Asylum Seekers: Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity

Lord Duncan of Springbank Excerpts
Wednesday 25th October 2023

(8 months, 3 weeks ago)

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Lord Duncan of Springbank Portrait Lord Duncan of Springbank (Con)
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My Lords, I am slightly troubled by some of the remarks made by the Home Secretary, to be perfectly frank. There is a phrase, “performative utterance”. By creating a space in which it is possible to doubt and to sow that doubt you are therefore making it discomforting for those who might seek asylum in this country and all the good things which we have stated. I would like to believe that the Home Secretary did not mean what she said. Is the Minister sure that she did mean that?

Lord Murray of Blidworth Portrait Lord Murray of Blidworth (Con)
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I am unsure what my noble friend has deduced from the Home Secretary’s speech. She merely observed that the European Court of Human Rights could be more transparent and accountable in how it interprets rights. The Government do not believe that it is necessary to leave the ECHR in order to deliver major priorities such as tackling illegal migration. I can only commend her speech to noble Lords. It repays careful reading.

Ukraine Refugee Visas

Lord Duncan of Springbank Excerpts
Thursday 31st March 2022

(2 years, 3 months ago)

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Lord Harrington of Watford Portrait Lord Harrington of Watford (Con)
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I thank the noble Lord, Lord Dubs, and I hope he knows that I have the utmost respect for him. I worked with him on the Syrian refugee programme. He disagreed with me a lot then, but we had a very proper and positive dialogue. I think he also knows that it is always my hope and attempt to do what he asks me to do, because that is the kind of person he is—and, I hope, the kind of person I am. What he said about the five applications is totally unacceptable. I apologise if he has not had an answer. I personally have not seen his letter, but before I go home today I will make sure that I have and will report to him on that.

I take a little—I want to be tactful and not say “offence”; I do not say that at all—disagreement with what he said about us being a laughing stock. With our family scheme and our Homes for Ukraine scheme, more than 20,000 people have gone through the system. I assure him and noble Lords that this is not complacency. The figure is more than 3,000; the scheme started days ago. I will be held to account at this Dispatch Box, but I think it is too early to do so.

Lord Duncan of Springbank Portrait The Deputy Speaker (Lord Duncan of Springbank) (Con)
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My Lords, the time allowed for this Question has now elapsed. I understand that the Whip wishes to make a point.

Viscount Younger of Leckie Portrait Viscount Younger of Leckie (Con)
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My Lords, before we move on to the second UQ, I urge noble Lords to keep their questions very succinct and short—ideally just one question, possibly two—then hopefully my noble friend will be able to keep his answers short as well. The more Peers who can get in on this important subject, the better.

Homes for Ukraine Scheme

Lord Duncan of Springbank Excerpts
Thursday 31st March 2022

(2 years, 3 months ago)

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Lord Harrington of Watford Portrait Lord Harrington of Watford (Con)
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I thank my noble friend Lady Morgan for her question. If the mother in this case has a Ukrainian passport, it should be really easy for her to get a visa, by simply filling out the form and downloading it. If she does not have a passport, that could be why a visa has not been issued. For that, she would have to go to one of the VACs. I can assure her that the VACs would be very sympathetic and do everything they could to give permission. However, to give a more a detailed answer, I would have to know why she has not got her visa if she has uploaded a passport.

Lord Duncan of Springbank Portrait The Deputy Speaker (Lord Duncan of Springbank) (Con)
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My Lords, the time allowed for this Question has now elapsed.

Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill

Lord Duncan of Springbank Excerpts
Motions N agreed.
Lord Duncan of Springbank Portrait The Deputy Speaker (Lord Duncan of Springbank) (Con)
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Let us take a moment or two to clear the Chamber before we move onto the next piece of business.

Ukraine: Urgent Refugee Applications

Lord Duncan of Springbank Excerpts
Wednesday 9th March 2022

(2 years, 4 months ago)

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Baroness Williams of Trafford Portrait Baroness Williams of Trafford (Con)
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I heard not much of the noble Lord’s question, but I am guessing that it concerned the appointment of my very dear friend Richard Harrington as Minister for Refugees. I know him well and he will be a superb appointment.

Lord Duncan of Springbank Portrait The Deputy Speaker (Lord Duncan of Springbank) (Con)
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My Lords, the time allowed for this Question is now up and I will allow a moment or two to clear the Chamber for those who want to escape before the next business takes place.

Windrush Compensation Scheme

Lord Duncan of Springbank Excerpts
Wednesday 24th November 2021

(2 years, 7 months ago)

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Baroness Williams of Trafford Portrait Baroness Williams of Trafford (Con)
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I did try to explain what action has been taken, which has meant that compensation has risen from less than £3 million to over £31.6 million, with a further £5.6 million being offered since the changes were made in December. As I have explained, transferring out of the Home Office would not necessarily result in further improvements.

Lord Duncan of Springbank Portrait The Deputy Speaker (Lord Duncan of Springbank) (Con)
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My Lords, the time allowed for the Question has now elapsed.

Terrorist Incident at Liverpool Women’s Hospital

Lord Duncan of Springbank Excerpts
Wednesday 17th November 2021

(2 years, 8 months ago)

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Baroness Williams of Trafford Portrait Baroness Williams of Trafford (Con)
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The noble Baroness is right. I have said so many times at this Dispatch Box that the vast majority of people who are Muslim and who live in this country are law-abiding, share our values and contribute to society. We have just celebrated their role in helping us in the First World War. We talked about free speech yesterday or the day before; I totally agree that, in these discussions, there should be respect for free speech.

Lord Duncan of Springbank Portrait The Deputy Speaker (Lord Duncan of Springbank) (Con)
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My Lords, the time allowed for the Urgent Question has now elapsed. We will take a moment to let people who do not want to be here for the next piece of business escape from the Chamber—[Interruption.]—accompanied by music. If only all the times I stood up I was accompanied by a jaunty tune, but unfortunately that cannot be so.

Baroness Blower Portrait Baroness Blower (Lab)
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My Lords, I offer my profound apologies for that unwarranted intervention in the work of the House.

Lord Duncan of Springbank Portrait The Deputy Speaker (Lord Duncan of Springbank) (Con)
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That is very kind of you to say so.

Registration of Marriages Regulations 2021

Lord Duncan of Springbank Excerpts
Tuesday 23rd March 2021

(3 years, 3 months ago)

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Motion agreed.
Lord Duncan of Springbank Portrait The Deputy Speaker (Lord Duncan of Springbank) (Con)
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Before we move on to the next business, we will have a small breather to allow people to escape the Chamber.

Domestic Abuse Bill

Lord Duncan of Springbank Excerpts
Baroness Williams of Trafford Portrait Baroness Williams of Trafford (Con) [V]
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My Lords, I thank all noble Lords who have spoken in what has been an incredibly thoughtful debate, and I thank the noble Baroness, Lady Kennedy of Cradley, for her rather timely retabling of this amendment, which in Committee was tabled by the noble Lord, Lord Russell of Liverpool. The noble Baroness has highlighted how the collection of data could add to our understanding of the nature of hate crimes against women and thereby find ways of tackling it, and I agree on that. Perhaps I may make it absolutely clear to the noble Baroness that we are more than willing to engage on the issue of data collection. Not only is it crucial to our understanding of the issue, it will enable us to find solutions to some of the problems we face.

I have read the article about Sue Fish’s appearance on “Woman’s Hour”. I was rather taken aback that the woman who had instigated the collection of data in Nottingham said that she would be reluctant to come forward about something that happened to her personally because of some of the prejudice that she felt she might face. That should give us all pause for thought about the issue at hand.

I join with other noble Lords in being appalled and shocked at the killing of Sarah Everard, and again our thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends. As the noble Lord, Lord Paddick, has pointed out, criminal proceedings are under way, but this brings into sharp focus the need to protect women and girls from violence. The Government are of course deeply committed to tackling all forms of violence against women and girls, and this Bill is a testament to that. We have also brought forward a number of measures in the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, which just last week was introduced in the House of Commons, to strengthen the management of sex offenders and those who pose a risk.

I agree with my noble friend Lord Young of Cookham, who said that we should not react in a knee-jerk way. I do not think that we have done that in this Bill, but I have given this issue much thought. We need to do more to keep women and girls safe from harassment, abuse, sexual and other violence, That is why in December we launched a call for evidence to inform our forthcoming Ending Violence Against Women and Girls strategy. When it closed last month, it had already received more than 19,000 responses, and in recognition of the renewed debate on women’s safety in recent days, we have now reopened it for a further two weeks to 26 March. We have already received over 120,000 responses and I would encourage the public to share their views. We will use the responses to develop a strategy to better target perpetrators and to support victims and survivors. Our aim is to publish the new strategy by the summer.

I cannot but agree wholeheartedly that all hate crimes are abhorrent and should be dealt with using the full force of the law, regardless of gender or any other characteristic. I made the position of the Government quite plain in Committee that all crimes motivated by hatred are totally unacceptable and have no place in our society. I also set out that this was the reason why, in 2018, as part of the Government’s updating of our hate crime action plan, we asked the Law Commission to undertake a review of the current hate crime legislation. This includes a review of whether other protected characteristics such as sex, gender and age should be included.

During the course of the review in 2019 and last year, the Law Commission organised events across England and Wales, speaking to as many people as possible who have an interest in this area of the law. We asked the commission to look at the current range of offences and aggravating factors in sentencing, and to make recommendations on the most appropriate models to ensure that the criminal law provides consistent and effective protection from conduct motivated by hatred towards protected groups or characteristics. In addition, the review took account of the existing range of protected characteristics to identify potential gaps in the legislation so that the review could make recommendations to ensure consistency of approach. As noble Lords will know, the consultation of the Law Commission to support the review closed in December. In that consultation, it focused on the issue of whether sex or gender should be added to hate crime law, noting that adding misogyny by itself might introduce inconsistencies to hate crime laws.

The Law Commission has pointed out that this is complex. Its consultation has highlighted a number of issues that need further consideration to ensure that adding sex or gender to the hate crime framework brings greater rather than less effectiveness to the law. This includes ensuring that linking domestic abuse and sex-based hostility does not create a hierarchy of harm in those cases of abuse where a sex-based hostility is more difficult to demonstrate and is seen as being less important. The Law Commission also talked about the need to ensure that the law itself is coherent, which is why it has been discussing the possibility of carve-outs to ensure that domestic abuse legislation does not conflict with how hate crime laws operate. These are just two examples of the complexity of this issue that the Law Commission is still working through.

I shall go back to the point made by my noble friend Lord Young of Cookham. Before we make long-term decisions on changes to police recording practices in this area, I still think that we should wait for the outcome of the Law Commission’s review, which is an in-depth and wide-ranging one into the complex area of hate crime. Moreover, I do not think that further legislation is required. Section 44 of the Police Act 1996 already allows the Secretary of State to require chief officers of police to provide information relating to policing in their area. This might include statistical or other information related to policing, crime and disorder. It provides the statutory basis for the annual data requirement from police forces in England and Wales, which includes recorded hate crime.

While the amendment is not needed, as the necessary powers are already in place to require forces to provide information of this kind, we agree that data can be helpful and we know that some police forces like Nottingham are already collecting it. I advise the House that, on an experimental basis, we will ask police forces to identify and record any crimes of violence against the person, including stalking and harassment, as well as sexual offences where the victim perceives it to have been motivated by a hostility based on their sex. As I have said, this can then inform longer-term decisions once we have considered the recommendations made by the Law Commission. We will shortly begin the consultation with the National Police Chiefs’ Council and forces on this with a view to commencing the experimental collection of data from this autumn.

In response to the question put by the noble Baroness, Lady Kennedy, and the noble Lords, Lord Russell and Lord Paddick, the detail of the consultation is still to be worked through. That is not to exclude gender, but just to say that the detail remains to be worked out. In giving this undertaking and in the knowledge that the necessary legislation is already in place, I hope that the noble Baroness, Lady Kennedy, will be happy to withdraw her amendment.

Lord Duncan of Springbank Portrait The Deputy Speaker (Lord Duncan of Springbank) (Con)
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I have received two requests to speak after the Minister, from the noble Lords, Lord Hunt of Kings Heath and Lord Russell of Liverpool. I will call them in that order.

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath Portrait Lord Hunt of Kings Heath (Lab) [V]
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My Lords, I warmly thank my noble friend Lady Kennedy and the Minister for her response. Can the Minister confirm that the Nottinghamshire Police official definition is the following:

“Incidents against women that are motivated by an attitude of a man towards a woman and includes behaviour targeted towards a woman by men simply because they are a woman”?


I take it that there is no question of introducing the sex or gender terminology used in this amendment, which is different from the amendment moved in Committee, and has certainly not been endorsed by the Law Commission.

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Amendment 87B withdrawn.
Lord Duncan of Springbank Portrait The Deputy Speaker (Lord Duncan of Springbank) (Con)
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The noble Baroness, Lady Deech, indicated that she may press Amendment 87C to a Division. Does she wish to move it?

Amendment 87C

Tabled by
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Amendment 90 not moved.
Lord Duncan of Springbank Portrait The Deputy Speaker (Lord Duncan of Springbank) (Con)
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We now come to the group consisting of Amendment 91. Anyone wishing to press this amendment to a Division must make that clear in debate.

Amendment 91

Moved by

Authority to Carry Scheme and Civil Penalties Regulations 2021

Lord Duncan of Springbank Excerpts
Tuesday 2nd March 2021

(3 years, 4 months ago)

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Lord Duncan of Springbank Portrait The Deputy Speaker (Lord Duncan of Springbank) (Con)
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My Lords, the hybrid Sitting of the House will now resume. I ask Members to respect social distancing. The time allowed for the following debate is one and a half hours.