Debates between Lord Green of Deddington and Lord German during the 2019-2024 Parliament

Mon 3rd Jul 2023

Illegal Migration Bill

Debate between Lord Green of Deddington and Lord German
Lord Green of Deddington Portrait Lord Green of Deddington (CB)
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My Lords, I shall be even briefer. I listened with great interest to our two lawyers. They spoke with the fluency and knowledge that one simply has to respect. However, I point out that we face a very difficult policy problem, with serious effects on public opinion towards immigrants and arrivals in Britain. We face a situation in which, so far, what the Government have done has had no or very little effect. If this continues for some months or longer, there will be a serious impact on the authority of this Government and, possibly, the successor Government. I ask the lawyers and other Members of the House to bear those aspects in mind.

Lord German Portrait Lord German (LD)
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My Lords, in the absence of my noble friend Lady Ludford, who cannot be in her place today, I will speak to Amendments 77, 78 and 79, which are in her name and that of the noble Lord, Lord Anderson of Ipswich. Those three amendments are intended to tackle the same issues as those tackled by the noble Lord, Lord Carlile, albeit with a different approach. If the noble Lord wishes to press his Amendment 66 to a vote, we will support him.

It is critical that the decision about the reasonableness—we have just heard that word from the noble Viscount, Lord Hailsham—of the length of immigration detention remains a matter for judges, not for the Secretary of State. Incidentally, those who read the judgment of the Appeal Court last week will have noted subsection (5) of paragraph 264, in which the Appeal Court questions

“whether the culture of the Rwandan judiciary will mean that judges are reluctant to reverse the decisions of the Minister”.

This very much puts the separation of powers between the courts and the Executive in Rwanda under question. Here we have virtually the same process, in which the courts of this country are being denied the principles on which they have operated. Set against that is a decision that is down to the reasonableness of the Secretary of State.

It is critical to preserve the Hardial Singh principles to ensure that the most vulnerable people do not have their freedoms curtailed unjustifiably. When the Secretary of State deprives someone of their liberty, there must be a clear avenue for the person to seek independent review of the legality and necessity of their detention. Detention should be for only a short period pending removal. We know now from the judgment that that will be much more unlikely. With no viable agreements in place, save with individual countries for individual persons who belong to those countries, it is highly likely that the 28 days that people will be detained on arrival in the UK will not be pending removal but will be purposely and purely to deter others.

We will be building up more and more people in detention or in some form of curtailed liberties. That is wrong, and it is why the judiciary needs to maintain oversight. This is critical, given that the Bill intends to detain everyone, regardless of age, ill health, disability and trauma. I am pleased to speak to these amendments and, as I say, these Benches will support the noble Lord, Lord Carlile, if he wishes to press his amendment.