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

Wed 20th Mar 2024
Mon 19th Feb 2024
Tue 29th Nov 2022

Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill

Debate between Lord Green of Deddington and Lord Murray of Blidworth
Lord Murray of Blidworth Portrait Lord Murray of Blidworth (Con)
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No, that is simply not the case at all. What the noble Lord appears to suggest is that there is a confusion in the Rwandan constitution; I do not see that at all. The point is that they have agreed that treaties will have a kind of direct effect in domestic courts and once ratified, that is indeed the case. The concern by which he sought to encourage noble Lords to support the Motion before us today is, I suggest, simply not on a secure foundation.

Lord Green of Deddington Portrait Lord Green of Deddington (CB)
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My Lords, I will speak only once in this debate and very briefly, as usual. I should just mention my interest as president of Migration Watch UK. We have been pressing the Government for three years to get a hold of asylum but, regrettably, the situation has deteriorated greatly. There is something missing from the discussion of this subject, and that is the public. There have been plenty of very interesting and capable legal arguments—I do not touch on any of those—but we must not forget that very substantial numbers in this country are concerned about what is happening now on our borders. The Government need to get a grip and if they do not succeed, the next Government will have to tackle it so let us not be too legalistic. Let us see if we can find a way through.

Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill

Debate between Lord Green of Deddington and Lord Murray of Blidworth
Lord Green of Deddington Portrait Lord Green of Deddington (CB)
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I understand that but I said at the beginning of my speech that I was going to range more widely. There are difficulties concerning children, but the point of the Bill is deterrence. If the Government can deter people from coming here, they are saving themselves a lot of difficulties. If the Government can deter people from sending their children here, often alone, they can avoid the difficulties the noble Baroness and her colleagues have so rightly described.

I have just one other point to make. The British public are very angry indeed. Some 68% want to see effective action; I sympathise with them and would like to find a way to deal with the problem. The Bill clearly has some serious difficulties and it has been strongly attacked in this House without much attention given to the real issue facing the Government—and the next Government—of how to deal with the inflow and the state of public opinion.

In reviewing where we have got to, I have looked at the amendments being discussed. There are at least nine that would render the Government’s policy completely ineffective; they would torpedo it and, therefore, later in this process, will have to be addressed. I am referring to Amendments 1C, 8, 20, 36, 39, 48, 57, 81 and 90. Most of those would pretty much destroy the Government’s policy.

I conclude with a quotation from the former Home Secretary, Suella Braverman, who wrote in connection with a paper produced by the CPS:

“The British public are fair-minded, tolerant and generous in spirit. But we are fed up with the continued flouting of our laws and immigration rules to game our asylum system. And we’ve had enough of the persistent abuse of human rights laws to thwart the removal of those with no right to be in the UK. This must end. Saying so is not xenophobic or anti-immigration”.


I recognise that that is a different note and I am quoting the former Home Secretary, but a lot of people outside this Chamber would agree with that.

Lord Murray of Blidworth Portrait Lord Murray of Blidworth (Con)
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My Lords, it is always a pleasure to follow the noble Lord, Lord Green. For my part, I agree with his assessment. However, it is one of the unfortunate features of the area that our more generous arrangements for handling unaccompanied asylum-seeking children are open to abuse and are abused. We needed to take steps to stop that. That is why, in the Illegal Migration Act, we put into force Sections 57 and 58. In the Nationality and Borders Act, authorisation was given for the utilisation of scientific methods of age assessment, all of which aim to prevent adults abusing our special arrangements for unaccompanied asylum-seeking children.

All these amendments, in particular Amendment 55, will not have the objective that the noble Baroness, Lady Lister of Burtersett, sought to persuade the Committee. She says in her Member’s explanatory statement that the amendment

“avoids a situation in which an unaccompanied child is erroneously relocated to the Republic of Rwanda”.

That is simply not the case. If one looks at the Illegal Migration Act, one will see that Section 57(1) makes it clear that it applies only if the

“relevant authority decides the age of a person … who meets the four conditions in section 2”—

ie, that they are an illegal entrant—and determines their age in accordance with Sections 50 and 51 of the Nationality and Borders Act, using scientific methods. The effect of the provision is to avoid the hazard that there will be repeated challenges which would be suspensive of removal. It does not take away someone’s opportunity to challenge completely the finding that they are, in fact, an adult. It simply says that they have to do that from Rwanda, and there is nothing wrong with that. For those reasons, I oppose these amendments.

Net Migration

Debate between Lord Green of Deddington and Lord Murray of Blidworth
Tuesday 29th November 2022

(1 year, 7 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Lord Green of Deddington Portrait Lord Green of Deddington
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To ask His Majesty’s Government how they intend to meet their commitment to reduce net migration, given the estimate by the Office for National Statistics, published on 24 November, that net international migration to the United Kingdom was 504,000 for the year ending June 2022.

Lord Murray of Blidworth Portrait The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Murray of Blidworth) (Con)
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The Government are committed to controlling immigration and ensuring that it works in the UK’s best interests. Our immediate priority is continuing to tackle abuse in the system and prevent dangerous and illegal crossings. In the medium to long term, we will continue to strike a balance between reducing overall net migration and ensuring that businesses have access to the skills that they need.

Lord Green of Deddington Portrait Lord Green of Deddington (CB)
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My Lords, half a million immigrants in one year is truly extraordinary: more than the population of Manchester or Edinburgh. Admittedly, that includes 200,000 refugees from Ukraine, Hong Kong and Afghanistan. Even if you allow for that, it is now clear that the Government’s points-based system has opened up nearly half of all full-time jobs to immigrant workers. Will the Government now retighten the requirements for work visas for students and dependants so as to get a grip on the huge wave of immigration that they have so foolishly sparked off and which, rightly, is a very serious concern to many members of the public?

Lord Murray of Blidworth Portrait Lord Murray of Blidworth (Con)
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As the noble Lord rightly observes, the net migration figures estimated by the ONS this year reflect the very unusual international circumstances in which we find ourselves. Home Office statistics show that we have helped over 144,000 people from Hong Kong, 144,600 people fleeing the war in Ukraine and nearly 23,000 people from Afghanistan to find safety in the UK. This means that the current set of figures is an outlier. The level of immigration for study visas reflects government policy, in that we are encouraging students from other parts of the world to study at British universities, with the great benefit that brings both to Britain and to those people who have the benefit of a British education.