Baroness Meacher debates involving the Home Office during the 2019 Parliament

Family Reunion Visas: Gaza

Baroness Meacher Excerpts
Wednesday 24th April 2024

(3 weeks, 4 days ago)

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Lord Sharpe of Epsom Portrait Lord Sharpe of Epsom (Con)
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If I spoke incorrectly, of course I correct it. I have not read the FCDO advice, but if that is what it says, then I correct the record.

Baroness Meacher Portrait Baroness Meacher (CB)
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My Lords, I hope the House will forgive me if I follow the comments of the noble Baroness, Lady Bottomley, about Lord Field. I worked with Frank Field for more than 50 years; he fought more than anybody else I know for people in this country who are poor and disadvantaged, and they have lost a treasure with his death yesterday.

Baroness Bennett of Manor Castle Portrait Baroness Bennett of Manor Castle (GP)
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My Lords, in responding to the noble Lord, Lord Dubs, the Minister referred to the Government making decisions about special visa schemes on a crisis-by-crisis basis. What criteria do the Government apply in making those judgments? Perhaps the Minister can point me to where it is written down, so that we can all see how the Government are making them.

Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill

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Viscount Hailsham Portrait Viscount Hailsham (Con)
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This is a different situation. Here we have the expression of opinion by the Supreme Court being displaced by the Government through legislation.

Baroness Meacher Portrait Baroness Meacher (CB)
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My Lords, I do not think it is relevant to cite France. The fact is that this country has a great reputation for upholding the rule of law and international law, and we play a great part across the world. This Bill is threatening that reputation and that role. France does not have that reputation or role, in my opinion.

Lord Lilley Portrait Lord Lilley (Con)
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I am not sure what the noble Baroness’s question to me is, but, as a great Francophile, I am sorry to hear her abuse the French nation in that way.

My noble friend said that this was different because the Supreme Court has expressed an opinion. Amendment 5 says that a purpose of the Bill should be to uphold the rule of law. As I understand it, the rule of law in this country for 1,000 years has meant that laws made and approved by our elected representatives are partially implemented by the courts, and all of us—citizens, public officials, Ministers and police, and even lawyers and bishops—are subject to those laws. If we do not like the law, we can try to persuade our elected representatives to change it. If Parliament feels that the courts have interpreted laws in a way that Parliament did not intend or that is out of line with the values and interests of the public who elect it, Parliament can change the law. That is what we are doing. We have a perfect right to do so as long as Parliament remains sovereign.

Baroness Meacher Portrait Baroness Meacher (CB)
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My Lords, we have had many excellent speeches today and I will, therefore, speak briefly. I am sure we all support the purpose of the Bill, to prevent and deter unlawful migration. However, as the noble Viscount, Lord Hailsham, argued so strongly, the Bill will not achieve that objective.

Our UK immigration policy must not involve breaking international law or human rights—this country has a proud history of upholding both, at all times. As a result, the UK has a priceless reputation enabling us to play a key part in seeking to persuade rogue nations to reform their policies in line with their international obligations.

Only when Rwanda is a safe country, and truly safe, and when the UK Parliament has endorsed this position, can people be removed from the UK to Rwanda in compliance with all our obligations under international law. To satisfy the definition of a “safe country”, all the provisions of the treaty with Rwanda must be implemented by Rwanda, including the establishment of a non-refoulement commitment; strengthening the monitoring arrangements; and strengthening Rwanda’s end-to-end asylum process. All these matters must be bedded in.

If this highly questionable policy is to be pursued—and I have picked up fairly strongly that it is highly questionable—the vital need is for the Bill to be delayed until Rwanda has implemented all the provisions of the treaty and those provisions are bedded in. Only then can the Bill legitimately refer to Rwanda as a safe country for immigration purposes. Delay is the role of your Lordships’ House in this situation, together with a request to the Government to think again.

Immigration Detention: Brook House Inquiry

Baroness Meacher Excerpts
Thursday 11th January 2024

(4 months, 1 week ago)

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Lord Sharpe of Epsom Portrait Lord Sharpe of Epsom (Con)
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My Lords, the noble Baroness will be aware that the supplier has changed; as of 2020, Serco now looks after this particular situation. I would also say that the vast majority of people are in fact detained for less than 28 days: 65% are detained for 28 days or less and 23% are detained for seven days or less.

Baroness Meacher Portrait Baroness Meacher (CB)
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My Lords, Kate Eves’s report included a number of recommendations requiring immediate and urgent implementation, because they related to serious issues such as the use of force and use of segregation. Can the Minister tell the House what the Government have now done in response to those particular recommendations? If nothing has been done, can the Minister explain why not?

Lord Sharpe of Epsom Portrait Lord Sharpe of Epsom (Con)
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My Lords, a lot of the work had already been done, because there was a report commissioned in 2016 by Stephen Shaw, who was then the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman. The Government acted in response to that report, before the documentary that prompted the Brook House report. The Home Office has implemented steps across the removal estate to enhance assurance and oversight of service provision. We have strengthened our capacity to provide assurance and oversight of service provision both at the Gatwick IRC and in the wider removal estate. That includes action to refresh and reinforce whistleblowing arrangements, improve information flows and analysis of complaints, address incidents and use of force and enhance supplier and Home Office engagement with detained individuals.

Asylum Seekers: Deportation from France

Baroness Meacher Excerpts
Monday 4th December 2023

(5 months, 2 weeks ago)

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Baroness Meacher Portrait Baroness Meacher (CB)
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My Lords, can the Minister give the House an absolute assurance that the Government will never consider making a decision that would be in breach of a ruling of the European Court of Human Rights?

Lord Sharpe of Epsom Portrait Lord Sharpe of Epsom (Con)
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As I said earlier, I am not going to speculate as to what will be in future legislation. That will be presented to Parliament in the fullness of time.

Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps

Baroness Meacher Excerpts
Wednesday 29th November 2023

(5 months, 3 weeks ago)

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Lord Sharpe of Epsom Portrait Lord Sharpe of Epsom (Con)
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My Lords, this subject comes up frequently. As noble Lords will be aware, we work with all the relevant UN agencies to ensure safe and legal routes for people such as that.

Baroness Meacher Portrait Baroness Meacher (CB)
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My Lords, I very strongly support the Question of the noble Lord, Lord Coaker. This Government proscribed Hamas as a terrorist organisation. The Iranian regime runs Hamas; it tells them what to do; it commands them what to do. Can the Minister, without any further delay, as the noble Lord, Lord Cormack, said, proscribe the Iranian regime as a terrorist organisation, which is of course what it is?

Refugees and Asylum Seekers: Safe Routes

Baroness Meacher Excerpts
Wednesday 22nd November 2023

(5 months, 4 weeks ago)

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Lord Sharpe of Epsom Portrait Lord Sharpe of Epsom (Con)
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My Lords, I do not think it fair to say that there are no safe and legal routes. Since 2015, we have offered a safe and legal route for over half a million people. This includes over 28,600 refugees, including 13,800 children, via the refugee resettlement schemes with the UNHCR. We are the fifth largest recipient of UNHCR-referred refugees and, in Europe, we are second only to Sweden.

Baroness Meacher Portrait Baroness Meacher (CB)
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My Lords, can the Minister explain exactly what accessible facilities are available in a country such as Afghanistan for someone facing persecution to seek asylum in this country?

Lord Sharpe of Epsom Portrait Lord Sharpe of Epsom (Con)
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My Lords, the noble Baroness will be aware that the situation on the ground in Afghanistan is very complicated—I would imagine my noble friend who answered the previous Question would be able to shed more light on exactly how complicated. However, as the noble Baroness will also be aware, we have resettled a vast number—well, not vast, but a large number—of people from Afghanistan. By the end of June 2023, approximately 9,800 people had been granted settled status under the ACRS, including over 4,600 children, and we provide local authorities with substantial funding. Since ARAP opened in April 2021, we have relocated over 12,200 people to the UK, including over 6,100 children. We know there is more to do, particularly with those currently still stuck in Pakistan, but we are working at pace on that.

Missing Asylum Seeking Unaccompanied Children

Baroness Meacher Excerpts
Monday 10th July 2023

(10 months, 2 weeks ago)

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Lord Murray of Blidworth Portrait Lord Murray of Blidworth (Con)
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The Home Office does of course notify local authorities of the arrival of children. We have something called the national transfer scheme, of which the noble Lord is no doubt aware, which has seen 4,875 children transferred to local authorities with children’s services between 1 July 2021 and 31 March this year. That is over six times the number of transfers as in the same timeframe in previous years.

Baroness Meacher Portrait Baroness Meacher (CB)
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My Lords, I think the Minister will be aware that we are at risk of losing our reputation as a country that upholds human rights, in particular those of children, because of the treatment of unaccompanied children under the Illegal Migration Bill. What plans does the Minister have to ensure that all unaccompanied children are cared for only under the auspices of local authorities and never under the Home Office in order to try to rescue the reputation of this country?

Lord Murray of Blidworth Portrait Lord Murray of Blidworth (Con)
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As I say, it is the Home Office’s intention to ensure that all unaccompanied asylum-seeking children are placed into local authority care as soon as it becomes available. That has been achieved with great success in recent times. Indeed, for a number of weeks recently there were no asylum-seeking children in hotels—although that is not the case at the moment.

Illegal Migration Bill

Baroness Meacher Excerpts
On these Benches, we seek to improve this Bill by giving an effective legal remedy to those who are judged in this manner, in a way that is woeful by European standards. We support these two amendments. If the right reverend Prelate and the noble and learned Lord, Lord Hope, wish to test the opinion of the House on both—we see them as a package—we on these Benches will definitely support them.
Baroness Meacher Portrait Baroness Meacher (CB)
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I am sure that everybody wants me to sit down and not speak. I want to make just one point, taking us back to the initial remarks of the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Durham; it is crucial. The Home Office knows that its age assessments are unreliable. It is therefore immoral—I was delighted to hear the right reverend Prelate use that word—to prevent young people having the right to appeal against those age assessments. It is also immoral to allow a child to be removed from this country while a judicial review of those age assessments is under way. I want us to focus on that point from the right reverend Prelate.

Lord Coaker Portrait Lord Coaker (Lab)
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My Lords, I thank the noble Baroness, Lady Meacher for her last comments; I am sure all of us agree with them.

I support Amendment 156A in the name of the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Durham. It is a very important amendment. Of course, when people come forward with sensible and constructive suggestions which would improve an amendment that has been put forward, I have no problem with that, and I know the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Durham has no problem with that either. In line with the remarks made by the noble Viscount, Lord Hailsham, and the noble and learned Lord, Lord Hope, were the noble and learned Lord to move Amendment 158A, we would be minded to support that too, because it seeks to improve the Bill in the way that he said. It would be silly not to do so. I thank him for tabling it and hope he will spare me a heart attack from running around to make sure that it is all is in order.

The serious point is that the amendment would improve the Bill. As has been said, rather than restricting this to areas of law only, it opens it up to grounds of fact. It is a much more sensible, improved amendment, and it would be silly not to accept it. We will see what the House has to say should the noble and learned Lord, Lord Hope, be minded to move his amendment after Amendment 156A.

Nobody doubts the difficulties that can arise in respect of age assessments, particularly as many of the disputes for unaccompanied children arise around the claimed age of 16 or 17. The Nationality and Borders Act 2022 had relevant provisions, but those have been superseded by the Illegal Migration Bill. The Bill specifically allows for an individual, where there is a disputed age assessment, to be removed—in other words, an individual’s challenge to a decision by way of judicial review is non-suspensive. Amendment 156A, in the name of the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Durham and others, seeks to address that injustice.

The Government will quote evidence saying that large numbers of individuals claiming to be children are not, and that the system is open to abuse. I point out that in the JCHR report the Helen Bamber Foundation states that, in 2022, 70 local authorities had 1,386 referrals to their children’s services of young people sent to adult accommodation or detention, but 63% were then found to be children. It is therefore deeply concerning that judicial oversight of these decisions is being ousted, and that they will then be removed from the UK while decisions are confirmed or not. As the noble and learned Baroness, Lady Butler-Sloss, says, how can that possibly be in the best interests of the child—something that has driven public policy in this country for decades?

Others have raised the child’s rights impact assessment. Since we got it only at 5 pm yesterday, it has been difficult to go through it, so I apologise for asking questions that would really be more appropriate in Committee. On the deportation of children—were the Bill to go through unamended—it may interest noble Lords for the Minister to explain why there has been a change of public policy with respect to the use of reasonable force. On the use of force by the Home Office under the Bill, page 4 of the impact assessment says:

“While this is technically not age restricted, use of force against minors is not permitted under current policy except where in the rare circumstances there is a risk of harm”.


I think we all accept that; if a child is going to hurt themselves, you necessarily expect someone to try to intervene in that circumstance. It goes on to say:

“Use of force is not currently used against minors for compliance/removal purposes. We do not envisage the use of reasonable force being used for such purposes under the auspices of the new bill”—


this is the important phrase—

“unless it is necessary as a last resort where other methods to ensure compliance have failed”.

That is a major change of public policy, included in a document that we are being asked to consider at the last stages of Report. The Government are saying that reasonable force can be used in the deportation and removal of children under the auspices of the Bill, rather than it just being used in the circumstances of preventing harm. Nobody would disagree that if you are preventing a child hurting themselves, of course you have to use force and intervene appropriately, but this does not say that. I repeat: it says

“as a last resort where other methods to ensure compliance have failed”.

The House deserves an explanation of why the Government not only have changed public policy with respect to the lack of judicial oversight of age assessment but are now proposing, to ensure that children can be removed under the Bill, to allow reasonable force to be used.

I will not do this but, if this were Committee, noble Lords can imagine all the questions we would ask about training, about what “reasonable force” means and so on. That is not available to us, which makes it even more important that we support the amendment from the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Durham—with the improvement suggested by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Hope, if he moves his amendment as well—to protect children, some of the most vulnerable people who come to our shores.

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All my amendment seeks to do is to say that, on an annual basis, the Secretary of State must lay before each House of Parliament a report on illegal migration in the UK and the statistics as required by this amendment. It is not a particularly contentious or difficult amendment. To those who think, “If they are here illegally, how can we possibly find out where they are?”, I say that you can find that out—the supermarkets have a system and there are other systems that I spoke about in Committee, which I will not repeat this evening. It is a question of will to find out how many people are in this country already and what the total population of this country is. I believe that, once we have that information, it will better inform people’s views about the levels of migration they want to see in the years ahead.
Baroness Meacher Portrait Baroness Meacher (CB)
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My Lords, I had not planned to speak in this debate, but I feel I must rise to support the amendment moved by the noble Lord, Lord Coaker.

The Prime Minister repeatedly talks about “stopping the boats” as one of his top five priorities—you often get the feeling that it is in fact his top priority. If this Government really wanted to tackle the villains, the traffickers and the modern slave owners and, along with the French Government, round them up and put them where they need to be, they would have done it. Instead of doing that, however, the Government think, “No, we will leave those guys alone; we will focus on removing the rights of the victims, the trafficked people, the modern slaves, the unaccompanied children, the people escaping persecution and appalling treatment”.

This amendment is unusual. In all the debates we have had, the focus has been on the victims and on removing the safeguards for the victims. This amendment is appealing to the Government to give a duty to the NCA to round up the traffickers, the modern slave owners, and so on. It seems to me that the Government cannot say, “Oh, sorry, we cannot do that, it is too difficult; we just have to make life hell for the victims—that way we will deter them from coming”. I really hope that everybody in this Chamber will support the amendment in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Coaker, as being the single attempt—throughout all these debates—to have the Government focus their efforts where those efforts should be focused.

Baroness Fox of Buckley Portrait Baroness Fox of Buckley (Non-Afl)
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My Lords, I rise in support of Amendment 168AZA. The noble Lord, Lord Swire, has explained why it is a very modest but important part of this discussion.

One reason why I think there is substantial public support for the Bill, at least in terms of the headlines and broad brush strokes, if not the detail—we have heard from the wide range of amendments the potential problems when looking at the detail of the Bill—is that people feel as though things are out of control. That is viscerally expressed by people seeing the boats arriving. The difficulty is that, in a discussion—even in this Chamber, but certainly beyond this Chamber—about what is really going on, many people feel as though they are confronting smoke and mirrors. They do not know who is here and under what status they are here.

I said at Second Reading—or at some stage, anyway—that many people feel as though they are being gaslit. When they raise concerns, they are told—as we have just heard a bit of—that these are trafficked people and victims. One reason why I support the amendment introduced by the noble Baroness, Lady Stroud, a moment ago is that I feel that the terms “asylum seeker” and “refugee status” are being sullied by being used in a way that is unhelpfully broad and vague, often quite promiscuously and illegitimately, in order to say to the British public, “What are you worried about?” The problem is that the generosity of spirit around refugees is being tested, to say the least.

Therefore, we need to have a sense of proportion and to know what is going on. It is quite straightforward: we do not, which means that people bandy around emotive headlines and accusations against the British public—often unfairly—as though they are all xenophobic, they do not care, and so on. Also, quite grand statements are made. I think people want to know very clearly who is here illegally and in what category they are here.

I commend the noble Lord, Lord Swire, for making the point that it is the obligation of this Government—or a Labour Government or any Government—to know who lives within our borders. If you do not know, then you do not have national sovereignty. You cannot run a country in which you say, “Oh, sorry, it is too difficult to know”. Anyone who says, “Find out for yourself” has not tried. We have all tried and we want to know that the people who run this society do know and therefore have a handle on it.

Illegal Migration Bill

Baroness Meacher Excerpts
Lord Bishop of Durham Portrait The Lord Bishop of Durham
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My Lords, I declare my interests as laid out in the register. I will speak to Amendment 89, and I am grateful to my noble friends from differing Benches—the noble Lords, Lord Coaker and Lord German, and the noble Baroness, Lady Helic—for their support. It is a damning indictment that an amendment of this nature is even required, as it proposes such a basic safeguard to ensure the well-being of unaccompanied children. It requires that, if a child is to be transferred from local authority child protection systems, a justification should be provided as to why it is in their best interests to be looked after by the Home Office rather than the local authority.

It is reasonable that councils should not be mandated to follow a child transfer direction, regardless of any safeguarding or protection concerns. If the Government are unwilling to accept this point, can the Minister say how they will enable the appropriate scrutiny of a decision to move a child out of the formal child protection system and ensure the highest level of safeguarding consideration? These questions deserve full and detailed answers, since the Bill does not set any standards, safeguards or protective obligations for the Home Office when providing accommodation for children. It is even more pertinent given the Home Office’s own record on accommodating unaccompanied children.

The Minister was pleased to share, during the passage of the Bill, that no children are currently accommodated in hotels, but let us not forget that this does not mean that all unaccompanied children are therefore in the care of local authorities. Up to April this year, 186 children remained missing, and it should keep us all up at night, including Ministers, when we think about whose care those children may now be under.

Regardless of the power that the Bill gives to the Government to accommodate children, two things remain true—both of which have already been explained well. First, the Children Act applies to all children, regardless of nationality, ethnicity or immigration status, and therefore any child under the care of the Home Office should have access to the same level of care and protection as any other child in need. Secondly, as recent legal judgments have shown, the Home Office does not have the expertise, knowledge or experience to look after children.

Therefore, it is only right and just that the power to remove a child from the well-established care system should be exercised only when a child’s well-being will be served by doing so—I suspect that that would be very rare. I share the fear of the Children’s Commissioner that accommodating children outside of foster families or children’s homes will be harmful and unsafe; we have no evidence to the contrary. Fundamentally, the care of children is, first and foremost, not an immigration matter, and safeguarding cannot be allowed to be a casualty in pursuit of the objectives of the Bill. Thus, I also support Amendment 87, for all the reasons already laid out. Neither amendment should be regarded as controversial, as, frankly, a child’s life, security and future are too important for them to become collateral damage. Therefore, I support Amendment 87 and intend to test the opinion of the House on Amendment 89.

Baroness Meacher Portrait Baroness Meacher (CB)
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My Lords, I support most strongly the remarks of my noble and learned friend Lady Butler-Sloss and the other powerful comments already made from the Conservative Benches, the Bishops’ Benches and elsewhere.

My amendments propose that Clauses 15 and 16 should left out of the Bill in their entirety. These clauses, for the first time, provide the legal power for a central government department to take responsibility for extremely vulnerable unaccompanied children and to provide so-called care, protection and support, both while they are children and as adult care leavers.

I understand that the Home Office has recently been housing unaccompanied children in hotels, without the legal authority to do so. But, according to the Immigration Minister, Robert Jenrick MP, no unaccompanied young people are currently in hotels. The Home Office has recently reopened a hotel in Eastbourne, and another in Brighton and Hove, in anticipation of the Bill becoming law. The local authority in the second case is threatening legal action, and I anticipate that it will be successful.

Ofsted has described the housing of unaccompanied children in hotels as utterly unacceptable. The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child called for the urgent repeal of the provision in the Illegal Migration Bill, describing this practice as violating children’s rights under the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the refugee convention 1951. Seven organisations responsible for protecting children have written to us, arguing that they consider Clauses 15 and 16 to be such a danger to unaccompanied children, and to our child welfare system, that they must be removed from the Bill altogether. The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services makes the point that unaccompanied children seeking asylum are fleeing desperate situations; they are extremely vulnerable and should not be placed in hotels, where they are open to further exploitations and abuse.

Clauses 15 and 16 are ill conceived and discriminatory in principle. They give the Home Secretary wide powers to house unaccompanied children of any age in any type of accommodation for any length of time—housing a one year-old or 18 month-old in great big ex-Army barracks, or whatever. The clauses direct that a local authority stops looking after an individual child irrespective, it appears, of the child’s needs, characteristics, experiences and legal status. They legitimate and potentially make lawful arrangements that hundreds of non-governmental organisations have contended are unlawful for nearly two years.

I know that Amendments 87 and 89 might help a little. However, bearing in mind the powerful comments from his own Bench from the noble Baroness, Lady Berridge, and from the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Durham and from other parts of this House, I appeal to the Minister to seek within himself his humanity and to withdraw Clauses 15 and 16 from the Bill.

Baroness Lawlor Portrait Baroness Lawlor (Con)
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My Lords, I do not support Amendment 87. It would undermine the purpose of the measure to prevent and deter illegal and unsafe routes. It would require that all children who enter this country, and are subject to Section 3, be afforded the same rights as afforded to children under the Children Act 1989, as noble Lords have heard from the noble Lord, Lord Scriven. That Act includes that the child’s wishes and best interests are taken into account. However, that could undermine Clause 3, which gives the Secretary of State discretionary powers to remove unaccompanied children who enter illegally, albeit with exceptions. Clause 3 is also concerned with returning children to their parents, and there is provision for that where it is safe to do so.

Moreover, Amendment 87 could and would give families across the world an incentive to try to get their children into this country. For the cost of a modest traffickers’ fee, they would be more likely to make a dreadful gamble to get their children here to be educated, housed, looked after and supported at a cost to our taxpayers. Is there any reason—and I think it is important to ask this question—why taxpayers should be asked to pay sums for those who break the law in this way when there are safe and legal routes for entering this country?

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Lord Murray of Blidworth Portrait Lord Murray of Blidworth (Con)
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It is clearly right that in the situation that arose with the rush of people crossing the channel—which gave rise to this legislation—consideration had to be given to the legislative arrangements. The situation in law is clear and is as my noble friend set out. The Home Office is able, in extreme circumstances, to exercise this power on behalf of local authorities. As I say, the purpose and intention of these provisions is to look after children only for as short a time as possible before transferring them to the care of local authorities. I want to stress that the Home Office is having to accommodate unaccompanied children out of necessity.

Baroness Meacher Portrait Baroness Meacher (CB)
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My Lords, can the Minister give the House an assurance that he will put in the Bill that these children would not be in the so-called care of the Home Office for more than, let us say, 48 hours —some very limited period of time? If that is the Government’s intention, can the Minister assure the House that this will be in the Bill and that it really will be for a very short time?

Lord Murray of Blidworth Portrait Lord Murray of Blidworth (Con)
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No; I am afraid I cannot provide that assurance, and the reason for that is obvious. We are dealing with a situation in which we have thousands of people crossing the channel, and we cannot tie the hands of the Home Office in dealing with this great problem that we all face. I say again that we are having to accommodate unaccompanied children out of necessity. My noble friend Lady Lawlor highlighted in her brave speech the Hobson’s choice that we face here. These children will not all immediately enter the care system on arrival in a small boat, simply because the Home Office does not have the powers set out in Clauses 15 and 16. It is right that we take steps to ensure that there is clarity, and I suggest to noble Lords that it is in the best interests of these children that we put in place these measures, which recognise the reality of the current situation.

On the basis of my explanation and the assurances I have given, I hope that the noble Lord, Lord Scriven, will be content to withdraw his amendment, and if the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Durham is minded to test the opinion of the House on Amendment 89, I invite noble Lords to reject that amendment.