All 3 Peter Bone contributions to the Nationality and Borders Act 2022

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Tue 7th Dec 2021
Wed 8th Dec 2021
Tue 26th Apr 2022
Nationality and Borders Bill
Commons Chamber

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Nationality and Borders Bill Debate

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Department: Home Office

Nationality and Borders Bill

Peter Bone Excerpts
Tom Pursglove Portrait Tom Pursglove
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I am afraid that the intervention is a disappointing one, in the sense that I would not for a moment suggest that the right hon. Gentleman is doing anything that supports people traffickers—of course not. However, I think he is giving credence to their business model, and that is highly unacceptable and disappointing. He should reflect on his position on these matters. As I have set out, nobody needs to get into a small boat to seek to cross the channel to reach safety. The idea that anybody is in danger in France is utterly farcical. The bottom line is that France is a safe country with a fully functioning asylum system. That is a fact and he needs to reflect on it.

Peter Bone Portrait Mr Peter Bone (Wellingborough) (Con)
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Of course, what the former leader of the Labour party was trying to say was that the French are failing to look after the people in their own country. In that regard, he is right, isn’t he?

Tom Pursglove Portrait Tom Pursglove
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It is probably fair to say that those on the Benches of the right hon. Member for Islington North (Jeremy Corbyn) quite regularly try to reinterpret his comments. In the end, it is highly unacceptable for anybody to get into a small boat for this purpose. I think it is fair to say that this House speaks with one voice in saying that people should not be making dangerous crossings, and we perhaps just disagree about how to render the route unviable.

The Government have brought forward a comprehensive Bill as part of the wider package of measures that we are seeking to introduce to address this issue. It is disappointing that some of us in the House seem to have quite a lot to say in complaining about our approach, but do not actually have a viable alternative to our policy.

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Bambos Charalambous Portrait Bambos Charalambous
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My hon. Friend makes an excellent point. The Bill will fail if there are not reciprocal arrangements, and that is deeply worrying. Not having those arrangements will encourage more dangerous crossings.

Peter Bone Portrait Mr Bone
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Will the hon. Member give way on that point?

Bambos Charalambous Portrait Bambos Charalambous
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I will, but then I must make progress.

Peter Bone Portrait Mr Bone
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The hon. Member is making his speech in a quiet and reasonable way, but does he not think the problem is that the French are refusing to allow returns? It is not this country; it is the French.

Bambos Charalambous Portrait Bambos Charalambous
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I agree with the hon. Member, but that is directly because we no longer have reciprocal arrangements. That is the crux of the problem with the Bill. We need more reciprocal arrangements with our international partners to allow other measures to be put in place.

Nationality and Borders Bill Debate

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Department: Home Office

Nationality and Borders Bill

Peter Bone Excerpts
Iain Duncan Smith Portrait Sir Iain Duncan Smith
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I am grateful to you for clarifying, Mr Speaker.

I will just say to the right hon. Gentleman that of course he is right, and it is important for us to understand that this is an issue not of asylum or migration but decency. He will know—even if he does not, I am going to say it to the House—that a significant chunk of those who are now part of the modern-day slavery ghastliness emanate from the UK. It is important that local authorities and others understand that they are looking not just for people who are trafficked in, but for those being trafficked within the UK. That is an important point. I agree with him, and the point of today’s debate is to try to raise that issue.

Peter Bone Portrait Mr Peter Bone (Wellingborough) (Con)
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The right hon. Member for Islington North (Jeremy Corbyn) makes a pertinent point, but is not Justice and Care—and its navigators who help victims of trafficking with the criminal justice system—one of the success stories? We get more prosecutions because of that charity and the work it does.

Iain Duncan Smith Portrait Sir Iain Duncan Smith
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I thank my hon. Friend for signing the new clause, and he is absolutely right. Justice and Care has done a phenomenal amount of work; I am enormously grateful for its guidance and we have worked together on this matter. He is quite right to congratulate the organisation; without it, I suspect this would have been very difficult.

Let me bring in two examples that illustrate the problem. First, a Home Office local authority pilot found that all 62 adult survivors receiving support through the project in 2018-19 supported a criminal investigation, which makes my point that, with the right support, people do the right thing. They lose their fear, they understand that they are protected and they will give evidence. Secondly, Justice and Care found that 89% of victims supported by victim navigator support workers chose subsequently to engage with the police.

I say to my right hon. and hon. Friends on the Treasury Bench that it is important that we understand and separate this question out from all the other arguments that go on about migration and asylum. This is ultimately about helping ourselves and helping the victims. The two go together, and that is the important issue.

It is also worth reminding ourselves of the cost of modern slavery right now, without the resolution that we require and that this new clause would bring. The Home Office estimates the cost at £328,000 per modern slavery victim—a total of £32 billion using 2020 estimates of 100,000 victims from the Centre for Social Justice. I will just repeat that figure: £32 billion is the overall cost. That does not include court, prison and probation costs, or the costs of failed or aborted prosecutions due to insufficient evidence. So the case becomes stronger and stronger that this Bill offers the opportunity to do the right thing here.

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Holly Lynch Portrait Holly Lynch (Halifax) (Lab)
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Thank you, Mr Speaker.

It is a genuine pleasure to follow the powerful contribution from the right hon. Member for Chingford and Woodford Green (Sir Iain Duncan Smith). I will come to the merits of his new clause, but let me start by congratulating my right hon. Friend the Member for Kingston upon Hull North (Dame Diana Johnson) not just on the new clause and amendments that she has tabled, but on receiving her damehood at Windsor Castle yesterday. There could be no more fitting tribute in recognition of her services to politics and her community, and I was delighted to see her collect that recognition yesterday.

We have grave concerns about part 5 of the Bill, which would introduce detrimental changes in modern slavery provisions and the national referral mechanism. New clause 3, tabled by my right hon. Friend, has our backing for all the reasons that she outlined. I would struggle to find a more heinous crime than moving another human being across borders, or across the country, in order to force them to have sex and for their abuser to make a profit. Given the utterly depressing rises in this type of criminality and exploitation, my right hon. Friend will have our full support if she is minded to press the new clause to a vote.

Provisions in part 5 will make it harder to identify, safeguard and support victims of modern slavery in securing prosecutions against their abusers. Our new clause 6 will ensure that no child victim of trafficking or modern slavery is denied protection because of those provisions. The new clause follows the many battles that we had in Committee in calling on the Government to hear the pleas of organisations such as The Children’s Society and Every Child Protected Against Trafficking, and those of the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner, Dame Sara Thornton, and to recognise the vulnerability of child victims of trafficking and modern slavery, something that they have failed to do throughout the Bill’s passage so far.

The Government have sought to suggest that a fear of the national referral mechanism being abused warrants the introduction of barriers to accessing it. I remind them that the Home Office’s own statistics show that, of the 10,613 potential victims of modern slavery referred to the NRM last year, 47% were children. There was a 10% increase in the number of child referrals last year, and the single biggest type of exploitation was criminal exploitation. The Home Office’s own publication states:

“For those exploited as children, an increase in the identification of ‘county lines’ cases has partially driven the rise in the number of cases categorised within the ‘criminal exploitation’ category, with 40% of all child referrals for criminal exploitation being flagged as county lines.”

It is clear that children who are the victims of vicious county lines gangs will be among those most detrimentally affected by these changes. Just this week, we heard that the Government were getting tough on county lines gangs, but if they pass these proposals today unamended, child victims trapped by those gangs will be met with unnecessary barriers to both freedom and justice.

Peter Bone Portrait Mr Bone
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The hon. Lady is talking about an exceptionally important issue, the trafficking of children. While we in this country probably lead the world in looking after adult victims, we fail our child victims. Do the hon. Lady and her party support a revision of that situation, so we can protect children in the same way that we protect adults?

Holly Lynch Portrait Holly Lynch
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As the Minister will recall, we pushed for that time and again in Committee. The Bill makes no distinction between adults and children who are victims of trafficking and slavery. That failure to recognise the age-related vulnerability of a child constitutes a glaring omission, and I welcome the hon. Gentleman’s support for seeing what else we can do to press the issue during the Bill’s subsequent stages.

If the Government require any further persuading, the legislation in its current form contravenes their own existing statutory guidance, which states:

“Whatever form it takes, modern slavery and child trafficking is child abuse and relevant child protection procedures must be followed if modern slavery or trafficking is suspected.”

The changes introduced in the Bill mean that a child can only access protection from abuse if they disclose details of their trauma, against a Home Office-mandated timeline, or else have their credibility as a victim discredited, and can only access NRM support if they are not deemed to be a threat to public order as outlined in clause 62. The Government’s own guidance rightly says that a child who has been trafficked must be protected—no ifs, no buts, which means no clause 57, no clause 58 and no clause 62. I urge the Government to rethink all the modern slavery provisions, but as a minimum, in order merely to deliver on their own commitment to the general public this week, to adopt our new clause to prevent changes that would leave children more vulnerable to criminals and traffickers.

I want to make clear our support for independent victim navigators, who have already been mentioned by other Members. New clause 30 seeks to build upon the successful pilot programme launched by Justice and Care in 2018, which has now been extended, with eight victim navigators currently in post in five different police forces. I recently had the opportunity to visit the modern slavery team at West Yorkshire police with Justice and Care to gain a better understanding of the incredibly impressive work undertaken by those navigators in providing vital support to victims to rebuild their lives, which is what then facilitates prosecutions. An interim report has shown that, up to June 2021, the programme has provided strategic advice to 392 modern slavery investigations and given intensive support to 202 victims. Significantly, 89% of the victims supported by those navigators have chosen to engage with police investigations, compared with just 33% nationally, and 120 suspected exploiters have been arrested in cases supported by victim navigators. I know this is something we can all celebrate.

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Stuart C McDonald Portrait Stuart C. McDonald
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I fully endorse what my hon. Friend says. We will continue to make the case against this Bill, although we all know that that case will be rejected. People who are watching will see our alternative proposals, and they are a strong argument for independence indeed.

In addition to saying yes to new clause 47, we support new clause 3 from the right hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull North. I mentioned at the start of my speech that Stormont, Westminster and Holyrood had all passed important legislation in this area, and that brings me to the key point that we have just touched on. Large parts of this issue are a devolved matter, and that is only partially recognised in the Bill. The same is true of the age assessment provisions in part 4. There are very good arguments for saying that legislative consent motions should be required from the Scottish Parliament for various provisions in parts 4 and 5, and that is why we have tabled amendment 129.

The whole disreputable scheme of trafficking notices, plus most law in relation to the recovery period, is surely within devolved competence, but clause 49 also sees the Secretary of State interfering in how local authorities go about discharging their duties in relation to devolved children’s legislation. I would be happy to share with the Minister a legal opinion by Christine O’Neill QC that has been published by the Scottish Refugee Council and JustRight Scotland, and that makes similar points. I am sure that devolved Administrations in Northern Ireland and Wales will also want to look closely at these points.

Our view is that this is a disaster of a Bill and, as the shadow Minister said, the whole legislative process leading up to it has been a disaster as well. The consequences for many vulnerable people will also be disastrous. That is as true of the provisions in relation to trafficking survivors as it is for asylum seekers and refugees. Although we have tried to ameliorate the worst aspects of the Bill, the whole rotten lot of it needs to be canned.

Peter Bone Portrait Mr Bone
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It is a great pleasure to follow the hon. Member for Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East (Stuart C. McDonald). He supports new clause 74, which is the main thrust of what I want to talk about today.

Across the House, we have seen support for measures to fight modern-day slavery and human trafficking, but I think we should start at the beginning. Only a few years ago, this House did not even recognise human trafficking. I can remember when I came into the House and Tony Blair was Prime Minister, the great Anthony Steen tried every week from the Opposition Benches to persuade the Government that human trafficking existed. The Council of Europe brought forward proposals about human trafficking, and, to the great credit of former Prime Ministers David Cameron and my right hon. Friend the Member for Maidenhead (Mrs May), we produced Europe’s leading anti-slavery legislation.

We should start by congratulating the Government on doing that, but we are here today to see how we can improve on that legislation. I will briefly mention my dissatisfaction with the way child victims of human trafficking are dealt with. As I have said on many occasions, we should follow the methods that we use for adults; we should not just put children into the care of local government, where they are routinely re-trafficked. That is not particularly to do with the clauses that we are debating today, but it is something that we need to look at.

My right hon. Friend the Member for Chingford and Woodford Green (Sir Iain Duncan Smith) made the very fair point that we are not talking about asylum, and we are not talking about economic migrants. With economic migrants—people coming here who should not be—the victim is this country. Human trafficking victims are people who have been tricked or coerced into coming to this country, mainly with the thought that they will get a job or a career.

Let me give an example. Somebody from Hungary came into this country thinking they were going to get a job in Belfast. Instead, they were locked up in a terraced house in Belfast. The locks were on the outside of the bedroom and that girl was repeatedly raped. She was rescued by the police and looked after. That is human trafficking, and it is completely different from people coming across the channel in small boats.

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Iain Duncan Smith Portrait Sir Iain Duncan Smith
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While we are talking about Tatiana—she has been phenomenal in bringing cases forward and I pay tribute to her—it is worth reminding the House that she cannot be with us at the moment because she is about to give birth. We congratulate her on that.

Peter Bone Portrait Mr Bone
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I can give the House an update: birth has not yet occurred and she is watching today’s proceedings. I wish her very well with the new baby.

Let me go back to the national referral mechanism. One thing that people misunderstand about new clause 47 is that they think it refers to when people go into the NRN, but it does not. It would apply for people who have “conclusive grounds”—people the Government agree are real victims of human trafficking. The difference between me and the Government is about what happens next. We have always looked after victims of human trafficking—it has been a really sensible process, with overall control given to the Salvation Army and then distributed through all the different charities and voluntary and religious groups that help to look after victims. But I want there not to be any victims in the first place. I want these evil gangs stopped. By the way, this is organised crime: they are ruthless and horrible and they do not care about people. They are quite happy to murder people. If we can shut them down, we will not have the victims, which is why the prosecution of these gangs is so important.

When we have discussed the failure to secure prosecutions in the past, it was argued, “Well, we prosecute on lesser offences so that we get convictions,” but these people are put away for only a small amount of time. We want to nail the people at the top and put them away for a very long time, to make it a dangerous thing to be involved in. If it is dangerous and they are likely to get caught and put away for a long time, they will not carry out this evil trade and will try something else.

The difference between me and the Government in respect of leave to remain, which is the crux of new clause 47, is that I think it should be given as a right to people who are confirmed as victims of trafficking if their immigration status is irregular. I say that for two reasons: first, they are much more likely to help to prosecute the evil gangs if they know that their immigration status is secure for a year; and secondly, if we do it not that way but on a piecemeal basis, there is a possibility, to which my right hon. Friend the Member for Chingford and Woodford Green referred, that the lawyers will go to the court and say, “The only reason why this person is saying that is because it is the only way she could have got leave to remain,” whereas if it is a right, they cannot use that argument at all.

I will listen with great interest to what the Minister says in response to the debate. If my right hon. Friend the Member for Chingford and Woodford Green pushes new clause 47 to a Division, I will indeed support it. I know that the Minister and the Government share my desire to get these evil gangs; we just have a little difference on this point. Why doesn’t the Minister accept the new clause and perhaps add a sunset clause in the other place? Put two years on it, and if in two years nobody extra is prosecuted, we were clearly wrong. But if a lot more people are prosecuted, as I believe they would be, the Government could renew the sunset clause.

Everybody is trying to do the right thing here; we are just discussing the best way forward. I go back to the start and say well done to Anthony Steen and to all the Governments who have moved forward and made our country the best place to prosecute modern-day slavery. But we can do better, and we can and must do better with children. New clause 47 would help us to prosecute more evil gangs, so I very much support it and hope that the Government will accept at least its principle.

Margaret Greenwood Portrait Margaret Greenwood (Wirral West) (Lab)
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Numerous constituents have written to me with their concerns about the Bill. They fear that it will harm refugees and victims of trafficking and slavery and that it undermines our international commitment to human rights and the right to asylum. I share their concerns.

The Children’s Society has said that it is

“concerned that the provisions of the bill will have a significant impact on all child victims of trafficking”.

Notably, the charity has expressed support for Labour’s new clause 6, which would exempt victims of modern slavery, exploitation or trafficking from many of the provisions in part 5 of the Bill if they were under 18 when they became a victim. Statistics show that 3,140 potential victims of modern slavery were referred to the Home Office in the second quarter of 2021—the second highest number of referrals since the national referral mechanism began in 2009—and 43% of them claimed exploitation as children.

Serious concerns have also been raised about, and many Members have referred to, the proposals in the Bill to allow the Secretary of State to serve trafficking information notices on potential victims of modern slavery and expect a response within a fixed timescale. Dame Sara Thornton, the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner, has said that

“will make it harder to identify those who have been exploited… Traumatised victims cannot disclose their suffering to order—it takes time to build trust and confidence.”

That is absolutely right.

The Government’s own statutory guidance on modern slavery states:

“Victims’ early accounts may be affected by the impact of trauma. This can result in delayed disclosure, difficulty recalling facts, or symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.”

Why do the provisions in the Bill run contrary to the evidence in the Government’s own guidance? This point relates to amendments 5, 6 and 7, which were tabled by my right hon. Friend the Member for Kingston upon Hull North (Dame Diana Johnson) and have cross-party support. I also support my right hon. Friend’s incredibly important new clause 3, which would create an offence for arranging or facilitating the travel of another person with a view to that person being sexually exploited in the UK.

We debate the Bill less than two weeks after the tragic loss of 27 lives in the English channel, yet the Government are intent on pushing ahead with their cruel pushbacks plan, despite Border Force officials saying privately that it is dangerous and unworkable, and despite the Joint Committee on Human Rights having said that pushbacks would

“create a situation where state actors were actively placing individuals in situations that would increase the risk”

On behalf of my constituent, who has more than 10 years’ experience in maritime rescue, I ask the Minister how the Government expect Her Majesty’s Coastguard to operate in a situation that it deems to be search and rescue but that the Home Office considers to be a pushback situation? He wants to know who will have the veto authority in such situations?

As Families Together has pointed out:

“No one chooses to cross the channel…unless they have no other option.”

Amnesty International has said that the Bill

“will cost not save lives. It will enable and empower ruthless criminal gangs not break them. It closes safe routes and opens none. It will harm women and girls along with the men seeking asylum, to whom Ministers appear to take such exception”.

I urge members from all parties to vote against the Bill on Third Reading.

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Anne McLaughlin Portrait Anne McLaughlin (Glasgow North East) (SNP)
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It is an absolute pleasure to follow my hon. Friend, and neighbour, the Member for Glasgow East (David Linden).

I have said repeatedly how disgusted I am with this Bill in its entirety, so I will not go over that again, and I am sure, Madam Deputy Speaker, that you would not let me. It is hard not to do it, but it is all on the record. In any case, whatever I say today is unlikely to change anybody’s vote, and that is what is so depressing about this. Today I will focus on what you want me to focus on, Madam Deputy Speaker, which is modern slavery and human trafficking. I will highlight two aspects of the many that I find greatly disturbing.

First, there is late disclosure. I am deeply concerned by the measures in the Bill that aim to damage the credibility of victims of modern slavery or human trafficking. Using late disclosure as a reason to damage their credibility only serves to create barriers to effective and vital identification and engagement with those victims. The Government, of course, in their usual, cynical way, believe that claimants are abusing the system and attempting to frustrate removal. They point to the rise in the number of trafficking claims, but that is down to a range of factors, including greater awareness of modern slavery among detention workers and others and an improved ability to recognise vulnerability, as a leading Hibiscus report highlighted. All the awareness-raising campaigns, supported by all the Governments on these islands, including this Government, were always going to increase those numbers—that is what we were looking for, surely. To use that increase as a reason to now cynically attack people is just despicable.

Peter Bone Portrait Mr Bone
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The hon. Lady seems to be welcoming what Governments have done against slavery, and she says that raising awareness and encouraging people to report has created more victims. Does she support what this Government and previous Governments have done to make this country the leader in the fight against modern-day slavery?

Anne McLaughlin Portrait Anne McLaughlin
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I support any attempts to help people who are victims of modern slavery, of course I do. Some good measures have been taken—of course they have—but it depresses me that this Government continually assume that anyone displaying signs of vulnerability, who for a number of reasons might not be able to come forward and present their story to the authorities immediately, is somehow acting in bad faith or gaming the system. There is a distinct lack of compassion and understanding in equal measure regarding the severe trauma suffered by some victims and its impact on their testimony.

There are reasons why people are late in coming forward. I want to read something from the guidance for this Parliament’s Modern Slavery Act 2015. It states:

“Victims’ early accounts may be affected by the impact of trauma. This can result in delayed disclosure”—

the thing that we are now saying damages their credibility—

“difficulty recalling facts, or symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder…Victims may also be reluctant to self identify for a number of other reasons that can make understanding their experiences challenging”.

Who wrote that? This Government did, so they know, yet they seek to punish victims by accusing anyone who fails to recount their traumatic experiences in time.

To state that someone has experienced exploitation is in many ways similar to domestic violence in terms of how complicated it is. Exploitation is often committed by someone the victim knows or is close to, and it can happen very gradually over a long time. Some victims of exploitation are unaware there is even a crime being committed against them until it is too late, which this Bill will only prove to exacerbate.

Some victims might not want to admit they have been exploited, particularly in cases of sexual abuse, where cultural sensitivities could mean a victim feels ashamed—shame that they should not feel, but do feel anyway. As my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow Central (Alison Thewliss) pointed out, men who are exploited may feel ashamed or degraded by their lack of agency. Let us not forget that a lot of victims are terrified that if they reveal information, they or their family, here or wherever they have come from, might be punished by the traffickers. That is how they get them. The Met police said recently that it takes two years on average to get a west African victim of juju-induced slavery to reveal what happened to them.

Then there are those who simply block it out. They do not consciously block it out; their unconscious mind cannot cope with it any longer. I had a friend many years ago who I used to visit every six months or so. One time I went to stay with her for the weekend. She worked as a cleaner in a local primary school. She had a normal life. She built a life for herself. She had a family and everything and this job. She was cleaning, and suddenly she had a flashback—for anyone who does not know, a flashback is not a memory; it is reliving the moment—to when she was eight years old and her stepfather was raping her. It was the most terrifying thing, clearly, but she was then in her 40s, and she only remembered it all those years later. She had the courage to speak to her siblings, one of whom had remembered it and had not told anybody. Sometimes it is simply that it is gone from someone’s memory, but it can come back, and we should not be punishing people in those cases.

These measures will not prevent false claims. Instead, they will create an even deeper mistrust and suspicion of the authorities, and the only people who will gain from that are, as others have said, those who are seeking to exploit and extort these vulnerable victims. Traffickers use the fear of the authorities as a means of control, and this Bill will just give them, as my hon. Friend the Member for Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East (Stuart C. McDonald) said, a broader set of tools. I cannot work out whether those supporting these measures do not realise that, or just do not care. It is increasingly looking like the latter, particularly over the past couple of days and throughout Committee.

Nationality and Borders Bill Debate

Full Debate: Read Full Debate
Department: Home Office

Nationality and Borders Bill

Peter Bone Excerpts
Tom Pursglove Portrait Tom Pursglove
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I will not repeat the many, many occasions on which I have set out on the Floor of the House and in Committee during the Bill’s passage the many and varied safe and legal routes that exist. My hon. Friend the Member for Bromley and Chislehurst (Sir Robert Neill), the Chair of the Justice Committee, has rightly touched on the need to reform the casework situation, which is precisely what we are doing through the new plan for immigration. I encourage him to be in the right Lobby this evening to help us get on with delivering on that priority, which is one priority among a number as we reform the system.

It is simply unnecessary, inappropriate and unconstitutional for the courts to have a duty to make declarations of incompatibility in circumstances where questions of compliance have already been determined by Parliament, so we cannot accept Lords amendment 5D.

On differentiation, Lords amendments 6D to 6F would make it harder to differentiate by placing significant evidential burdens on the Secretary of State. They would also set out our existing legal obligations on the face of the Bill, such as our duties under the refugee convention and the European convention on human rights, especially the article 8 right to family life. All of this is either unnecessary or unacceptable. We therefore do not accept these amendments.

Finally, the arguments on the right to work have been well rehearsed at several points in the passage of the Bill. In principle, we are concerned about the way in which this would undercut the points-based system, which we believe is the right system for facilitating lawful migration into our country—that skills-based approach, exactly as the British people voted for in the referendum in 2016. I go back to this point: our objective is to speed up caseworking, which then, of itself, ensures that we do not need to go down the route—

Peter Bone Portrait Mr Peter Bone (Wellingborough) (Con)
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Does the excellent Minister know the majorities the other place had for sending these amendments back to us? Given the large built-in anti-Government majority in the Lords, it seems to me that they must have been quite large.

Tom Pursglove Portrait Tom Pursglove
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My hon. Friend probes me on this with good reason. Off the top of my head, I believe that one of them was won by one vote, one was won by eight votes and one was won by 25 votes. So they are not particularly hefty majorities. The time has come to get on and pass this Bill. This Government’s new plan for immigration will tackle illegal migration and reform the asylum system.

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Stephen Kinnock Portrait Stephen Kinnock
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I can tell the hon. Gentleman that it will be a hell of a lot more than what will be returned under the Rwanda scheme. He knows that it is forecast that 23,000 people will seek to make that dangerous journey. The Rwanda scheme will not even scratch the surface. That is the reality. The only way to deal with this problem is through a proper removal agreement.

Only the Labour party can reset the UK’s relationship with France and the EU, and from there strike a robust removal agreement that would truly act as a deterrent against the criminal people smugglers by breaking their business model. A Labour Government would also engage with Europol and the French authorities to create effective co-operation in the pursuit and prosecution of the criminal gangs who are running the people smuggling and human trafficking, rather than the constant war of words with our European partners and allies, which is all we ever get from this headline-chasing Government. Cheap headlines are all they care about, as everybody on the Labour Benches knows.

Thirdly, absolutely none of the Government’s safe and legal routes seems to work. The Afghan citizens resettlement scheme is not even off the ground. The Syria route has been ditched. The Dubs scheme for unaccompanied children has also been cancelled. The Ukraine scheme today had a queue three hours long in Portcullis House of MPs’ staffers fighting for Ukrainians on behalf of their constituents, because the visas simply are not getting processed. Somehow, the Home Secretary has managed to turn an inspiring tale of British generosity into a bureaucratic nightmare. Labour would make safe and legal routes work, which in turn would strike another blow against the people smugglers.

Peter Bone Portrait Mr Bone
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I have a lot of time for the shadow Minister, but he is on a really sticky wicket here. Can he just answer these two questions? Is it the Labour party’s policy that we should not take any migrants to Rwanda? Secondly, is he not then scared that by not doing that it will encourage the evil people smugglers in their work?

Stephen Kinnock Portrait Stephen Kinnock
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The hon. Gentleman will know that the Home Secretary’s top civil servant has said that the Rwanda scheme will not work as a deterrent and it delivers no value for money whatever for the British taxpayer. What matters is what works, and that scheme will not work.