Tribunal and Inquiries Debate

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Department: Ministry of Justice

Tribunal and Inquiries

Kevin Brennan Excerpts
Friday 24th May 2024

(1 month, 3 weeks ago)

Commons Chamber
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Kevin Brennan Portrait Kevin Brennan (Cardiff West) (Lab)
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I can see that I am not your only fan in this Chamber, Madam Deputy Speaker. I am sure that I speak for everyone in saying that we wish you well in what you do. We are also joined by the former Prime Minister, the right hon. Member for Maidenhead (Mrs May). We thank her for exemplary public service in her time in this place. I also pay tribute to my dear friend, my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Camberwell and Peckham (Ms Harman), the Mother of the House, who has had an extraordinary career as a Labour politician. She was briefly—all too briefly, in my view—the leader of the party. I thank her for her service to the Labour party, to Parliament and to our country.

The statutory instrument governs one of the few parts of the Prime Minister’s so-called signature immigration legislation to have actually been enacted—the Illegal Migration Act 2023. Most of the key clauses, including the duty to remove those who arrive without permission, have not been enacted because the Government know deep down that the Act is a bit of a sham. It was the second of three Acts designed, but failing, to tackle the small boats chaos under their watch. We opposed that Act because we warned that it would not work, and the Government’s reluctance to enact any of its key provisions shows that we were right.

The provisions in the statutory instrument govern the appeal procedure relating to removals under the Act, but no such removals are occurring, as the duty to remove has not even been enacted. The truth is that the Government have lost control of our border security. They have allowed criminal gangs to take hold of the channel and they have allowed dangerous boat crossings to soar. They have lost control of the asylum system, allowing decisions to collapse and the backlog to rocket to a record high with record numbers of people in asylum hotels, which costs the taxpayer an eye-watering £8 million a day. Meanwhile, yesterday’s statistics show that they have let returns and enforcement crumble too, with returns of failed asylum seekers down by 35% compared with the last Labour Government.

We will strengthen our border security and fix the asylum chaos. We will crack down on the criminal gangs and their supply chains to stop the boats before they reach the French coast. We will set up a new border security command, backed by new resources and counter-terrorism style powers, to bring those gangs to justice. We will clear the backlog with new fast-track procedures for safe countries and end asylum hotel use to save the taxpayer billions of pounds. We will also strengthen enforcement with a new returns and enforcement unit.

We do not intend to divide the House, but the British public will have their say on 4 July. It will be a choice between gimmicks from the Tories and strong border security and real grip from Labour.

--- Later in debate ---
Gareth Bacon Portrait Gareth Bacon
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First, I pay tribute to the hon. Member for Cardiff West (Kevin Brennan), who has been my shadow for what feels like a lot longer than seven months. I am not completely convinced by his claim of strong borders under Labour—I am sure that the electorate will sort that out in the next few weeks—but he has been extremely decent in his dealings with me.

Kevin Brennan Portrait Kevin Brennan
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I apologise—I should have thanked the Minister for the courteous way in which he has dealt with the Opposition spokespeople. I do thank him for that.

Gareth Bacon Portrait Gareth Bacon
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For the benefit of the people in the Strangers’ Gallery, I should say that it is not normal for politicians to be so nice to each other across the Dispatch Box. It gets a lot worse than this normally. I am very grateful to the hon. Gentleman for his words.