Minors Entering the UK: 1948 to 1971 Debate

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Department: Home Office

Minors Entering the UK: 1948 to 1971

John Howell Excerpts
Monday 30th April 2018

(6 years, 2 months ago)

Westminster Hall
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Steve Double Portrait Steve Double (St Austell and Newquay) (Con)
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I beg to move,

That this House has considered e-petition 216539 relating to people who entered the UK as minors between 1948 and 1971.

It is a great pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Mr Austin. It is also a great honour to open the debate on this important and pressing issue. To make it clear, I do so as a member of the Petitions Committee, which agreed to schedule the debate today.

I thank the petitioner, Mr Patrick Vernon, whom I had the pleasure of meeting just before the debate, and the more than 178,000 people who have signed the e-petition in just a few days. It calls for an amnesty for any minor who arrived in Britain between 1948 and 1971. Its goes into further detail and includes a link to a story published by The Guardian on 30 March about Elwaldo Romeo, a man who moved from Antigua to the UK nearly 60 years ago as a child and who has lived and worked in this country ever since. Mr Romeo received a letter from the Home Office stating that he was liable to detention as he was classified as a “person without leave.”

After Mr Romeo experienced difficulty in producing documentation to prove his identity and right to remain in the UK, he was asked to report to the Home Office every fortnight and offered help and support to return home voluntarily, according to The Guardian. He is understandably anxious that the Home Office will pay a visit to his doorstep and forcibly detain him.

John Howell Portrait John Howell (Henley) (Con)
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During the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting, the BBC interviewed a Caribbean Prime Minister who stated that this was “more cock-up than conspiracy”. Does that not influence our decision? It was an administrative mistake that must be put right as quickly as possible.

Steve Double Portrait Steve Double
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My hon. Friend is right. This is a mistake, not a conspiracy, with a well-meaning policy having been wrongly applied to people to whom it should never have been applied. I will go on to develop that point, as I am sure other right hon. and hon. Members will do.