a slaughterhouse, then a bed factory and then a tile factory. Interestingly enough, that bed factory was a supplier to the household name John Lewis, which terminated the contract when it found out, and the bed factory has now been closed. The labourers, the factory and John Lewis were all exploited by the traffickers, and in their own way they have all been victims.

Only one trafficker was arrested, because the others got away too quickly, and by the time that trafficker had been charged, all the assets had been transferred back to Hungary. That is a prime example of why we need the Bill. As for the issue of the supply chain, I doubt very much that a company such as John Lewis would want to find itself in the same position again—to find that its very high reputation had again been damaged by the discovery that products which were on sale in its stores, and which we could buy, had been produced by slave labour.

We need to balance the debate. Is the Bill a burden on business? Does business want it or not? All the businesses that gave evidence to the Joint Committee made clear that they wanted a level playing field—that they wanted the law to change so that we did not have to depend on best practice, because it would be crystal clear that companies must undertake due diligence to ensure that no part of their supply chain could be touched by modern-day slavery.

The answer to the problem lies with all of us: Governments, companies, employees, consumers and shareholders, all working together. We need to require Britain’s public companies to engage with their shareholders on their supply chains in their annual reports by amending the Companies Act 2006, which would create the level playing field that the businesses that have been harmed say they want to see. That was what the Joint Committee recommended to the Government. From now on, British corporate governance and social responsibility ought explicitly to include human rights in supply chains. How companies deal with the issue in detail, along with their shareholders, customers and employers, should be left to their good conscience, but the requirement in law would be there. I certainly have faith that British companies will do the right thing; they usually do.

In the end, the change requires just five words. That way, Britain will not turn its back on millions of suffering people around the world. We will be able to shine a light on those shadowy areas through the time-tested strength of our great legal system, and we will challenge all nations that respect the rule of law to follow suit, and join Britain in consigning this horrific crime to the history books once and for all.

4.42 pm

Hywel Williams (Arfon) (PC): It is a pleasure to follow the right hon. Member for Meriden (Mrs Spelman). Like other Members, she referred to horrific and harrowing cases, which are all the more persuasive because they arise from incidents that are occurring in this country today.

Benjamin Franklin said that slavery was

“an atrocious debasement of human nature”.

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He said that a long time ago, and, as we know, it was a long time ago that William Wilberforce campaigned for the abolition of slavery. I think that it would surprise many of my constituents to know that it is still here, in all its grisly and awful reality. The Bill bears clear testimony to the fact that slavery, and the effects of slavery, are still to be found.

We in Plaid Cymru welcome the Bill, and strongly support it. It extends only to England and Wales, which explains the absence of my Scottish colleagues. People in my constituency probably wonder whether modern slavery exists in our area of far-flung rural north-west Wales. In fact, one of the largest cannabis factories in the United Kingdom was discovered in my constituency about 18 months ago.

We are glad that the Government have heeded some of the Joint Committee’s recommendations—although, as has already been said, only some. The Committee’s report argued in particular that the Bill could be improved by the addition of stronger provisions for the protection of victims of slavery, and specifically that the Crown Prosecution Service should be provided with guidance on the non-prosecution of victims. That point has been made again today, and I strongly agree with it.

The report also called for the Bill to provide for a system of guardianship for child victims of slavery, for a review of the visa status of overseas domestic workers and for an anti-slavery commissioner to be appointed independent from Government. I made that point earlier to the hon. Member for Wigan (Lisa Nandy), who made a persuasive speech. The report also called for the Government to look at legislation in California dedicated to tackling modern slavery in supply chains by requiring businesses to report on what steps they had taken to eradicate the practice. That matter has also been referred to by many Members.

The Committee report, published on 8 April, said that witnesses saw the draft Bill as a bit of a “cut and paste” exercise. Other Members have referred to existing offences being pasted into the Bill. The Committee argued that it would be a missed opportunity if better provisions to protect children and to eradicate modern slavery in supply chains were not included in the Bill.

The report in particular called for provisions on victim care to be given a statutory footing; for changes to be made so that victims could access compensation more expediently; for the creation of a separate offence of exploiting and trafficking a child; for the anti-slavery commissioner to be independent from Government; and for the establishment of a statutory system of advocates.

Bob Stewart: We have heard that the Salvation Army is a fantastic organisation. I understand that it does not actually look after victims; it sub-lets that to other organisations. I understand from Anthony Steen that it would be a very good thing if our Government, rather than spending £25,000 a year looking after a victim in this country, gave £3,000 to the victim and the Government of the country from where they came to retrain those people and look after them properly. That would be a good use of taxpayers’ money.

Hywel Williams: The hon. Gentleman makes an interesting point. We have heard several times about the need to care for people who have been subjected to

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modern slavery. The Bill should also deal with that aspect. People are trafficked and people come to this country for non-existent jobs. They are driven by poverty and other factors, including low wages, in their own country. Equalisation of economies throughout western and eastern Europe would tackle that issue in the long term.

I am glad that the Government have agreed to introduce child trafficking advocates, whose role needs to be strengthened, and that they have conceded that courts should have the ability to have regard to certain characteristics that victims possess— such as their age, disabilities and family relationships—in assessing whether they were more vulnerable than others would be when a crime was committed.

The Bill does fall short, unfortunately, most notably in failing to compel businesses to take steps to ensure that no slavery is involved in their supply chains, as well as in failing to amend the existing rules concerning domestic work visas. The Bill has been criticised by UNICEF for failing to include adequate measures to protect trafficked children.

Stop the Traffik has written to me this week, and I think to all other MPs, on the issue. As the right hon. Member for Meriden (Mrs Spelman) has pointed out, according to the International Labour Organisation, forced labour generates about $150 billion every year, exploiting 21 million people. Of that huge sum, $43 billion can be attributed to non-domestic non-sexual forced labour in agriculture, construction, mining and manufacturing. We are talking about a huge amount of money.

We have heard about the case exposed in The Guardian, whichuncovered the use of forced labour by the Thailand-based company Charoen Pokphand Foods, which exploited men who were made to work against their will on fishing boats. Not amending the Bill to include a responsibility on businesses to ensure that no modern slavery occurs in their supply chains would be to perpetuate a fatal flaw. In the present situation, we cannot depend on consumers or, unfortunately, on companies to ensure there is not modern slavery in their supply chains.

The Joint Committee recommended that the Government should amend section 414 of the Companies Act 2006, which at present places a duty on companies to report on “social, community and human rights issues” at the end of each financial year. It recommended that “slavery” be added to the list of issues to be reported upon. Businesses’ reports should detail what steps they have taken to verify their supply chains as well as whether they have audited their suppliers and certified goods supplied by those suppliers. The Committee was supported in this recommendation by both Primark and Tesco, but unfortunately the Government have refused to amend the 2006 Act, arguing it is too early to say whether the provisions already in place are adequate.

On domestic worker visas, changes to the immigration rules in April 2012 mean that domestic workers in private households have leave to stay in the UK for only six months, and we heard further details on this matter from other hon. Members. Kalayaan, the charity that provides advocacy for migrant domestic workers, reports an increase in the exploitation of this group since the new rules came into force, and points to a number of alarming facts. Migrant domestic workers who are tied to their employers have been twice as likely to report

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having been physically abused by their employers, and 71% of those subject to the new rules are reported as being effectively imprisoned in the homes where they are working. Some 53% of those on the new visa have reported working more than 16 hours a day, as opposed to 32% of those who still have the right to change employer and remain in the UK. According to internal assessments conducted by Kalayaan staff, 69% of those on the new visa were trafficked, compared with 26% of those who are not tied. The Modern Slavery Bill evidence review panel is calling on the Government to “consider reinstating the rights” of overseas domestic worker visa-holders “to change employer”, but that has been rejected, as far as I can see, with the Government steadfastly refusing to change their mind.

Groups including UNICEF have highlighted the need to improve aspects of this Bill which seek to protect children. At least 10 children are trafficked every single week in the UK. UNICEF argues that the definition of human trafficking in clause 2 of the Bill should reflect the international definition of trafficking enshrined in the UN Palermo Protocol as well as the EU trafficking directive. UNICEF also believes that the Bill should be explicit in defining a child as a person under the age of 18, so as to ensure that cases involving children are always considered in a fundamentally distinct way.

Although the new statutory defence for victims of trafficking who have been compelled by their slavery to commit an offence is welcome, it does not go as far as the non-prosecution principle recommended by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child in 2014.

Lastly, the enabling power to put child trafficking advocates on a statutory footing should be strengthened. UNICEF has argued that independent guardians with legal powers should be introduced for all separated migrant and trafficked children, and that the principles of guardianship should be included in this Bill, including that advocates must be independent from public authorities, and that they should have adequate legal powers and be able to instruct a solicitor on the child’s behalf.

The Bill before us today is certainly a step in the right direction, but the issues that I have highlighted, and those which have been highlighted in other speeches, must not be ignored. We owe it to victims of modern slavery to get this right.

4.54 pm

Sir John Randall (Uxbridge and South Ruislip) (Con): I draw attention to my entry in the Members’ register as trustee of the Human Trafficking Foundation.

One of the problems with being called to speak in the middle and later stages of a debate is that all the things one wants to say have been said, but this is such an important issue that I think they bear repeating, and it is a pleasure to follow the hon. Member for Arfon (Hywel Williams) because I will address again many of the points he made.

In the 17 years I have been in this place, I have seen the passage of much legislation—some of it good, some excellent and some less good—but it is an absolute privilege to speak in today’s Second Reading debate on the Modern Slavery Bill. The Prime Minister and in particular the Home Secretary should be congratulated on introducing it. We heard in her excellent opening speech the obvious sincerity and enthusiasm with which

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she is embracing this subject. I know that she and the Minister have engaged and continue to engage constructively with the issues we are raising now as helpful criticism of the Bill.

As has been said probably by every speaker today, a large part of the reason we have this Bill is the hard work and evangelical zeal of notable people both inside and outside Parliament. As we have discovered, no discussion of modern-day slavery can avoid mentioning my erstwhile hon. Friend Anthony Steen. In fact, this feels a bit like Banquo’s ghost. I remember sitting behind him on the Opposition Benches as he was putting through a private Member’s Bill to recognise anti-slavery day in the dying stages of the last Parliament. As a Whip, I was encouraging him to stop speaking because there was a danger that he might just talk out his own Bill. Anybody who knows Anthony well knows that, sometimes, getting him to stop speaking is the hardest thing. He is passionate, persistent and persuasive on this subject and always puts the victims first. However, unlike Banquo’s ghost, whose presence is all around us, he is very much alive and kicking.

There are others too in this House who took this issue on when it was very much a Cinderella issue. I have chosen my words carefully: Cinderella is a potent example of slavery and forced labour, one that ordinary people and children can understand. Unfortunately, as we know and have heard today, existences such as Cinderella’s have been going on for some time and have not been eradicated. Here, I should also mention my hon. Friend the Member for Wellingborough (Mr Bone), the hon. Member for Slough (Fiona Mactaggart), who always speaks passionately on this issue, and the hon. Member for Linlithgow and East Falkirk (Michael Connarty), whom I hope we will hear from shortly. He speaks passionately about issues such as supply chains and the need for transparency, and he is a little bit like Anthony Steen, in that sometimes it is difficult to shut him up on this subject, but that is only because of his passionate determination to get his message across. That is something we in this House should be proud of.

Someone I became associated with on the draft Bill and during the Home Secretary’s evidence review was the right hon. Member for Birkenhead (Mr Field), whom I found an inspiration. His reasonableness and ability to get things through without going over the top was remarkable. He is another person who should be noted on today’s roll of honour. I should also mention Lady Elizabeth Butler-Sloss, who will head the Government’s historical child abuse inquiry. I know she will do an excellent job, but I hope she will have time to deal with the Bill when it goes to the other place. Without her drive and abilities, the Bill would not be served well.

I came rather late to this issue, because I had other duties. The right hon. Member for Birkenhead referred to the job my former comrades do as Whips, but when we sit on the Bench silently it does not mean that we do not listen to what is going on. Our silence is not always for bad reasons; we absorb the debate. One thing I have found is that the more someone understands this issue, realising the enormity and barbarity of it, the more they become involved with it and they end up not being able to let it go. I would put myself in that position. One thing I was pleased to discover in the Bill, and generally,

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is that we are using the term “modern slavery”, because the term “human trafficking” does not quite convey exactly what we are talking about. To a lot of our constituents “human trafficking” might mean something a little different; it might just mean illegal immigration in some respects. As we have discovered, and as most in this House will know, we are talking about something that is far, far more than that.

I am not just congratulating the Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department, the hon. Member for Staffordshire Moorlands (Karen Bradley), and the Home Secretary because I am hoping that by buttering them up they will listen more to our arguments; the Under-Secretary has only recently been appointed, she has been immersing herself completely in the subject and getting up to speed, and she has been a valuable asset to the whole process. I could also mention lots of non-governmental organisations here, but, as has been said, an amazing number of people out there in all sorts of sectors are involved in this field and they do a fantastic job. Again, they are powerful advocates, and the number of hon. Members who have spoken today having obviously been talking to their local NGOs, or to other NGOs that have been pressing their case, is testimony to that.

Like everybody else, I want the Bill to be the best we can produce. I believe it was the hon. Member for Bristol East (Kerry McCarthy) who said that there was no problem on the time scales, but I have to take slight issue with that. There is a problem with time scales, because we are off in August and we come back only briefly in September, before an extended period away because of the referendum in Scotland. We have to get the Bill out of this House—we are okay in this House because we have timetabling—and into the other House, which has lots of experts in lots of these fields and no timetabling. That is why we have to ration ourselves as to what we do and how we want to get it achieved.

We have heard about most of the things that most Members think we could improve the Bill with, the most obvious one being transparency in supply chains, which I shall speak about briefly—I have a feeling there is a better speech coming on that. Businesses would welcome that and the idea that we amend section 414C of the Companies Act 2006 to include modern slavery in the provision is a good start. One person who has not been mentioned and who is backing this is Sir Richard Branson—a powerful name to add to our campaign. One thing we have to get over to businesses is that we are not trying to penalise them; we are actually trying to help them. As my right hon. Friend the Member for Meriden (Mrs Spelman) eloquently said, they do not want to be tarnished or tainted with having slavery in their supply chain. It is not a matter of sneaking around, finding out, exposing them and then penalising them; we want them to have the ability to go down their supply chain. One problem with all these things is that they will ask somebody, who will ask somebody else, and somebody in some far-distant land may say, “Don’t worry about this, it is all okay.” We want to be able to give businesses the information that it is far from okay, because they may not have the resources to check all the way down the supply chain.

There are other things that we want to do on this issue, but they probably relate more to policy than to legislation, and we must not get the two confused. We have heard quite a lot about the work of Kalayaan and the change

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in the visa rules for overseas domestic workers. I have to say that a lot of those arguments are powerful, but there is a debate to be had on that matter, and I am not sure whether it should be in the Bill. I know that I get harangued for this view, but I just wonder why so many people are coming here to be domestic workers when possibly there are people here who could fulfil those roles. I am not sure; all I am saying is that we should debate this matter. Changing the visa rules had a detrimental effect, and we can see that, but we must look at it in more detail.

We have talked about the national referral mechanism and the 45 days. There is a review going on, and we should wait to see what happens with that. It is obviously bizarre to think that, after 45 days, a victim is in a fit state to be effectively thrown on to the street and to have us say, “That’s it. Job done. Off you go.” Different victims will need different assistance and different lengths of time.

A little while ago, my hon. Friend the Member for Beckenham (Bob Stewart) said that some people might want to go back to their country of origin. We must remember though that not all victims are from abroad; there are also victims who are in the UK and UK citizens who are being trafficked abroad.

I went to Albania with Anthony Steen, because we wanted to see whether the many Albanians who have been trafficked here—they are one of the largest groups at the moment—could go back to their own country. Sadly, the state of the country is not conducive to people going back. There is still a huge stigma, certainly in some parts of the country, about people who have been trafficked and who have been used in the sex trade in particular. The idea that we could simply return people home is not right. We have to help these countries improve their infrastructure so that there is something for people to go back to.

My hon. Friend the Member for Chatham and Aylesford (Tracey Crouch) said that she had seen some comments on a blog—it is always unwise to look at the comments on blogs—that effectively said that these measures were for left-wing feminstas. Obviously, those people do not understand the issues involved. I say to them that if they had been lucky enough to speak to victims—I say lucky because when one speaks to them and hears what they have been through one’s life is suddenly changed—they would find that slavery is probably going on within half of mile of where they live. If they realised that, they would not say such things.

One problem is education. I often speak at local meetings; sometimes I am asked to speak on a subject that is close to my heart. It is probably easier in my constituency to talk about modern slavery than it is about HS2, the expansion of the airport or some of the other issues that might raise hackles. In those meetings, I have been pleasantly surprised by people’s reactions. It is almost as if their eyes have been opened. They say, “Yes, I know what you mean now.”

I spoke at St Margaret’s church in Uxbridge a few months ago. It was not a particularly religious meeting but it was held in a church. When I mentioned the subject, some policemen said, “Yes, we are looking at that. We recognise it.” A representative from the church said that they thought that someone was coming in who was a victim. One thing that each one of us in this

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House can do is to be an advocate and get this subject out to the public—to our constituents and to our families and friends.

My son is an actor and he was part of a project that took a play called “Sold”, which was all about human trafficking and for which they had spoken to people involved, to the Edinburgh festival. All those young people, who knew very little about the issue beforehand, have become complete advocates, spreading the message. That is what we must do. We can pass legislation, help all sorts of people and do wonderful things, but unless the public can help us by understanding and recognising the problem, we will not be able to get it reported.

I am involved with another organisation, just in a casual way, called Just Enough UK, which is going around schools to explain the issue. It has used the Cinderella model as well as Fagin, with all the boys being made to steal. That still goes on. The youngsters—they are in primary schools as well as secondary schools—suddenly twig.

Michael Connarty: I am enjoying the right hon. Gentleman’s speech, but I think I need to intervene to point out that there was never a Fagin. Fagin is a mythical character. The true story, which was recorded in the courts, involved a group of Italian men who brought young boys who thought they were going to apprenticeships in Milan to the UK and trained them to steal. Anti-Semitism allowed Dickens to create Fagin as the Jew exploiting boys, and it is incorrect to repeat that.

Sir John Randall: I am only repeating what Dickens said. I am very grateful to the hon. Gentleman for his intervention, which I think makes another point entirely, but what I am saying is that a lot of people will be acquainted with the story of Oliver Twist, not just from the novel but from the musical. It might be regrettable that it has become a symbol of anti-Semitism, but the fact is that young people can understand the concept of youngsters being made to steal. We must ensure that young people are aware of the issue. They are incredibly observant and good at recognising strange behaviour among other kids and at seeing other things that are going on.

That is all I want to say at this stage. I look forward to the further stages of the Bill, because I think it can be improved. There are things that we have to do and I hope that the mood of consensual but friendly criticism can continue. So far, what I have heard and seen from the Home Secretary, the Minister and Home Office officials has been consistent with that. We will differ on one or two points and that is where there might be room for powerful debates, powerful arguments and powerful speeches. I am afraid that they are not my forte, but I might be able to do the right thing in the Division Lobby.

5.13 pm

Mark Lazarowicz (Edinburgh North and Leith) (Lab/Co-op): The right hon. Member for Uxbridge and South Ruislip (Sir John Randall) highlights the importance of emphasising that this issue affects every constituency in this country and every Member in this House. Although on the one hand I think he is right to point out that people are sometimes not aware of it, at the same time the awareness of this issue around the country is why

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there was such strong lobbying from churches, NGOs, trade unions and individual members of the public as the Bill was prepared and as it reached Second Reading. I join those who have paid tribute to the many people inside and outside the House who have campaigned on the issue for so long.

Like many Members who have spoken, I want to see a number of major improvements to the Bill. In saying that, I do not want to detract from the fact that it has been introduced by the Government, as I recognise the major step that it represents.

Given my constituency, my initial concern is how the Bill will impact on Scotland and my constituency. As it stands, it does not apply to Scotland. It extends only to England and Wales because in Scotland the matters it covers fall under the responsibility and competence of the Scottish Parliament and the Scottish Government. A human trafficking Bill is expected to go through the Scottish Parliament shortly. It was brought forward initially as a private Member’s Bill by my Labour colleague, Jenny Marra, the Member of the Scottish Parliament for North East Scotland, and it has been adopted by the Scottish Government as a Government Bill, which they expect to introduce in the current Session.

I am glad that Bills are being promoted in both England and Wales and in Scotland, but it is clear that in this area, more than most, there needs to be seamless working between Governments and law enforcement agencies across England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. I understand from the Joint Committee report that the Scottish Government recognise that aspects of this may be covered by a devolved competence, but that they should be taken forward at UK level. I would welcome some comments from the Minister, if she has time, about how she envisages the legislation in England and Wales and in Scotland, and the responsibilities of the various law enforcement agencies, working together when the Bills, we hope, become law.

Those areas that I, like many other Members, identify as gaps in the Bill are ones which relate to UK-wide competence, not to devolved competence—issues relating to the supply chain in particular and the requirement for companies to report on such things in their annual reports, and the proposal to extend the remit of the Gangmasters Licensing Authority.

Gavin Shuker (Luton South) (Lab/Co-op): Does my hon. Friend agree that another area that might be worth revisiting as the Bill goes through relates to women who are referred to the national referral mechanism in connection with prostitution? Would it not be good if the Government looked at the current law to see whether it has an effect on trafficking?

Mark Lazarowicz: That would be a valuable point to examine, although it is not one of the UK-wide matters to which I was referring. I am sure my hon. Friend makes an important point.

I do not wish to detract from the generally excellent report from the Joint Committee, but I see that although it recommends that the Bill should cover the Gangmasters Licensing Authority and the provisions in the Companies Act 2006, it does not say that the territorial extent of the Bill should be extended beyond England and Wales.

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I do not suggest that a Committee with such prestigious members could have committed an oversight or an omission, but that proposition needs to be considered and it would have to be dealt with at UK level.

Issues relating to the supply chain have been identified by many of our constituents. They are rightly concerned that goods, products and services that we can purchase in the UK are produced under conditions which, by any definition, would count as slavery or something close to that. We should not miss the opportunity of addressing that while the Bill is going through the House.

I take the point that Members have made about not wanting to delay the Bill so that it risks not becoming law, but the proposals from the Joint Committee in relation to the GLA and to changes to the Companies Act are very limited in scope. I cannot imagine that they would do anything other than widen the appeal of the Bill, and I do not see how they would risk its passage in this House or the other place.

We have had examples in Scotland of exploitation and forced labour—the kind of work that the Gangmasters Licensing Authority is designed to address—in areas of activity not yet covered by the GLA. From a Scottish perspective, I support this change. That cannot be taken forward at Scottish level only, because of the way the devolution settlement is structured. That is a good reason why it should be dealt with at UK level, and the Bill is the place to do it.

Similarly, the proposal to amend the Bill so as to amend the Companies Act to require companies to include modern slavery in their annual strategic reports is sensible and proportionate, and the specific explanations suggested by the Joint Committee are ones that I support. Comments from many Members suggest that there is wide support for such a measure. This again is UK legislation under the Companies Act and it seems to be a missed opportunity at this time, when there might not be an opportunity under a future Government for us to have legislation on this matter for some time to come. It is an opportunity that should not be thrown away and a reform that should not be delayed. I suspect that one of the concerns in some quarters about including requirements on companies is that UK companies will be put at a disadvantage—a concern that our companies might lose out to other companies that are not being put under the microscope in the same way. However, as many right hon. and hon. Members have said, the good company that wants to be a world leader does not want to benefit from modern slavery or forced labour. We should not have fears in that respect. In any event, as the Joint Committee has highlighted, other countries have passed similar legislation. For example, legislation has been passed in California. I hope that, just as we were world leaders when we passed the Climate Change Act 2008 nearly seven years ago, this legislation will be followed in other countries. We will be contributing to a worldwide movement by setting an early example. Although I accept that this will be anathema to certain Eurosceptics in the House, it may well be that our legislation encourages European countries to adopt similar European-wide measures for their companies.

Modern slavery is a complex issue. It requires international action. We cannot solve this problem in the UK alone, but we should not reject the chance to take the action that we can when we can do so. No one in the House would want to congratulate ourselves on

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taking action to tackle forced labour and slavery at home while turning a blind eye to more extensive examples elsewhere in the world if we had a chance to do something about it. The amendments that I and colleagues have referred to today show how we can take action to require our companies to act in a more socially responsible manner and encourage better employment practices to oppose forced labour and slavery worldwide, and in so doing encourage other countries and other companies to do the same.

5.23 pm

John Glen (Salisbury) (Con): I join the many others who have spoken in wholeheartedly welcoming the Bill. Slavery is an abhorrent crime with no place in our society. Sadly, it exists in virtually every community. I join the tribute that many others have paid to all those who have been responsible for getting us to this point. Groups and individuals up and down the country have campaigned tirelessly to see this law introduced. I commend the work of the right hon. Member for Birkenhead (Mr Field), with whom I have had the great privilege of working closely on the all-party parliamentary group on hunger and food poverty in recent weeks. I endorse what was said about his reasonableness and desire to find a way forward that brought together so many of the different points of view.

Soon after I was elected, I was walking home from this place with one of my new colleagues late one evening, and she said to me, “Who in this place has made a big difference over the past 15 or 20 years?” I paused for a moment and thought back over Cabinet Ministers on both sides. I will not say who I mentioned, but she said, “No, it’s Anthony Steen.” I thought for a moment, and then she explained all the work on human trafficking that he had done and started here. She was right, and it is interesting that someone who had 36 years in this place, and who started the process of getting to where we are today, has gone on to make so much difference. He is a great example to many of us who came into the House four years ago.

The Bill presents a crucial opportunity for us to address trafficking in the UK, and it is important to ensure that it is sufficiently robust. I have listened to many arguments about some of the gaps and people’s aspirations for what should be in the Bill. I endorse my right hon. Friend the Member for Meriden (Mrs Spelman) for her analysis of the work that needs to be considered to compel companies to clean up their supply chains. I worked in business for 10 years, and there may be a compelling argument that we can set out best practice in some areas and, by moral suasion, get others to follow as consumers become gently more aware of the supply chains of different companies, but modern slavery is so important that it is necessary for us to consider carefully whether something more is required through amendments to the Companies Act 2006.

To avoid repetition, I will focus the substance of my remarks on a key challenge that the Bill must address: reducing the number of trafficked children who go missing. Between 2005 and 2010, we rescued just 942 trafficked children, despite UNICEF estimating that 10 children are trafficked here every week. It is deeply concerning that of those 942 children who were taken into care, it has been formally recorded that 301 went missing shortly afterwards.

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The difference between the number of missing trafficked children recorded through the national referral mechanism and the number estimated by police and charities remains a key concern. The statistics suggest that around a third of children ran away, but the Home Affairs Committee estimated in 2009 that the figure was closer to 60%. Addressing that discrepancy must be a key role for the new anti-slavery commissioner and their office.

Victims of child trafficking have been let down for too long. They are often left in poor accommodation, within easy reach of their traffickers and fearful of the consequences of escaping from them. The only way to sever the links between traffickers and their victims is to ensure that victims receive personalised support. I therefore welcome the 23 independent advocacy schemes that the Government are piloting, and I seek assurance from the Minister that the schemes will be rolled out widely and quickly and that, if they are found to be successful, their successes will be highlighted. It is important that we get that right in all areas, and I fully support the Government’s approach of testing the schemes first. No matter how emotive the subject, it is important that we work on the basis of the best evidence for what works.

Advocates will have an important role, but as the all-party group inquiry into children missing from care found, specialist foster care placements provide the most effective escape for trafficked children. Even so, there must be effective, appropriate and sophisticated training, and the level of communication must be improved. The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children estimates that 38% of trafficked children go missing from foster care placements. That can be addressed by ensuring that carers are aware that their children have been trafficked and by training them accordingly. There is a clear need to ensure good access to both local authorities and the police so that any problems can be addressed immediately. It is unacceptable that in some instances carers were not even made aware that a child had been trafficked. I hope that the isolated, poor examples we have seen in the past can be addressed through the advocates, who will provide a clear point of contact.

I have seen at first hand in my constituency what a difference outstanding foster carers make to the lives of vulnerable children. I therefore urge the Minister to ensure that the advocacy pilots interact appropriately with the work being done by Barnardo’s and various local authorities to train more specialist foster carers for exploited children. The pilot carried out by Barnardo’s with the Department for Education showed that children in foster care were half as likely to go missing as those in care homes. That shows that, when handled appropriately, foster care is often the best option. It is important that advocates can build on the success of that scheme.

Child trafficking is an abhorrent crime. I suspect that there is no silver bullet or single piece of legislation that can deal with every aspect of that evil in our society, but it is critical that we do not lose the momentum that has been built up over recent months. The system has not provided adequate support to children who have been trafficked to this country. I hope that this Bill, although it will come under considerable scrutiny in the months ahead—I recognise the concerns that several Members have about getting it through in time—will start to put that right. I welcome the fact that we are here today discussing this massive and vital step forward. I hope

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that the Government will listen to some of the observations on the transparency of supply chains so that we can make real progress and pass this legislation without delay.

5.32 pm

Michael Connarty (Linlithgow and East Falkirk) (Lab): It has been an enlightening afternoon—I have sat through most of the debate. I am sorry for those Members who did not get manage to get slipped away before I was called to speak; as the right hon. Member for Uxbridge and South Ruislip (Sir John Randall) said, I can be pretty emotional and repetitive on this issue, but I make no apology for that.

I want to compliment the right hon. Member for Meriden (Mrs Spelman), who became engaged in this issue when she stepped down as a Government Minister. Having taken an interest in the supply chains, she bolstered my determination to convince the Government that we need to change the law to bring companies into line with at least the situation that exists in California, if not something better, if we are really to make an impact and increase the scope of the anti-slavery movement that started more than 200 years ago, because slavery does not happen only in the UK. If we deal only with the UK, we might prosecute a few people and stop a few hundred people being exploited, but we will not deal with slavery, and this is called the Modern Slavery Bill.

I am glad that my hon. Friend the Member for Slough (Fiona Mactaggart) has returned to the Chamber, because I thought that her speech was a tour de force that articulated the need for this Government really to deal with slavery. We should look at the documents. We had the draft Modern Slavery Bill and then the excellent report from the Joint Committee. As many Members have said, we could not really put a cigarette paper between the opinions and motivations of its Members, who were from parties on both sides of the Lords and the Commons. We then had the Government’s response to that report, and at the same time the Bill was published. I have to say that parts of the Government’s response to some key issues were so thin and poor that they had to be exposed, as I think they were in the speech made by my hon. Friend the Member for Slough.

On the question of whether there should be a specific crime of trafficking children, which I will come to later, I think that the strength lies with the Joint Committee, not with the Bill before us.

I want to talk first about the thanks we owe people. Every member of the Joint Committee requires thanks, because, in the same way as happens when people go on a foreign trip, we bonded over the common purpose of trying to improve the draft Bill. It is amazing how Committee members from all parties and different belief systems came together, but I am sorry that the Government have not taken into account the report in its entirety, so we have a lot to talk about.

Soroptimists UK invited me to speak at their conference. That is not an organisation that would usually take such a forward position on an issue of such massive import. I thank in particular Miss Billie Wealleans, the organiser of the Scotland north branch. The conference carried the motion that it would campaign this year to get the

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supply chains amendment inserted in the Bill. The conference came to the same conclusion as my hon. Friend the Member for Slough did in her ten-minute rule Bill, and as I did in my private Member’s Bill, which, sadly, was talked out.

The Human Trafficking Foundation and Anthony Steen have been mentioned. The previous speaker, the hon. Member for Salisbury (John Glen), entered Parliament in 2010, but he missed the best part, because it was the energy of the generation before 2010 that brought us to where we are. Many compliments have been paid to people since the publication of the Centre for Social Justice report, “It Happens Here”, but that was way down the line—it was after my private Member’s Bill had been debated and talked out on the Floor of the House. It was the first time that a Conservative-led organisation took the issue seriously. It is led by someone who was a bête noire of mine when I was in local government in Scotland. To see it take such a forward position was heartening to me, but it was perhaps just a little late to save my Bill. ECPAT UK has done so much good work over 20 years, particularly, as the hon. Gentleman has said, on the question of children.

The Catholic bishops conference was fully behind my supply chains Bill. Unfortunately, that was not noted by the hon. Member for North East Somerset (Jacob Rees-Mogg), whom I believe is devout in that particular faith. The conference backed the Bill, but he volunteered—the Whips arranged it—to talk my Bill out on the Floor of the House. I pointed out to him that it was also supported by the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, particularly its then moderator, Albert Bogle. He told me that he was not afraid of the Church of Scotland, but that he was a little afraid of the fact that the Catholic bishops conference supported my Bill.

There is a wide range of support, including from individual bishops of the Church of England, including the bishop who sat on the Joint Committee, and Christian Action Research Education. They all hearten me because I am a humanist and an atheist. I am not just a humanist without a church; I am someone who does not believe in the whole nonsense of totem poles and pie in the sky when you die. I think you have to earn it every day, here.

Focus on Labour Exploitation has been mentioned, because labour exploitation is at the heart of the issue—the use, as the Home Secretary has said, of human beings as commodities whereby people can get rich by putting them in a position where they have no rights and where they are available for exploitation at the cheapest cost.

Other organisations include the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, UNICEF UK and the POPPY Project, which, as has been said, has been doing such stalwart work in rescuing trafficked women—mainly, I have to say, from our immigration service, which tends to put them in Yarl’s Wood, treat them like criminals and try to send them back home, where the facts show that they are re-exploited and re-trafficked again and again. We would not be sending them back to safety even if we put £3,000 in their back pocket, as the hon. Member for Beckenham (Bob Stewart) has suggested we should do.

Before the Centre for Social Justice published its report, “It Happens Here”, Andrew Wallis of Unseen UK was a stalwart supporter of my supply chains Bill, and I think he also supported the ten-minute rule Bill proposed by my hon. Friend the Member for Slough.

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Anti-Slavery International has been doing such a stalwart job, but with its hands tied behind its back, because we lack the proper legislation. Aidan McQuade, who leads it, still thinks that the supply chains amendment we want, which is stronger even than the one in the Joint Committee report, is not good enough. He wants to use an equivalent of the Bribery Act 2010 to make it a criminal offence for the chief executive of a company to be found using exploited labour in its supply chain, which would be pretty tough legislation.

Walk Free, which was mentioned earlier, was set up by Andrew Forrest, who owns a company called Fortescue and lives in Perth, Australia. He gave evidence to the Joint Committee by satellite, but I have spoken with him in London. He set up an organisation when he found that his own company was using trafficked children in, I think, Nepal. He wanted 1 million members; then it went up to 5 million members; and Walk Free now has 7 million members worldwide, who are in his network and are taking up cases.

David Arkless of ArkLight, the former world president of Manpower—the most audited company in the US, as well as the most ethical company in the US—has to be thanked for the amount of work that he has done to spread the word, including by offering training to any company that wishes to do things to stop exploitation.

My question is: when we are going up a mountain—we are going up a mountain, because the Bill will be hard but, I hope, effective—why would we stop three quarters of the way up? Why would the Home Secretary want to stop and plant her flag somewhere on the mountain, instead of going to the top? Only at the top of that climb will we take on the work done 200 years ago and take it forward.

Many things have been said, and it has been hinted that the Home Secretary is involved in a contest against some dark force in No. 10 Downing street that is trying to stop the Government moving all the way forward on the Bill, particularly on questions such as supply chains. I once asked the Prime Minister, when he appeared to be reluctant to sign up even to the directive on human trafficking, where he had lost his moral compass. I suggest that both the Prime Minister and the Home Secretary, if they are looking for a moral compass on this issue, should follow the direction of my hon. Friend the Member for Slough and her all-party group, which has been working for a long time. The all-party group was founded by Anthony Steen, and apart from giving him his knighthood, which he has long deserved, they should take a lesson from it and go the whole way.

The first thing that troubles me is the definition. The six-step definition in the report has been dismissed as somehow too complicated. We took evidence from Lord Judge, who used to be one of the most senior judges in the land. His advice was: “If you want to do something and have a court do something, say what it is you want them to do; don’t muddle it up with complicated phrases.” However, as my hon. Friend the Member for Slough has pointed out, the Bill has a lot of complicated phrases—drawn from other Bills into one Bill—which do not simplify it at all, but probably complicate it for people.

For the simple definition in the Bill, we recommended that it cover the slavery of children and others, and that child exploitation offences should simply say:

“It is an offence to exploit a child”,

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“It is an offence for one person to obtain a benefit through the use of a child for the purpose of exploitation.”

People recognise such a definition. We took evidence on the very simplest way to do it from barristers who have prosecuted and defended, and it seems to us that the Government have missed an opportunity to lay out a law that would be recognised and used properly. Those offences were part of what we called a hierarchy, all six parts of which built bit by bit into a clear definition of what we are trying to stop.

Another point is about the protection of victims, including when a victim is turned into a criminal. My hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh North and Leith (Mark Lazarowicz) may not realise it, but we need to change the attitude of police forces and of the Border Force.

We met a young woman when we visited POPPY, who said: “I was trafficked, I was brought here in a boat. I had never been outside Africa before. I ended up in Liverpool. I was put into prostitution and moved around the country. I ran away and I went to the police because I always had this idea that British justice would free me if I could reach the police station. They threw me in a cell. They treated me like a criminal. They said I’d done all this just to get into the country and they put me into Yarl’s Wood.” It was only when POPPY met that young woman that her life of exploitation could be pieced together and she could be rescued. She is now in college in London.

The police should not treat people who are trafficked as criminals, and that also applies to Scotland. It is one of those coincidences, but I had a cannabis factory in the house next door until about nine months ago. By a police blunder, they got away, although I had warned the police six weeks before they fled. If the person in the house—the farmer—had been caught, they would now be in Polmont young offenders institution. There are three young people in that institution at the moment who were trafficked from Vietnam and used as farmers. They were caught, but the big people who brought them here—the people who make the money—did not get caught.

Kenny MacAskill, the Justice Minister in Scotland, said to me when he launched the review—Baroness Kennedy sat on the inquiry—that the then UK Border Agency, now the Border Force, was the problem and that it criminalised people. I have to say to Kenny MacAskill that the Scottish police, for which he is responsible, criminalised those young men who are in Polmont for being farmers in cannabis factories. We need to change the police attitude and the Border Force’s attitude. That would affect Scotland massively, because it applies to the whole UK. The Border Force is not just for England, but for everyone.

Mark Lazarowicz: Surely my hon. Friend’s point emphasises my point that there needs to be effective co-operation and liaison between enforcement agencies throughout the UK, no matter that separate legislation will be introduced for Scotland. That is precisely why we need to work together, and I hope that the Minister will speak about that in her response.

Michael Connarty: I do not in any way try to diminish my hon. Friend’s point, which he made very well. When I was outside Dungavel, which is basically Yarl’s Wood

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in Scotland, campaigning to have people released, I was told that it does not hold people for a long time. However, it is a little piece of English territory in Scotland because it is effectively run by the Home Office, not by any institution in Scotland. The point is that if we change the police attitude to the victims in England through the Bill, we will change it in all the other jurisdictions.

I have a plea, which I will not read out in full, from Graham O’Neill from the Scottish Refugee Council, who helped draft the Scottish Bill for Jenny Marra, our friend and Member of the Scottish Parliament who introduced the measure in Scotland. He said that,

“the biggest priority for Jenny and I is to secure at least a statutory right to assistance for survivors of modern slavery.”

They want that to be in our Bill, which would then be copied by the Scottish measure and would change the lives of victims universally.

ECPAT has written at length about the victims in its submission on the Bill. I will quote from it because it is a distillation of many years of work and advice to us:

“ECPAT UK’s work with trafficked children over the past decade has seen us campaign tirelessly for a system of legal guardianship in order to protect the best interests of children and uphold their rights. The Modern Slavery Bill has made provision for ‘Child Trafficking Advocates’, which represents a move in the right direction, but falls far short of a system of independent, legal guardianship that can adequately support and protect children and is in line with best practice across Europe and is recommended by international bodies.”

Guardianship is part of the directive that we signed up to—it is clear in the EU directive, but we have not implemented it correctly. ECPAT should be listened to on that. Independence is important.

The hon. Member for Salisbury spoke about foster care. It is not necessarily about foster care, but the fact that most of the children who are trafficked have language problems and, as people who have worked in this field for a long time said, feel closer to the trafficker than to the authorities. We must find a system that gives people someone who looks after them and someone they feel confident in, so that they do not wish to go to someone else who will re-traffic or re-exploit them.

Another issue is the independence of the commissioner. The Home Secretary assured me that only matters of endangering or exposing an individual, interfering with a possible criminal prosecution or questions of public security will be edited out by her. As I have long said, however, the commissioner must be entirely independent. The Bill must say that the Home Secretary shall provide those resources, shall give the commissioner powers, shall set them up independently, and that the commissioner shall be given rules to work to rather than having to go through the Home Secretary every time they want to publish anything, as they will live by those rules.

I have to disagree with the right hon. Member for Meriden, having been in the Netherlands and Finland a number of times. We have asked the ombudsperson in the Netherlands several times whether they are controlled by any Member of Parliament or Minister. They say, “No. I write what I see and I publish what I need to, and the Government have to take it into account, even if I am criticising the Government.” Interestingly, in the Netherlands, the ombudsperson was given the job of looking after both trafficking and child sexual exploitation,

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because there is so much confidence in that person’s independence. The Dutch are on to their second ombudsperson, and that situation remains. Until we change that provision, we have a problem.

The third and last thing I want to talk about—people expect me to talk about it—is the transparency of UK supply chains, because it is missing from the Bill. I do not know whether there is a problem at No. 10 Downing street, but someone is giving the Prime Minister such bad advice. He is running into his last year before the Government go to the polls. People will look at the Bill and say, “What made the Prime Minister be dragged kicking and screaming by Marks & Spencer, Tesco and Sainsbury’s to put something in the Bill that wasn’t previously there?” We know—I take it that people have good intelligence on this—that the Home Secretary wants to do something in the Bill about supply chains. Everybody knows. Eighty-two per cent. of people surveyed have said that they want a clause dealing with the transparency of UK supply chains in the Bill.

What Government would not go with the rub of the green in that situation? Only a Government who have some misguided idea that any kind of statutory regulation will somehow offend the public or the business community would do so. I cannot find that. I could find it when I tried to get a private Member’s Bill through, but it is much more difficult to convince people of an idea when it has not been given the blessing of Government time. When I spoke to the Ethical Trading Initiative, it said, “We want to see this.” The logic has been put forward by so many Members. Why should bad companies get away with it? Why should companies that want to rip off the public and sell them goods they know are tainted by slavery get away with it? Good companies do not want that, so we should level the playing field. I think Churchill wanted a minimum wage for that reason. He said bad companies undermine good companies, and the worst of companies undermine everyone.

It is quite clear that a narrative and a logic are leading the business community in that direction, as my hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh North and Leith (Mark Lazarowicz) and others have said, and as I have said all along. There is a kitemark on offer to companies that says, “We have the right kind of auditing. We are reporting on that auditing and we are getting rid of any errors we find.” When I was doing business economics at university, I was told that to find a problem was to find the jewel, because it would help people to improve their company. That is what the supply chains proposal is about.

Andrew Wallis of Unseen UK was dealing with this issue long before the Centre for Social Justice ever decided that it should take it up. I commend the CSJ for taking it up—it has taken it up later than Anthony Steen, later than the Human Trafficking Foundation and later than Unseen UK, but it has taken it up. Why will the Government not take it up? I do not understand what is going on.

I am going to say a word about domestic servants. There is absolutely no doubt that the Government have done something immoral in abolishing the domestic servant visa, as it was, when we find that 62% of domestic servants who come with people from other countries do not get paid a wage. Somebody talked about contracts. How can there be a contract with somebody who brings servants in as baggage with their family to look after

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their children and cook their food, and treats them so appallingly? The Government have abolished their right to leave their employer. All they can do is go home or stay with that employer. They are usually so tied in to families that they do not have a world outside. The little stipend they receive gets sent back to their families, who live in abject poverty in other countries.

Why will the Government not realise that what they have done has soiled their hands, as there are people enslaved in this country, under our very noses, with their complicity? Please do something about that. At least give us some sense that the Government have not completely lost their moral marbles.

5.56 pm

Chloe Smith (Norwich North) (Con): I pay tribute to all hon. Members who have spoken in the debate. Many compelling arguments have been made. I simply want to add a few brief comments.

It is absolutely clear to all concerned that slavery is one of the oldest and worst crimes. It is a most appalling thing to deprive another human being of their liberty. Slavery has not been eradicated as a crime—this is the very reason we are here discussing it once again under its modern guise—yet nor has it stayed still. It is a crime that has been able to evolve with technological changes, and as the countries of the world have come closer together. Other Members have made the argument well that there are both international and domestic elements to this abhorrent crime. In saying that the crime has evolved, I make no particular distinction between those elements at this point.

It is right that we update how we treat the crime and it is right that we do that in a considered way. The consolidation in part 1 of the Bill is helpful and will allow for a higher chance of successful prosecution. With that goes a more effective disruption of business that can flow from slavery. That is an extremely important and very practical thing. The consolidation also allows for clearer sentencing. I welcome the addition, as I understand it, of a potential life sentence for this crime. If we look down the list of other crimes that we treat as worthy of a life sentence—murder, attempted murder, conspiracy to murder, manslaughter, rape, attempted rape, grievous bodily harm, armed robbery and firearms offences—all of them are concerned with the life and liberty of other human beings. It is right that we put slavery in the same category.

I also welcome the move in part 1 to make reparations and provide compensation to those who have suffered this appalling crime. That links to the very reason we might think of slavery as a serious crime: the life and liberty of other human beings. Reparations for “harm resulting”, as set out in clause 9(1), are perhaps merely an effort to put money where life and liberty are concerned, but it is the right thing to do inasmuch as we ever seek to do that in the legal code.

I am a Member from Norfolk. I grew up in west Norfolk and am well aware of cases of exploitation, abuse and trafficking of migrant workers in my county. The gangmaster Audrius Morkunas, a Lithuanian national operating in my county, was convicted earlier this year. Ten years ago, in Operation Absent, police officers from around the country including Norfolk constabulary collaborated to free, in the words of Norfolk constabulary,

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“modern day slaves.” This is a crime about which we in Norfolk know all too much and the same would be true of other rural areas. This afternoon, I was discussing with my hon. Friend the Member for North East Cambridgeshire (Stephen Barclay) the way in which this crime is prevalent in our neck of the woods. I draw that example to say that modern slavery is prevalent in the sense that we can all see it under the surface of modern life in Britain.

I want to make one important point about the local and regional economy that we want to see flourish in this country. As a teenager, I worked in fields and factories in west Norfolk, where I grew up. In fact I may be alone in this House—I do not know—in having worked for a legitimate gangmaster. You may not think this of me, Mr Speaker, as I stand here today, but it is none the less the case. I worked alongside—and got to know as friends—various foreign workers at that time, Bulgarians in particular. I make no suggestion whatever of abuse at that time but it was easy for me to see how abuse could occur and how it could be perpetrated, particularly upon migrant workers. Good law is essential to protect those workers certainly, but also to protect the breadth of the local economy. When we talk about modern slavery being prevalent, it also does no good at all to our economy in Britain for people to perceive certain sectors of the economy as being the place where slavery occurs. Good law protects the victims who may be subject to genuine crime, but also protects the reputations of sectors of industry, such as agriculture, in Britain where we want to see good practice and good commerce thriving. That is very important and is something we care about, particularly in Norfolk where we value our agricultural industry.

I raise that as an additional argument to go with those that are being made about supply chains. Yes, there are lengthy supply chains that we want to be able to understand, but there are also some sectors of industry in this country that we want to see do well and where we want to see good law protect workers and customers.

On a local basis, I want to pay tribute to a charity operating in my constituency called Freedom. Hon. Members may be aware of it, as it was the charity that played an honourable role in the recent freeing of three slaves in Lambeth. Freedom took a phone call from one of the women concerned who had been held for 30 years in a household in London. That charity does extremely good work and I am extremely proud that it operates from a centre in Hellesdon in Norfolk, as well as other operations around the country. I want the provisions in the Bill to assist that charity and others like it to continue doing the very good work that they do.

Many of my constituents—whether they knew that that charity was based in Hellesdon or not—care very deeply about this Bill and about what it can do. I have corresponded with them in recent months, as have many other hon. Members. I know that the Minister has faced a few calls for improvements today within the Bill and I look forward to her comments on it. I wish to ask about part 4 of the Bill. Like others, I want this part to work and to function very well. However, there could be scope for determined criminals to use clause 39(3) and other clauses as a get-out. I would be interested to hear the Minister’s reassurance as to how she intends part 4 to be used to protect those who need it and not to allow it, in turn, to be abused.

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I add my call to that of others for sensible co-ordination with other areas of law. It so happens that all these areas are close to the Minister’s responsibility, and I am sure that she will have in mind how best to co-ordinate the provisions of this Bill with those that regulate gangmasters and with newer rules that regulate forced marriages. The visa system is also relevant, and I am pleased to see in his place on the Front Bench the Minister for Security and Immigration. All those areas come together naturally with this sort of legislation.

I began by noting the importance of consolidation in this area, and I welcome the fact that this important Bill is also a concise one, providing a simple toolkit to begin what I hope will be Britain’s leading role in the world in this extremely important area of human progress.

6.5 pm

Sammy Wilson (East Antrim) (DUP): I, too, welcome this Bill. Although it does not extend to Northern Ireland, I believe it is an important part of the framework for protecting individuals across the United Kingdom. I will have something to say about the Bill’s application to Northern Ireland in a few moments.

More than 200 years ago, slavery was accepted as part of the norm across the world. Christians in this country believed that it was wrong because all people were equal in the eyes of God. They found a champion in this House, which voted to abolish slavery. The power of the Royal Navy was used to stop international traders who continued to traffick people from Africa to America.

That manifestation of slavery was dealt with by this House. Where there are weak people and strong groups with no moral scruples, however, the exploitation of individuals will continue. More than 200 years later, we see that slavery is still being manifested in many ways. If this debate does anything, it will awaken many people to something that they perhaps did not know was occurring in the United Kingdom—slavery on our doorsteps.

I remember when the issue of slavery was raised in the Northern Ireland Assembly by my colleague, Lord Morrow, who found that people had been brought to the provincial town of Dungannon in his constituency, having been trafficked from other countries, used as prostitutes, beaten and held in captivity. I am sure that many people in Dungannon did not have a clue that was going on. Lord Morrow presented the evidence to the Northern Ireland Assembly, and is currently taking through a private Member’s Bill to deal with that particular issue.

I believe that the Government were sincere in their attempt to legislate, even with only one year of this Parliament left. As other Members have pointed out, a whole range of people have put great pressure on the Government to deal with this issue. I particularly welcome the Government’s recognition that those who are caught up in the slave trade need protection, and that if a case goes to a court of law people need to be sure that they can give evidence without intimidation. The court system and its advocates must help and guide people who might be strangers to our country through the process. We need tougher sentencing and advocates need to raise awareness of the problem with public authorities. I welcome all those aspects of what has been said needs to be done.

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Like other Members, I make criticisms of the Bill not because of a sense of churlishness, but because of a sense that if we are to have legislation, and if there is a genuine desire for that legislation, we should ensure that it is effective. I hope that my comments will not be seen as being totally negative, or as being an attack on the Government because I do not believe that they are trying to do their best.

Dr William McCrea (South Antrim) (DUP): After the House has passed legislation, is it not vital that the courts step up to the mark and take the matter seriously as well? The sentences that are given often do not fit the crime.

Sammy Wilson: I am pleased that the Bill enables sentences to be extended to life, which will give the courts an opportunity to deal properly with the criminals who are involved in the trade of slavery.

As a number of Members have pointed out, the Bill contains a notable omission. The best thing to do is to prevent slavery from happening in the first place. The hon. Member for Sheffield Central (Paul Blomfield) gave us a lot of information. How likely is it that companies that are using slave labour in the United Kingdom will be caught as a result of fewer inspections? I believe he said that there would be one inspection every 250 years, and that there was a chance of employers being convicted once in a million years. That is hardly going to focus the minds of those who use slave labour on the fact that the authorities are going to get them.

I know that one argument will be about the expense of inspections. As the hon. Member for Norwich North (Chloe Smith) pointed out, we know that certain areas and certain industries in the United Kingdom are more prone to using slave labour than others. If there are to be inspections, why can they not target likely employers? Some of them may have a record; there may be local knowledge. If such people are harassed, there may at least be a chance that they will desist from using the slave labour that they are currently exploiting.

It has rightly been said that the offences that have been specified are really just a gathering together of existing pieces of legislation. The fact is—and there may be a number of reasons for this—that the number of convictions has been very low. Even when people have been identified as engaging in the slave trade and using slaves, the percentage who are taken to court and are convicted is below a third. A small number of people are taken to court, and there is a small percentage of convictions. Moreover, given the complexity of the legislation, those cases often take a long time. A case in Northamptonshire involved 200 police officers; 13 arrests were made, and, three years down the line, there were two convictions.

As the hon. Member for Linlithgow and East Falkirk (Michael Connarty) pointed out, it is not that the Government do not benefit from good legal advice. I am not a barrister, but I know that legal advice has been sought on how the offence could be made simpler, more understandable and easier to prosecute. However, none of it has been included in the Bill. If we are to have effective legislation, let us not just gather together elements of legislation that have not been seen to be working so far; let us look at offences and define them in the Bill. Of course the Government may argue that consolidating

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the legislation and all the support that will be made available will increase the conviction rate, but if the legal opinion is that the plethora of laws at present causes complications, this is the time to change that.

The protection of children has been well highlighted. From her vast experience, the hon. Member for Wigan (Lisa Nandy) made it clear that we need separate definitions and separate measures to deal with the exploitation of children. I cannot understand—the Minister did not make it clear—why a definition of children would cause complications and perhaps lead to even fewer convictions. If the reason is to do with establishing the age, there is an easy way to deal with that. If there is some concern about establishing the age, put the individuals in the general legislation. Where it is clear that we are dealing with children, let us have separate legislation and a separate definition of children.

The next issue I want to raise is in relation to other parts of the UK. The Joint Committee pointed out that, although private Members’ legislation does mirror the Bill, it does not totally mirror it. One easy option would be to ask the Northern Ireland Assembly to pass a legislative consent motion, so that the legislation would apply in Northern Ireland. The alternative is to take separate legislation through the Assembly, but given the length of time it takes to get some legislation through the Assembly, the legislation might be passed not in this Session of Parliament or the next, but the one after that. That gap causes great concern in one particular area: the seizure of assets and their use to recompense victims.

If assets are kept in Northern Ireland or Scotland, will it be possible to pull those assets in when someone is convicted of using slave labour in England and Wales, or will it be much more difficult? In Northern Ireland, we have an added complication. I know that the hon. Member for Foyle (Mark Durkan) tried to dismiss the point I made earlier but it was also highlighted by the Joint Committee. The National Crime Agency is not able to operate fully in Northern Ireland because that is being blocked by the Social Democratic and Labour party and by Sinn Fein. That in turn creates a difficulty in dealing with the trafficking gangs, who may see places such as Northern Ireland as a haven from which they can operate.

Mark Durkan: Again, I make the point that the debate has nothing to do with the National Crime Agency and the wider issues in Northern Ireland. The SDLP’s concerns in that regard do not relate to the issue of asset recovery and never have.

Sammy Wilson: The SDLP’s concerns may not relate to the recovery of assets from criminals but, because the National Crime Agency legislation cannot apply to Northern Ireland, the fact is that the issue is all tied up with the blockage that has occurred, owing to the attitude of Sinn Fein and the SDLP.

On the issue of corporate supply, the use of slave labour in the supply of materials from many developing countries is a multi-billion pound industry. It is worth while for slave traders to use slave labour, given the rewards. There have been impassioned pleas to the Government to include that matter in the legislation. There does not even seem to be any commercial argument against that, at least not from firms that want to demonstrate

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corporate responsibility. In fact, if anything they appear to be arguing that the market is flawed if we do not have legislation to protect firms who wish to do the right thing in respect of their supply chains, because otherwise they are undercut by the gangsters and the criminals.

I find it very odd that on one hand we will legislate for what goes into our food—for what is in a burger—but we do not seem to be concerned about how it is made, who it is made by or what conditions they work in. We do not seem to think it causes any difficulty for firms to have traceability for the ingredients, but somehow or other it creates commercial difficulties if we want traceability regarding the labour force used in making goods that are sold here in the United Kingdom.

Given that I did not hear any Members on the Government’s side resisting the calls from the other side of the House for transparency in corporate supply chains to be included, and given that major organisations in the United Kingdom have said they have no difficulty with this, but, indeed, they would welcome it, I trust that as this Bill goes through the House, that will also be included.

This is an important Bill. I commend the Government for bringing it forward, and I commend the Secretary of State for the energy she has put into it and the commitment she has made, but I hope the criticisms that have been made and the shortcomings that have been highlighted will be taken on board and addressed during the Committee stage.

6.21 pm

Sir Andrew Stunell (Hazel Grove) (LD): First, may I apologise to you, Mr Speaker, and the Home Secretary for having missed the first 20 minutes of the debate, but it is good to be here and to be the 20th Back Bencher to speak? I start by saying that, I think for the first time in my life and quite possibly the last, I agree with every word the hon. Member for East Antrim (Sammy Wilson) said—every last dot and comma.

I congratulate the Home Secretary and the Government on bringing the Bill forward, and on the good intentions behind it and the hard work they have put into listening. I believe, as a Member of the Joint Committee, that it was good that there was strong interaction between Ministers, officials and the Committee, and the report we produced was a very good one. It is interesting that all the speeches I have heard from the Back Benches on both sides of the House have entirely supported elements, or all, of that Joint Committee report, and in summary what I might say, apart from repeat the contents of the speech of the hon. Member for East Antrim, is simply, “Please revisit the recommendations of the Joint Committee report that you haven’t felt able to accept so far, and see whether, in the light of this debate, you should consider them again.”

At the heart of this has got to be how we treat victims. First, we have got to recognise that they are victims. Secondly, we have got to give them the protection they need to make sure we get convictions of those who are organising and driving these evil webs of crime. We took plenty of evidence to show that victims live in fear often long after they have been liberated. Too often they finish up defecting back to their abusers or going back home and being recycled yet again as a victim. Too often cases collapse because victims’ evidence will not

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stand up and the Director of Public Prosecutions does not believe that a conviction can be secured with such witnesses, or if they do go to court, that the witnesses will not provide the evidence they should be able to provide. The hon. Member for Wigan (Lisa Nandy) gave a specific example of a young lad of eight who insisted that his lawyer be instructed to give evidence that the man who was managing him was his father, not a trafficker.

We can see that there are fundamental problems with the current system and the Joint Committee recommended ways to tackle that. I will not rehearse them all, but it is a pity that, although the Government have moved on from the existing jumble of offences spread over many different statutes and got them into one place, they still have the jumble. That is one of the points on which attention needs to be focused. There is clearly a difference between being a victim as a defence against prosecution, and having a non-prosecution clause. Again, the Committee was clear on what it thought would be best in that regard, and I hope the Home Secretary, whom I am delighted to see is here listening, can reconsider.

Another aspect is the care of victims. There are many complex processes. As has been said, the police and social services may be involved—the immigration services are certainly likely to be involved—and that is three just to start with. It is difficult to imagine how those who do not speak the language—particularly the young person who has little education and perhaps no literacy, who is in awe of their slave master and comes from a culture where authorities are instinctively distrusted—can navigate that system. The evidence we took and the Committee’s proposals concerning advocates are very important in that regard.

I welcome the pilots that are being commissioned and I hope they will produce results, although it has to be said that a pilot that is evaluated after only six months is probably not going to give a long enough run for us to be really sure what we have got. When victims of trafficking are rescued and acknowledged— the acknowledgment process may be difficult—they have up to 45 days of support, on a contract that is organised very well by the Salvation Army. However, after the 45 days there is absolutely nothing, and no further support is available.

All these deficiencies can be put right, but who is going to manage the process of putting them right? At this point, I want to say a word or two about the anti-slavery commissioner. In her evidence to the Joint Committee and earlier today, the Home Secretary pointed out that this is going to be a world-leading model of how to tackle modern slavery, and I welcome that absolutely. However, I wonder whether we would recommend to the Governments of the Philippines, Bangladesh or Nigeria, for example, that they should have an independent anti-slavery commissioner who is a civil servant embedded in their ministry of the interior. It is not just about creating a credible system that will work for victims and will work here. If we are going to be world leaders in this regard, let us set an example and not create something that is obscured by a typically British fog of accountability, which we can usually get away with because our systems have integrity and our ministries have Chinese walls. All of that is true, but we

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could be proud to be an advocate of a worldwide system of anti-slavery commissioners that is independent of Governments. I hope the Home Secretary will be open to considering that.

I did not hear any Back Bencher say that they thought it a bad idea to extend this legislation to include supply chains. Some 16 of the 20 speakers said that they thought doing so was highly desirable, and were surprised that such a provision was not included. I hope that that straw poll of participants in this debate will be evidence that the Home Secretary and the Government take to heart. Perhaps she will want officials to draft a note of this debate and make sure that relevant members of the Cabinet in other Departments are aware of the opinions of this House. That evidence and the evidence given to us in the report show that if we do not regulate supply chains and we rely on Marks & Spencer, Primark, John Lewis and so on to have their own standards, we will be increasing the profit margins and the attractiveness of the slave labour sector. The cost of complying with their own voluntary codes will be an on cost for the products they sell to people, so relying on a voluntary code is increasing the profit margins of the slave owners around the world. The right hon. Member for Birkenhead (Mr Field) was rightly well commended by others, and he pointed out that we can do this by adding five words to the Companies Act 2006. These are five words that the industry wants and that this House wants, and they are five words that cost the Government nothing in public expenditure. I hope very much that we will see that provision as well.

Like everybody who has spoken, I could easily say another 100 things about the Bill, but I will not do so. I started by endorsing the Home Secretary’s initiative on this vital concern, and what I have said is not, in any way, designed to undermine it; rather, it is to help her to deliver a truly world-leading reform. I look forward to working with my Liberal Democrat colleagues, with colleagues on the Opposition Benches and with my coalition colleagues in Committee and in the House of Lords to make sure that that is exactly what we get.

6.31 pm

Diana Johnson (Kingston upon Hull North) (Lab): We all welcome this piece of legislation. The Home Secretary said that it would lead the world in tackling exploitation, and I know that much has been said today about the role played by William Wilberforce and his attempt over many years to abolish the slave trade. Of course, as a Hull MP, I am always very mindful that William Wilberforce was a Member of Parliament for Hull, and we now have the Wilberforce Institute for the study of Slavery and Emancipation at the university of Hull to mark the amazing thing that he did.

The Opposition are very pleased to have the Bill’s Second Reading debate today. It was important to note that the Government produced a draft Bill first, and we had the benefit of pre-legislative scrutiny of that Bill. I wish to pay tribute to the Joint Committee that carried out that scrutiny: my right hon. Friend the Member for Birkenhead (Mr Field); my hon. Friends the Members for Slough (Fiona Mactaggart) and for Linlithgow and East Falkirk (Michael Connarty); the right hon. Member for Uxbridge and South Ruislip (Sir John Randall); the hon. Member for Congleton (Fiona Bruce); the right hon. Members for Hazel Grove (Sir Andrew Stunell)

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and for Meriden (Mrs Spelman); and some Members of the other place. From reading their excellent report, it seems to me that they heard from witnesses from a wide range of charities, churches and other bodies. The proposals the Committee made greatly improved that original draft Bill.

The Government have accepted some changes proposed as a result of the pre-legislative scrutiny, but not as many as they need to accept. Given the contributions we have heard from Members from all parts of the House today, I hope that the Home Secretary and the Minister will look at again at some of the proposals in the report. I wish briefly to discuss some of the excellent contributions we have had today. We have had a wide-ranging debate, with lots of contributions. I wish to pay tribute to my hon. Friend the Member for Slough as the excellent chair of the all-party group on human trafficking and modern day slavery and to agree with her compliment to the role that Anthony Steen played in ensuring that Parliament took this issue seriously. I know that we are not allowed to refer to him sitting in the Box, but I know that he has been listening carefully to our debate this afternoon.

My hon. Friend talked about the three Ps: prevention, prosecution and protection. She raised concerns about the Bill’s particular focus just on prosecution, and spoke about the need to have well-constructed offences and whether we needed to look again at the way the offences are currently drafted. She made the important point about the need for simple language to describe the offences to ensure that we push up the number of prosecutions. She also raised issues about separate offences for children, which I will come on to in a minute, and the role of the anti-slavery commissioner being strengthened, as well as the domestic worker visa and the Gangmasters Licensing Authority.

My hon. Friend the Member for Foyle (Mark Durkan) also talked about how important it was that there was the non-prosecution of victims, and he welcomed the statutory defence in clause 39, as did the right hon. Member for Hazel Grove.

My hon. Friend the Member for Wigan (Lisa Nandy), who brings enormous experience to the debate from her work with trafficked children, made a passionate case for the improvements that she wants to see in the Bill. She spoke with great knowledge on the issues around age. In particular, she mentioned the idea that has been raised by the Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association in the past about having age assessment centres in regions around the country, which is something that the Bill Committee may wish to look further at. She said that this was a golden opportunity to get the law right on guardians for children.

My hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield Central (Paul Blomfield) talked about prevention, and he argued very passionately for the GLA to have its reach extended to construction, the care sector and hospitality. My hon. Friend the Member for Bristol East (Kerry McCarthy), in her role as a shadow Minister in the Foreign Office, talked about her discussions with the Pacific Links charity and the international angle to this legislation. She also spoke very well about the consumer power issue only going so far, and the need for legislation on supply chains.

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In his opening remarks, my right hon. Friend the Member for Birkenhead said that it seemed from the debate that the Bill was one that the House very much wanted to fashion, and, given the number of ideas that were coming forward about how the Bill could be improved, he was absolutely right. The particular points he raised were around children and the supply chain and the need to support victims. He said that this was a good Bill that could become a world-class Bill.

My hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh North and Leith (Mark Lazarowicz) made the case for the cross-nation work that needs to take place within the United Kingdom. My hon. Friend the Member for Linlithgow and East Falkirk, who speaks with great knowledge and experience about the supply chain, referred to his private Member’s Bill. He expressed his views very strongly, saying, why stop when we are three-quarters of the way up the mountain. He said why not go to the top of the mountain and make this a world-class Bill.

I also want to refer to the hon. Member for Chatham and Aylesford (Tracey Crouch) who said that she had read somewhere that anyone who is interested in this particular piece of legislation would have to be a left-wing feminista. I just want to say to her that we left-wing feministas welcome right-wing feministas too, and we think the fact that the debate has gone on across the House shows that there is cross-party support for this piece of legislation. She urged her Front-Bench team to be bold and brave.

There were many other contributions to the debate this afternoon. The need for more positive public awareness and public information was made by the hon. Members for Mid Derbyshire (Pauline Latham) and for South West Bedfordshire (Andrew Selous). The hon. Gentleman also talked about the need for a global and a local perspective. There was a welcome for the duty to notify in clause 44 from the hon. Member for Enfield, Southgate (Mr Burrowes). There were a number of contributions about the need for specific provisions around the supply chain. The hon. Member for Central Devon (Mel Stride), who said that he was a dyed-in-the-wool pro-business Conservative, made the case for why there should be legislation on the supply chain and talked about the Californian Act and how that might be a sensible way forward.

The right hon. Member for Meriden called for the proposal on the Companies Act 2006, which was mentioned by the Joint Committee, to be brought forward, as did the right hon. Member for Uxbridge and South Ruislip, and he told us that Richard Branson backed that idea, too. The hon. Member for Arfon (Hywel Williams) and the hon. Member for Norwich North (Chloe Smith) also talked about the supply chain, and the hon. Lady talked about the use of agricultural workers and how important it was to ensure they were protected.

There is obviously a need for strong support for child victims and the case for that was made by the hon. Member for Salisbury (John Glen). The case for strengthening the role of the anti-slavery commissioner was made by the hon. Member for North East Cambridgeshire (Stephen Barclay). The court’s ability to punish with sentences of up to life imprisonment was welcomed by the hon. Member for East Antrim (Sammy Wilson), who also talked about the fact that the National Crime Agency does not operate in Northern Ireland.

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We want to see improvements to the Bill in five areas. We think that there are some concerns about the drafting of the offences, as the definitions are not always consistent, but we want to work with the Government to see whether we can improve them.

We will table amendments on a specific offence of child trafficking and exploitation. We also want to push the idea of having full child guardians. I listened with care to what my hon. Friend the Member for Wigan said about acting in a child’s best interests and that might be something that a guardian would be able to do whereas an advocate would not.

On the question of support for victims, we feel that the remit of the anti-slavery commissioner needs to be extended and that there needs to be more independence from the Home Office. We also believe that a statutory basis for the national referral mechanism should be included in the Bill. There are various other technical issues that we will want to debate in Committee, including the 45-day reflection period, reparations and the strength of the non-prosecution clauses.

Let me return to the issue of the supply chain. The Joint Committee called for provisions on the supply chain to be included, but no clauses in the Bill relate to it. We will table amendments to put that right and we believe that it is correct that large companies should show and report on what they are doing to eradicate slavery. We believe that that has widespread support from industry and business. We think that the point about domestic workers needs to be debated in Committee, as does the question of extending the GLA into other industries.

Many speakers in the debate have described the nature of modern slavery and, along with those mentioned in the opening remarks of the shadow Home Secretary, my right hon. Friend the Member for Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford (Yvette Cooper), and in my comments, we will table amendments that we believe are needed for the Bill to diminish the trade in this century. William Wilberforce told the House in May 1789 that

“we can no longer plead ignorance, we can not evade it”.

We can all agree that Britain can again play a leading international role in fighting slavery, as we did 200 years ago when Wilberforce was successful. If we get this legislation right, it will strike a huge blow for freedom, but it will be a tragic missed opportunity for slavery’s victims if we fail to produce a world-class piece of legislation. As William Wilberforce said:

“Accustom yourself to look first to the dreadful consequences of failure; then fix your eye on the glorious prize which is before you”.

6.43 pm

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (Karen Bradley): This has been an excellent debate, which has shown the House at its best. I am grateful to all hon. Members who have contributed, and I take their contributions and suggestions in the spirit in which they were intended. I also welcome the cross-party support for the Bill.

We all want the same thing: to stamp out slavery and make it clear that there is no place for anybody who wants to abuse human beings as slaves in this country.

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I hope that we can all work together to achieve that aim. The experiences of coming into contact with victims of modern slavery are always harrowing. I would describe my life before I took this job as the Minister with responsibility for modern slavery and organised crime as one of blissful ignorance. I had no idea about the scale of the problem, the extent of it, its depth or breadth, how it affects towns and cities across the country and how it affects all communities. The victims I have met and the stories I have heard have deeply affected me. Each one brings home just how difficult it is to tackle this crime.

Throughout debate on the Bill, we must remember the immense misery and trauma experienced by the victims of this crime. Held against their will, with no means of escape, they often endure rape, violence and psychological torture. That is why it is so unacceptable that slavery is still a fact of life in this country.

The Bill will make a real difference. It is critical to improving the law enforcement response to modern slavery. It will ensure that perpetrators can receive the sentences they deserve, including life imprisonment. It will strengthen our powers to recover their ill-gotten assets, and it will enhance protection for victims of this heinous crime. We cannot safeguard victims if we do not catch and convict the perpetrators. The actions that we are taking, both in the Bill and outside it—changes to policy, the trials and the reviews of existing mechanisms that we are undertaking—are all aimed at achieving that.

The Bill has the potential to be even more than a crucial step towards stamping out slavery in this country. It will send an important signal to the wider world that the time has come to take firm action to end global slavery. That message is even stronger after today’s debate because of the degree of cross-party support for the Bill and the commitment that right hon. and hon. Members have shown to the cause in their contributions. Today’s debate builds on the excellent work of the pre-legislative scrutiny Committee, which has helped to shape the Bill. I am grateful to the members of that Committee and welcome the important contributions today from the right hon. Member for Birkenhead (Mr Field), my right hon. Friends the Members for Meriden (Mrs Spelman), for Uxbridge and South Ruislip (Sir John Randall) and for Hazel Grove (Sir Andrew Stunell), and the hon. Members for Slough (Fiona Mactaggart) and for Linlithgow and East Falkirk (Michael Connarty).

During the debate a large number of Members identified areas where the Bill might adopt a different approach. I understand hon. Members’ deep commitment to using the Bill to make a difference on a wide range of issues and I will continue to work on both the Bill and the non-legislative ways in which we can tackle this horrendous crime. However, I urge hon. Members not to endanger the passage of the Bill in a very short Session of Parliament by trying to widen its scope. The Bill is a crucial first step, which will make a real difference to the lives of the victims of the appalling crime of modern slavery. By focusing on the very serious offences of slavery and trafficking, it will give law enforcement the clearest possible signal that Parliament wants these crimes stamped out, but it is a first step and I am determined that we will deliver it in the short Session that we have available.

Fiona Mactaggart: Will the Minister give way?

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Karen Bradley: Time is short, and I would like to cover as many points as possible. I give a commitment to all Members who made contributions that if I do not respond to them during this winding-up speech, I will write to every one of them and involve them all in the work that we are doing. I am sure that in Committee we will discuss in detail all the points that were made, and I commit to look closely at all the issues raised before we start the line-by-line scrutiny upstairs.

We heard from 21 Members in full contributions and interventions. We had contributions from the hon. Members for Slough, for Foyle (Mark Durkan), for Wigan (Lisa Nandy), and for Sheffield Central (Paul Blomfield), the right hon. Member for Birkenhead, the hon. Members for Bristol East (Kerry McCarthy), for Arfon (Hywel Williams), for Edinburgh North and Leith (Mark Lazarowicz), for Linlithgow and East Falkirk and for East Antrim (Sammy Wilson), from my hon. Friends the Members for Mid Derbyshire (Pauline Latham), for Central Devon (Mel Stride), for Chatham and Aylesford (Tracey Crouch), for North East Cambridgeshire (Stephen Barclay), for Enfield, Southgate (Mr Burrowes) and for South West Bedfordshire (Andrew Selous), and from my right hon. Friends the Members for Meriden and for Uxbridge and South Ruislip, my hon. Friends the Members for Salisbury (John Glen) and for Norwich North (Chloe Smith) and my right hon. Friend the Member for Hazel Grove.

On the specific issues that were raised, I must start with the right hon. Member for Birkenhead. He has done tremendous work in this field and been a real leader. His work on the pre-legislative scrutiny Committee has been outstanding, but as always he pushed the envelope slightly with the Deputy Speaker in some of his comments and references. I know he will be forgiven for that. It was astute of him to spot that it was the women who were driving the measure through. The three whom he mentioned show that it takes a woman to make these things happen on occasions. He also took an important intervention from the hon. Member for North Antrim (Ian Paisley), who is not in his place, about the work of the NGOs and the charities on this matter. It is vital that we recognise that those organisations help to support the victims. They have amazing experience and they know how to make sure that the victims have the best support. It is our job in this place and in government to give the NGOs the support that they require and let them get on and do the work that they do so well.

The hon. Member for Wigan shared her great personal experience of the issue. I was very interested to hear all her contributions. I would very much like to discuss these matters further with her—not just the Bill but the NRM review and how we can deal with her concerns about children. I was interested in the work that she talked about with the former UK Border Agency, which, as she knows, no longer exists. I was at Gatwick last week to meet the anti-trafficking team there and it is clear from her description of the work that she did with UKBA many years ago that that work is now taken into account on the front line of Border Force, which is acutely aware of the difficulties of dealing with child victims of trafficking and ensuring that they are properly looked after and supported. I was impressed with the work that I saw and I would like to share that with the hon. Member for Wigan if possible.

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The right hon. Member for Uxbridge and South Ruislip claimed that he was repeating what had been said before. We all find that difficult to believe because he always gives a different perspective in what he says. I liked his comment that modern slavery was a Cinderella crime. I shall start thinking of the slavemasters as stepmothers and ugly sisters. That might help explain it to people outside this place who have not heard the victims’ stories that we have heard. His points about raising awareness and education and his comment that we should all become advocates for this issue were incredibly important. I am sure that we will all leave here happy to talk to our constituents and explain to them why this heinous crime needs to be tackled.

My hon. Friend the Member for Mid Derbyshire referred to the work of the Bishop of Derby, who was a member of the pre-legislative scrutiny Committee. As he is relatively local to my constituency, I know that he does an incredible amount of work. She said that there should be a hotline or place where people could go to report what they had seen. We are working with the NSPCC to develop an appropriate hotline, which we will launch later this summer. There will be one place where people know they can go to report instances of the crime that they have seen.

My hon. Friend the Member for Central Devon talked about what Wilberforce had to go through 200 years ago, but he made an important point about the difference between slavery then and today. Then it was a visible, acceptable crime. People did not actually think of it as a crime. It happened in front of them. Today, we all know that slavery is abhorrent; it is not something that we should tolerate in our society. Yet people do not know how to spot the signs of it; they do not know how to deal with it; they do not know where to go to report it. The Bill and other measures will help to address that problem.

My hon. Friend the Member for Chatham and Aylesford referred to comments on Twitter about this being an obsession of left-wing feministas. As a right-wing feminista like her, I am proud that it is our obsession. I also experienced a Twitter moment when I was asked last night why we have a Minister for modern slavery when slavery is illegal. That is a good point, and it perhaps brings home the deficiencies of social media. She also talked, as did my hon. Friends the Members for South West Bedfordshire, for Enfield, Southgate and for North East Cambridgeshire of the work of local police forces. From an operational and policy point of view, we need to work to ensure that local police forces know the signs of this crime, know where to report it and share intelligence so that we can prosecute the perpetrators and make sure that they get the punishment that they deserve.

My hon. Friend the Member for Norwich North talked about the situation in rural communities and how she had once been an employee of a legitimate gangmaster, which was interesting to hear. I am sure nobody in the House would have any ideas about the Whips Office being anything like that—my hon. Friend and I shared time in the Whips Office—but her point about rural workers and migrant workers is important. I recently visited Devon and Cornwall police, which has dedicated migrant worker police community support officers who work closely with the Gangmasters Licensing Authority and others to identify the signs of trafficking,

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slavery and exploitation. All that work is incredibly important, and we need to see more of it being rolled out across the country.

The hon. Member for East Antrim talked about the Bill raising awareness, which is also an important point. The more we talk about and consider the Bill, the more that people outside the House will see that the Government are concerned about the issue and are taking action. I therefore thank him for his contribution.

The hon. Member for Arfon highlighted the interesting disparity between income levels in the countries from which trafficking victims often travel. Again, one of the strange parts of the crime is that the victims of trafficking often want to be trafficked, if that makes sense, because they feel that they are leaving something worse to go to something better. It is only when they get to their destination, having committed an immigration crime by allowing themselves to be trafficked, that they are exploited as a slave. I am pleased that we have introduced a statutory defence in the Bill that ensures that anyone who has committed an immigration crime, not knowing that they would end up being abused as a slave, will be protected.[Official Report, 17 July 2014, Vol. 584, c. 7-8MC.]

The hon. Members for Edinburgh North and Leith, for Foyle and for Linlithgow and East Falkirk, and others, raised concerns about the devolved Administrations. Although the Bill has territorial extent only in England and Wales, it goes so far as to cover the devolved Administrations. We are working closely with the devolved Administrations, and we are ensuring that, where there are gaps that we know how to fill, the offence will be dealt with throughout the country, not just in England and Wales.

My hon. Friend the Member for Norwich North talked about the possibility of the statutory defence being used as a loophole. I reassure her that the defence will include clear safeguards. For example, the defence will apply only to victims of trafficking or slavery who have been compelled to commit the offence as a direct consequence of their enslavement or trafficking and where a reasonable person in the same situation would have had no realistic alternative but to act in a similar way. I look forward to debating all those issues and more in Committee. The victims should be at the heart of our further deliberations on the Bill, and I have no doubt that the true mark of the Bill’s success will be fewer victims whose lives are blighted by modern slavery.

If the House will indulge me, this is the first debate in which I have spoken for two years, as I have spent a significant amount of time in the Whips Office. The last time I was able to contribute to a debate was on behalf of a vulnerable constituent, and I was very proud to be able to stand up for my constituent in that debate. I am even prouder to return to speaking in this House to stand up for all the vulnerable victims of slavery and to see this crime being tackled and stamped out. This is my message to anyone out there who feels that they can abuse and use victims of slavery: “There is no home for you in this country. We will find you, we will prosecute you and we will lock you up.”

Question put and agreed to.

Bill accordingly read a Second time.

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Modern Slavery Bill (Programme)

Motion made, and Question put forthwith (Standing Order No. 83A(7)),

That the following provisions shall apply to the Modern Slavery Bill:


1. The Bill shall be committed to a Public Bill Committee.

Proceedings in Public Bill Committee

2. Proceedings in the Public Bill Committee shall (so far as not previously concluded) be brought to a conclusion on Tuesday 14 October 2014.

3. The Public Bill Committee shall have leave to sit twice on the first day on which it meets.

Consideration and Third Reading

4. Proceedings on Consideration shall (so far as not previously concluded) be brought to a conclusion one hour before the moment of interruption on the day on which those proceedings are commenced.

5. Proceedings on Third Reading shall (so far as not previously concluded) be brought to a conclusion at the moment of interruption of that day.

6. Standing Order No. 83B (Programming committees) shall not apply to proceedings on Consideration and Third Reading.

Other proceedings

7. Any other proceedings on the Bill (including any proceedings on consideration of Lords Amendments or any further message from the Lords) may be programmed.—(Anne Milton.)

Question agreed to.

Modern Slavery Bill (Money)

Queen’s recommendation signified.

Motion made, and Question put forthwith (Standing Order No. 52(1)(a)),

That, for the purposes of any Act resulting from the Modern Slavery Bill, it is expedient to authorise the payment out of money provided by Parliament of:

(1) any expenditure incurred under or by virtue of the Act by the Secretary of State, and

(2) any increase attributable to the Act in the sums payable under any other Act out of money so provided.—(Anne Milton.)

Question agreed to.

Business without Debate

Supply and Appropriation (main estimates) Bill

Motion made, and Question put forthwith (Standing Order No. 56), That the Bill be now read a Second time.

Question agreed to.

Bill accordingly read a Second time.

Question put forthwith, That the Bill be now read the Third time.

Question agreed to.

Bill accordingly read the Third time and passed.

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Delegated Legislation

Madam Deputy Speaker (Mrs Eleanor Laing): With the leave of the House, we shall take motions 5 to 10 together.

Motion made, and Question put forthwith (Standing Order No. 118(6)),


That the draft Public Bodies (Abolition of Food from Britain) Order 2014, which was laid before this House on 6 May 2014, in the last Session of Parliament, be approved.

Legal Aid and Advice

That the draft Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (Amendment of Schedule 1: injunctions to prevent gang-related violence) Order 2014, which was laid before this House on 9 June, be approved.

Financial Services and Markets

That the draft Banking Act 2009 (Exclusion of Investment Firms of a Specified Description) Order 2014, which was laid before this House on 5 June, be approved.

That the draft Banking Act 2009 (Banking Group Companies) Order 2014, which was laid before this House on 5 June, be approved.

That the draft Banking Act 2009 (Third Party Compensation Arrangements for Partial Property Transfers) (Amendment) Regulations 2014, which were laid before this House on 5 June, be approved.

That the draft Banking Act 2009 (Restriction of Partial Property Transfers) (Recognised Central Counterparties) Order 2014, which was laid before this House on 9 June, be approved.—(Anne Milton.)

Question agreed to.

Madam Deputy Speaker: With the leave of the House, we shall take motions 11 to 14 together.

Motion made, and Question put forthwith (Standing Order No. 118(6)),

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European Union

That the draft European Union (Definition of Treaties) (Partnership and Cooperation Agreement) (Iraq) Order 2014, which was laid before this House on 9 June, be approved.

That the draft European Union (Definition of Treaties) (Partnership and Cooperation Agreement) (Vietnam) Order 2014, which was laid before this House on 9 June, be approved.

That the draft European Union (Definition of Treaties) (Partnership and Cooperation Agreement) (Philippines) Order 2014, which was laid before this House on 9 June, be approved.

That the draft European Union (Definition of Treaties) (Partnership and Cooperation Agreement) (Mongolia) Order 2014, which was laid before this House on 9 June, be approved.—(Anne Milton.)

Question agreed to.

Madam Deputy Speaker: With the leave of the House, we shall take motions 15 to 20 together.

Motion made, and Question put forthwith (Standing Order No. 118(6)),


That the draft Contracts for Difference (Electricity Supplier Obligations) Regulations 2014, which were laid before this House on 23 June, be approved.

That the draft Contracts for Difference (Definition of Eligible Generator) Regulations 2014, which were laid before this House on 23 June, be approved.

That the draft Electricity Market Reform (General) Regulations 2014, which were laid before this House on 23 June, be approved.

That the draft Contracts for Difference (Standard Terms) Regulations 2014, which were laid before this House on 23 June, be approved.

That the draft Electricity Capacity Regulations 2014, which were laid before this House on 23 June, be approved.

That the draft Contracts for Difference (Allocation) Regulations 2014, which were laid before this House on 30 June, be approved.—(Anne Milton.)

Question agreed to.

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RAF Fast Jets

Motion made, and Question proposed, That this House do now adjourn.—(Anne Milton.)

7.2 pm

Angus Robertson (Moray) (SNP): I am grateful for the opportunity to highlight the safety of Royal Air Force fast jets, a subject that concerns the safety of RAF personnel, civilian air traffic and all those who use it, as well as communities under the flight paths of RAF fast jets.

At present the RAF operates three types of fast jet: the Hawk trainer, which flies from RAF Valley on Ynys Môn, or Anglesey; the Tornado, which flies from RAF Marham in Norfolk and RAF Lossiemouth in my constituency of Moray; and the Typhoon, which is operating from RAF Lossiemouth and RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire. In the near future, the RAF and the Royal Navy will operate the F-35 Lightning from RAF Marham.

As anybody who has seen any of those aircraft in flight will attest, they operate at incredible speeds, which can reach over 1,000 mph. The cost of a single fast jet ranges from around £20 million each for a Hawk to around £100 million each for an F-35. RAF personnel are trained to exceptionally high standards over a long and sustained period and on an ongoing basis throughout their entire career. I have had the good fortune while representing Moray to get to know a great many of those personnel, and I hold them in the highest regard, both personally and professionally.

There are many aspects of fast jet safety that I could highlight, but in the time available this evening I will concentrate my remarks on the risk of mid-air collision. Sadly, air proximity risks are all too common in UK airspace. Official statistics from the UK Airprox Board show that between 1998 and 2013 there were 361 airprox events involving Tornado jets, of which at least 46 were in the most dangerous “Risk Category A”, meaning that a risk of an actual collision occurred, and of those at least eight involving two Tornadoes. Data on airprox incidents between 2000 and 2012 reveal that the number of airprox incidents involving Tornado jets was higher than for all other types of aircraft, both civilian and military, and that Tornadoes have been involved in 12% of all incidents.

Of course, there have also been airprox incidents involving other types of fast jet. One year ago, there was a detailed report on Wales Online about a near collision between Hawk jets above Aberystwyth. The pilots had the benefit of a collision warning system—also known as a traffic collision avoidance system—on board their aircraft, which alerted them with the warning, “Traffic, Traffic,” and the collision was averted. That example shows that the CWS or TCAS is installed in Hawk jets. It is mandatory on commercial airliners and it is installed across most of the RAF fleet, but not on Tornadoes or Typhoons.

Last week was the second anniversary of the 2012 collision of two Tornado fast jets from RAF Lossiemouth above the Moray firth. Three brave, dedicated and professional personnel were killed in the collision—Flight Lieutenant Hywel Poole, Squadron Leader Sam Bailey and Flight Lieutenant Adam Sanders—and a fourth was seriously injured. We pay our tributes to them today

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and I am sure that the thoughts of everyone in this Chamber are with their families, friends and colleagues at RAF Lossiemouth and elsewhere. The death of service personnel in accidents, especially if they are avoidable, is particularly painful.

Just prior to the anniversary last week, the Military Aviation Authority’s service inquiry report on the 2012 Tornado collision was published. It concluded that there were 17 contributory factors, including the absence of a collision warning system, which, as I have said, is mandatory on civilian aircraft and is installed across most of the RAF fleet, but not on Tornadoes or Typhoons.

The inquiry reported that the need for a collision warning system was highlighted within the Ministry of Defence 24 years ago, following a collision in 1990. Through the dogged research of air safety campaigner Jimmy Jones, who worked as an RAF Nimrod engineer, and from freedom of information inquiries and parliamentary questions answered by the MOD, we know that in the early to late 1990s there was an extensive collision warning system development programme that led the MOD to believe it was feasible. The report highlights the inclusion and feasibility at paragraph

For the sake of clarification, will the Minister confirm in his summing up that an extensive collision warning system development programme was started in the early 1990s and that it led the MoD to believe that it was feasible? That start date is essential in understanding what I believe followed and what is an extremely serious charge: a series of negligent MOD decisions that may have led to the deaths of RAF personnel and the risk of many others.

The requirement for a CWS was made in the 1998 strategic defence review of the then Labour Government:

“Improving the Tornado GR4 bomber and its deployability—deployment packs to assist rapid deployment on operations, additional support manpower, engine and avionics spares packages; portable engineering and hanger accommodation; and”—


“a collision warning system to improve safety for man and machine”.

As we can see, without any ambiguity, the MOD was formally committed to such a collision warning system—a commitment that has still not been fully delivered to this day.

The report says:

“Although a specific Strategic Defence Review commitment, Secretary of State did not declare the funding to be non-discretionary; therefore Collision Warning System was prioritised and funded as part of the normal planning process (meaning it could be delayed by Central Staffs and the profile of implementation altered during its development”.

The Secretary of State at the time was George Robertson, now the noble Lord Robertson of Port Ellen. Given what we know about the delays that followed, it would be good to hear from Lord Robertson why spending on this life-saving technology was not protected.

What we go on to learn from the service inquiry report about CWS procurement is truly shocking. It states that