Asylum Seekers: Missing from Registered Address Debate

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Thursday 2nd May 2024

(2 months, 3 weeks ago)

Lords Chamber
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Lord Gascoigne Portrait Lord Gascoigne (Con)
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I am grateful to the right reverend Prelate. I have to say to the people of Skegness that I remember many a fine time in that part of the world when I was a young lad. Sadly, I have not been there recently. The right reverend Prelate is absolutely right that many communities up and down the land have been very hospitable, understanding and supportive. Helping those who need it goes to the vein of what this country is. The general point is that immigration, both legal and illegal, needs to be controlled. I am pleased to say that we have made great strides in clearing the backlog and that 100,000 cases have been processed, as we promised. I am happy to look at any outstanding issues in this area and pick them up with the right reverend Prelate outside the Chamber. He is very right, and we pay tribute to the people of the country for helping all people in need.

Lord Morrow Portrait Lord Morrow (DUP)
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My Lords, can the Minister help the House with this? The Dublin Administration speak of 80% of asylum seekers crossing from Northern Ireland, but does he have any idea what the figure is? Some tell us that it is 80% of 20 people, which is not a vast number. Furthermore, it is very clear that the Dublin Administration insisted that borders must be open at all times. Why are they changing their mind now?

Lord Gascoigne Portrait Lord Gascoigne (Con)
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I am afraid I do not know what number that is 80% of, and nor do I think it appropriate to talk about it, but this Government are absolutely committed to the Good Friday agreement. We will do all we can to ensure that there is no hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland. This is an incredibly sensitive issue and I know that some of the noble Lord’s colleagues raised this in a debate in the Chamber yesterday evening. As I said earlier, the Secretary of State is seeking urgent clarification with his Irish counterpart.