Debates between Lord Faulks and Lord Murray of Blidworth during the 2019 Parliament

Illegal Migration Update

Debate between Lord Faulks and Lord Murray of Blidworth
Wednesday 6th September 2023

(9 months, 1 week ago)

Lords Chamber
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Lord Murray of Blidworth Portrait Lord Murray of Blidworth (Con)
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Clearly, safeguarding is a significant consideration. The Kent Intake Unit, where unaccompanied asylum-seeking children are initially triaged, is certainly somewhere where safeguarding concerns are taken very seriously. The staff there pay very close attention to ensuring the best possible care for the children who pass through the centre. Careful consideration is given in the cases of very young children that they are not sent to hotel accommodation but, rather, to local authority accommodation if it is at all possible.

I should add that, of course, the vast bulk of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children are nearer the age of 18—that is, 16, 17 or 18 years old.

Lord Faulks Portrait Lord Faulks (Non-Afl)
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My Lords, the Statement and, indeed, the Minister emphasised how lawyers have been, and are, capable of frustrating this process in ways that would often constitute serious criminal offences. Of course, those are matters for prosecuting authorities or the Solicitors Regulation Authority if the stories that the Daily Mail has helpfully published are true, and there is no reason to think that they are not true.

The Statement talks about the Professional Enablers Taskforce. Can the Minister set my mind at rest about whether this will help very much? Is there not a danger that having a bureaucratic organisation such as the Professional Enablers Taskforce may get in the way of the fairly straightforward process of prosecuting by the authorities or, indeed, pursuing professional matters under the regulation authority?

Lord Murray of Blidworth Portrait Lord Murray of Blidworth (Con)
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I thank the noble Lord for that question. The Professional Enablers Taskforce will perform the important function of ensuring that information is shared between the Home Office—of course, it has access to the documents relating to the various cases and could arguably provide witnesses in relation to them—the regulatory bodies of the various lawyers concerned, the police and the prosecuting authorities. The exchange of information in such circumstances is a great enabler to the successful prosecution and conviction of these people who would abuse our asylum system and our system of humanitarian protection for personal or professional financial gain.