All 3 Lindsay Hoyle contributions to the Nationality and Borders Act 2022

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Mon 19th Jul 2021
Nationality and Borders Bill
Commons Chamber

2nd reading (day 1) & 2nd reading
Wed 8th Dec 2021
Nationality and Borders Bill
Commons Chamber

Report stage (day 2) & 3rd reading
Tue 22nd Mar 2022
Nationality and Borders Bill
Commons Chamber

Consideration of Lords amendments & Consideration of Lords amendments

Nationality and Borders Bill Debate

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Department: Home Office

Nationality and Borders Bill

Lindsay Hoyle Excerpts
2nd reading
Monday 19th July 2021

(3 years ago)

Commons Chamber
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Neale Hanvey Portrait Neale Hanvey (Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath) (Alba)
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I make no apology for addressing this Bill through a Scottish prism. Perhaps with the absence of the hon. Member for North East Bedfordshire (Richard Fuller), the voices that I have heard from the Conservative Benches have been really quite dispiriting.

There is a toast from the bard in Scotland that contains the phrase “Wha’s like us?” but that toast will never be proposed to the British nationalism riven through the heart of this tawdry Government, no more evidenced than by the tenor, tone and impact of this inhumane anti-refugee Bill. This Government never seek or seem to learn: Windrush; the PM’s betrayal of his own Brexit promises to our EU friends, neighbours and family; and a Bill that is hostile to the world from a Government hostile to Scotland but with the temerity to claim that they speak for us and that we are one nation.

If this Bill achieves anything, it will be to demonstrate how very different we are. What does it say to us in Scotland? It says, “We care not for your identity as a nation.” It says, “You will fall in line; you will fail to meet the refugee convention; you will criminalise asylum seekers for exercising their legal right to seek asylum; you will process traumatised asylum seekers offshore; you will pile pressure on to the judicial system while reducing access to justice; you will retraumatise victims; you will remove hope; and you will decrease protection and enhance exploitation.” It says, “You will do all this not because you want to, but because we say so; your international welcome is not valued by this Government and your international friends are no friends of ours.” Nothing makes the case for independence more strongly than such a murky piece of legislation.

The people of Scotland will reject the UK Government’s divisive, jingoistic nationalism and are revolted by the casual xenophobia it embodies. Successive UK Governments have had no qualms about hostility, invading nations, instigating conflict and supplying weapons to oppressive regimes the world over in the pursuit of wealth. Despite that profit, there is not a blush when they complain that those they have helped to displace seek refuge on these shores. Those are people in desperate need. They are victims recast as “us” and “them.” The response of providing needed help is not just a matter of basic humanity; it is a fundamental ethical concern. There is no “us” in humanity, and no “them” in humanity. There is no humanity in this Bill and no humility in this Government.

It is time for Scotland to face facts. We were dragged out of the EU against our will and Scotland is being dragged through the gutter by the Tory party yet again. The people of Scotland: wha’s like us? They certainly do not think that it is this shoddy Westminster Government.

Lindsay Hoyle Portrait Mr Speaker
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Excellent—perfect timing.

Ordered, That the debate be now adjourned.—(Maria Caulfield.)

Debate to be resumed tomorrow.

Jim Shannon Portrait Jim Shannon (Strangford) (DUP)
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On a point of order, Mr Speaker. For those who were on the list and were not called—there were a few people left—can I just ask for your direction and help? Will those who were not successful today be called tomorrow?

Lindsay Hoyle Portrait Mr Speaker
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First, I do not think that was quite a point of order. I think you want some clarification for tomorrow and, Jim, I presume you must be acting for others and not yourself when you ask that question. I would say that I think those Members who did not get in today will automatically be put on the list for tomorrow, and I hope those who do not want to be on the list will withdraw.

Nationality and Borders Bill Debate

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Department: Home Office

Nationality and Borders Bill

Lindsay Hoyle Excerpts
Diana Johnson Portrait Dame Diana Johnson (Kingston upon Hull North) (Lab)
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I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time.

Lindsay Hoyle Portrait Mr Speaker
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With this it will be convenient to discuss the following:

New clause 6—Exemption for child victims of modern slavery, exploitation or trafficking

‘(1) The Secretary of State may not serve a slavery or trafficking information notice on a person in respect of an incident or incidents which occurred when the person was aged under 18 years.

(2) Section 61 of this Act does not apply in cases where either of the positive reasonable grounds decisions related to an incident or incidents which occurred when the person was aged under 18 years.

(3) Section 62 of this Act does not apply in cases where the positive reasonable grounds decision related to an incident or incidents which occurred when the person was aged under 18 years.

(4) Sections 64(3) and 64(6) of this Act do not apply in cases where the positive conclusive grounds decision related to an incident or incidents which occurred when the person was aged under 18 years.’

This new clause would exempt victims of modern slavery, exploitation or trafficking from many of the provisions in Part 5 of the Bill if they were under 18 when they became a victim.

New clause 30—Victim Navigators

‘(1) The Secretary of State must, within six months of the date of Royal Assent to this Act, make provisions for each police force in England and Wales to have one or more Independent Victim Navigators to liaise between the relevant police force and potential victims of slavery or human trafficking and to assist in the procurement of specialist advice for both the police force and the potential victim.

(2) Regulations under this section—

(a) shall be made by statutory instrument, and

(b) may not be made unless a draft has been laid before and approved by resolution of each House of Parliament.’

This new clause seeks to introduce provisions for Independent Victim Navigators to be in operation on a national level, acting as a liaison between the police and potential victim of slavery or human trafficking in accessing the appropriate support.

New clause 39—Identified potential victims etc: disqualification from protection

‘(1) This section applies to the construction and application of Article 13 of the Trafficking Convention.

(2) The competent authority may determine that it is not bound to observe the minimum recovery period under section 60(2) of this Act in respect of a person in relation to whom a positive reasonable grounds decision has been made, if the authority is satisfied that it is prevented from doing so—

(a) as a result of an immediate, genuine, present and serious threat to public order; or

(b) the person is claiming to be a victim of modern slavery improperly.

(3) Any determination made under subsection (2) must only be made—

(a) in exceptional circumstances;

(b) where necessary and proportionate to the threat posed; and

(c) following an assessment of all the circumstances of the case.

(4) A determination made under subsection (2) must not be made where it would breach—

(a) a person’s Human Rights Convention rights;

(b) the United Kingdom’s obligations under the Trafficking Convention; or

(c) the United Kingdom’s obligations under the Refugee Convention.

(5) For the purposes of a determination under subsection 2(b), victim status is being claimed improperly if the person knowingly and dishonestly makes a false statement without good reason, and intends by making the false statement to make a gain for themselves.

(6) A good reason for making a false statement includes, but is not limited to, circumstances where—

(a) the false statement is attributable to the person being or having been a victim of modern slavery; or

(b) where any means of trafficking were used to compel the person into making a false statement.

(7) This section does not apply where the person is under 18.

(8) Nothing in this section shall affect the application of section 60(3) of this Act.’

This new clause is an alternative to clause 62. It ensures that the power currently provided for in clause 62 is exercised in line with the UK’s obligations under Article 13 of the Trafficking Convention. This amendment also protects child victims of modern slavery from disqualification from protection.

New clause 43—Civil legal aid under section 9 of LASPO: add-on services in relation to the national referral mechanism

‘(1) Part 1 of Schedule 1 to the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (civil legal services qualifying for legal aid) is amended as follows.

(2) After paragraph 32A (Victims of slavery, servitude or forced or compulsory labour) insert—

“Pre-National Referral Mechanism advice

32B (1) Civil legal services provided to an individual in relation to referral into the national referral mechanism and connected immigration advice.

General exclusions

(3) Sub-paragraph (1) is subject to the exclusions in Part 2 of this Schedule.

Specific exclusions

(4) The civil legal services described in sub-paragraph (1) do not include—

(a) advocacy, or

(b) attendance at an interview conducted by the competent authority under the national referral mechanism for the purposes of a reasonable grounds decision or a conclusive grounds decision.

(5) In regulation 5(1) of the Civil Legal Aid (Financial Resources and Payment for Services) Regulations 2013 (S.I. 2013/480) (exceptions from requirement to make a determination in respect of an individual’s financial resources), after paragraph (l), insert—

“(m) civil legal services described in paragraph 32B of Part 1 of Schedule 1 to the Act (Civil legal services provided to an individual in relation to referral into the national referral mechanism).”’

New clause 47—Support and leave to remain for confirmed victims of slavery or human trafficking

‘This section applies if a positive conclusive grounds decision is made in respect of a person.

(1) This subsection applies if the person has received support under section 50A of the Modern Slavery Act 2015—

(a) assistance and support must be provided for at least 12 months beginning on the day on which support provided under section 50A ends,

(b) where assistance and support is provided to a person under this subsection the Secretary of State must consider whether it is necessary for the victim’s physical, psychological and social recovery or to prevent re-trafficking to provide assistance and support after the end of the period in subsection (2)(a) for as long as they think appropriate,

(c) a decision whether to provide assistance and support in accordance with subsection (2)(b) must be made at least four weeks before the end of the assistance and support provided under subsection (2)(a),

(d) a reference in this subsection to assistance and support has the same meaning as in section 50A(7) of the Modern Slavery Act 2015.

(2) This subsection applies if the person is not a British citizen—

(a) the Secretary of State must give the person leave to remain in the United Kingdom if subsection (2) or (4) or (5) applies,

(b) leave to remain provided under this subsection shall be provided from the day on which the positive conclusive grounds decision is communicated to a person for either—

(i) the amount of time support and assistance will be provided under either subsection (2) or one of the measures listed in subsection (4), or

(ii) at least 12 months if the person meets one or more of the criteria in subsection (5).

(3) This subsection applies if the person receives support and assistance under one of the following—

(a) section 18(9) of the Human Trafficking and Exploitation (Criminal Justice and Support for Victims) Act (Northern Ireland) 2015 (c. 2 (N.I.)),

(b) section 9(3)(c) of the Human Trafficking and Exploitation (Scotland) Act 2015 (asp 12), or

(c) regulation 3(4)(c) of the Human Trafficking and Exploitation (Scotland) Act 2015 (Support for Victims) Regulations 2018 (S.S.I 2018/90).

(4) This subsection applies if the person meets one or more of the following criteria—

(a) leave is necessary due to the person’s circumstances, including but not restricted to—

(i) the needs of that person for safety and protection from harm including protection from re-trafficking,

(ii) the needs of that person for medical and psychological treatment,

(b) the person is participating as a witness in criminal proceedings,

(c) the person is bringing any civil proceedings including pursuing compensation.

(5) Where the person is receiving assistance from a support worker the recommendations of the support worker must be considered in assessing that person’s circumstances under subsection (5)(a).

(6) The Secretary of State must provide for persons granted leave to remain in accordance with this section to have recourse to public funds for the duration of the period of leave.

(7) The Secretary of State must allow a grant of leave to remain under subsection (3) to be extended subject to the requirements of subsection (9).

(8) In determining whether to extend a grant of leave to remain under subsection (8), and the period of time for which such extended leave should be provided, the person’s individual circumstances must be considered, and whether that person—

(a) is receiving on-going support and assistance under the measures set out in either subsection (2) or subsection (4), or

(b) meets one or more of the criteria in subsection (5).

(9) If the Secretary of State is satisfied that the person is a threat to public order—

(a) the Secretary of State is not required to give the person leave under this section, and

(b) if such leave has already been given to the person, it may be revoked.

(10) In this section, if the person is aged below 18 years of age, the best interests of the child must be taken into consideration in accordance with section 55 of the Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Act 2009.

(11) In this section—

“positive conclusive grounds decision” means a decision made by a competent authority that a person is a victim of slavery or human trafficking;

“threat to public order” has the same meaning as subsections (3) to (7) of section 62.

(12) This section is to be treated for the purposes of section 3 of the Immigration Act 1971 as if it were provision made by that Act.’

This new clause would provide new statutory support for victims in England and Wales after a conclusive grounds decisions. It would provide leave to remain for all victims with a positive conclusive grounds decision for at least 12 months to receive support, assist police with their enquiries or seek compensation.

Amendment 127, page 57, line 3 leave out clause 57.

Amendment 128, page 57, line 25 leave out clause 58.

Amendment 5, in clause 58, page 57, line 41, at end insert—

‘(5) The provision of relevant status information identifying a person as a likely victim of human trafficking for sexual services shall constitute a “good reason” for the purposes of this section.’

This amendment would mean that the credibility of victims of human trafficking for sexual services would not be called into question by reason of the late provision of information relating to that fact.

Amendment 6, in clause 58, page 57, line 41, at end insert—

‘(5) Subsection (2) does not apply where the person is a victim of trafficking for the purposes of forced prostitution.

(6) For the purposes of subsection (5) the person may be considered a victim of trafficking for the purposes of forced prostitution if there is evidence that the person—

(a) has been transported from one location to another on a daily basis;

(b) bears signs of physical abuse including but not limited to—

(i) branding;

(ii) bruising;

(iii) scarring;

(iv) burns; or

(v) tattoos indicating gang membership;

(c) lacks access to their own earnings, such as by having no bank account in their own name;

(d) has limited to no English language skills, or only such language skills as pertain to sexualised acts;

(e) lives or stays at the same address as person(s) meeting the criteria in paragraphs (a) to (d);

(f) sleeps in the premises in which they work.’

Under this amendment, late provision of relevant status information would not be taken as damaging the credibility of the person providing the information if that person were a victim of trafficking for the purposes of forced prostitution.

Amendment 7, in clause 59, page 58, line 5, at end insert—

‘(za) at the end of paragraph (a) insert—

“(aa) the sorts of things which indicate that a person may be a victim of human trafficking for sexual services;”.’

This amendment would require the Secretary of State to issue specific guidance on the sorts of things which indicate that a person may be a victim of human trafficking for sexual services.

Government amendments 64 to 69.

Amendment 3, page 59, line 39, leave out clause 62.

This amendment would remove clause 62, which excludes potential modern slavery victims from protection in certain circumstances.

Government amendments 70 to 75.

Amendment 149, page 62, line 18, leave out clause 64.

This amendment is consequential on NC47.

Government amendments 78, 76, 77 and 79 to 83.

Amendment 130, page 63, line 26, leave out clause 65.

This amendment is consequential on NC43.

Amendment 131, page 66, line 1, leave out clause 66.

This amendment is contingent on NC43, Clause 66 would no longer be required if NC43 is agreed to.

Amendment 148, page 66, line 33, leave out clause 67.

Government amendment 84.

Amendment 129, in clause 81, page 79, line 15, at end insert—

‘(6) Part 4 (age assessments) and part 5 (modern slavery) only extend to Scotland to the extent that a motion has been approved by the Scottish Parliament, bringing them into force in Scotland.’

Under this amendment, Parts 4 and 5 of the Bill would not enter into force in Scotland until the Scottish Parliament had given its consent.

Government amendments 85 to 90.

Amendment 16, in clause 82, page 80, line 3, at end insert—

‘(5) Sections [Time limit on immigration detention], [Initial detention: criteria and duration] and [Bail hearings] come into force six months after the day on which this Act is passed.’

This amendment would bring NC15-NC17 into force six months after the day on which the Bill is passed.

Diana Johnson Portrait Dame Diana Johnson
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I rise to speak to new clause 3, which would put into law a specific offence for trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation. We know that serious organised crime networks are deeply involved in this trade in human misery. I thank Kat Banyard at UK Feminista and Tom Farr at CEASE—the Centre to End All Sexual Exploitation—UK, who have helped to draft new clause 3, and the Humber Modern Slavery Partnership at the Wilberforce Institute in Hull for all its help.

Although the Modern Slavery Act 2015 covers exploitation broadly, the catastrophically high number of women and girls trafficked into the UK for the sex industry means that it merits a specific offence. The latest figures from the national referral mechanism show that 60% of women and girls who were identified as potential victims in the past year were trafficked for purposes including sexual exploitation. In 2020, 94 women and 624 girls were trafficked and sexually exploited. These women need specific and targeted protection.

New clause 3 would ensure that the link between human trafficking and sexual exploitation is acknowledged. It would aid efforts to combat the scourge of human trafficking and broader violence against women and girls by providing a framework that would ensure that the authorities respond to individuals who may have been previously viewed as criminals as though they are, in fact, victims of sexual exploitation.

I also want to speak to amendments 5 to 7, which focus on stopping late disclosure affecting credibility and providing guidance to help the relevant authorities to identify victims. Andrew Smith of the Humber Modern Slavery Partnership, an experienced practitioner, told me:

“We know there are various reasons why we might see late disclosure by victims of sexual exploitation and trafficking. Victims may not identify as victims first and foremost, it can be only when a person is removed from the exploitative environment that they understand they were in fact being abused and exploited.”

And yet, the Bill proposes a time limit on disclosure.

The Modern Slavery Policy Unit, co-led by Justice and Care UK and the Centre for Social Justice, stated:

“Presuming late disclosure of modern slavery damages credibility will create barriers to effective identification and engagement with victims.”

The Bill, as it stands, will make identifying and assisting victims of human trafficking more difficult.

Amendment 5 would stop late disclosure affecting the credibility of a claim of being trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation. The Home Office’s modern slavery statutory guidance states:

“Victims’ early accounts may be affected by the impact of trauma. This can result in delayed disclosure, difficulty recalling facts, or symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. Victims may also be reluctant to self-identify for a number of other reasons that can make understanding their experiences challenging.”

This amendment acknowledges Home Office guidance by ensuring that late disclosure does not damage credibility.

Amendment 6 sets out how a person who makes a late disclosure might be better identified by any relevant authority.

--- Later in debate ---
Jeremy Corbyn Portrait Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North) (Ind)
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The right hon. Gentleman is making a very strong point. Is it not one of the problems that victims of any kind of slavery are inevitably isolated, frightened and often unable even to leave the property, factory or home where they are working? They do not necessarily know where to go and, if the local police are not attuned to the problem, they get no help there. They are then completely stuck and in a very dangerous and vulnerable situation. Is there not an issue of both police training and convincing local authorities and all other public services that they have to be attuned to the desperation these people face, rather than the danger of prosecution for what could be—

Lindsay Hoyle Portrait Mr Speaker
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Order. All I can say is that I have the greatest respect for the right hon. Gentleman, and if he wants to speak I have plenty of room on the list. Save your speech to read shortly, if you want to.

Iain Duncan Smith Portrait Sir Iain Duncan Smith
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I am grateful to you for clarifying, Mr Speaker.

I will just say to the right hon. Gentleman that of course he is right, and it is important for us to understand that this is an issue not of asylum or migration but decency. He will know—even if he does not, I am going to say it to the House—that a significant chunk of those who are now part of the modern-day slavery ghastliness emanate from the UK. It is important that local authorities and others understand that they are looking not just for people who are trafficked in, but for those being trafficked within the UK. That is an important point. I agree with him, and the point of today’s debate is to try to raise that issue.

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Iain Duncan Smith Portrait Sir Iain Duncan Smith
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You would call me out straightaway, Mr Speaker, if I went so far as to enter into another debate. Tempting though the offer is from my right hon. Friend—I call him that because of the time we spent in government together, and because we agree on so many issues—he will, I am sure, forgive me if I say that I am not yet aware of any Bill that is due to come before us. I will leave it there.

The Government have recognised victims’ need for stability and consistency in the support that they receive. That is a good move, and I thank them for it. I welcome the intention to provide a guaranteed 12-month minimum period of tailored support for all confirmed victims; that is particularly important. I ask the Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department, my hon. Friend the Member for Redditch (Rachel Maclean), to bear in mind, when she rises to sum up the debate, that—as I have already said to you, Mr Speaker—I intend to press the new clause to a Division unless the Government make it clear that they have listened very carefully to this and other debates on the subject. The minimum guarantee will serve as a major stabiliser. If the Government are prepared to accept that, and perhaps table an amendment in another place, I shall be prepared to wait and see what happens.

I also welcome the Government’s commitment to considering how best to support victims through the criminal justice process. They need to be serious about that, and I hope to hear a clear statement that modification and improvement are required. There remain concerns about the current restriction of support to

“needs arising from exploitation criteria”,

and the Government will need to deal with that as well.

Let me end by saying that we must separate the concept of modern day slavery from the rows about asylum seeking. Many people come over here with good cause; I personally do not blame those who are fleeing for economic reasons when things are desperate. I accept that we must have rules and restrictions, but I ask the Government to consider those who have been trafficked, those who are being persecuted, and those who are being used for the purpose of sexual or any other exploitation.

When I was at the Department for Work and Pensions, we knew that gangs were getting women in particular over here, giving in their names to claim benefit, and then pushing them into brothels and other places. That is what we want to stop. We want to stamp out the exploitation of women, and men, against their will, both at home and as a result of their being trafficked into the UK. If the Minister can give me, and the House, an assurance that she gets this, and that the Government—my Government—are prepared to make the 12 months a de minimis and to look carefully at how the support can be given and how people can be protected through this process after they go through the NRM, I may feel inclined not to press the new clause.

Lindsay Hoyle Portrait Mr Speaker
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I call the shadow Minister, Holly Lynch.

Holly Lynch Portrait Holly Lynch (Halifax) (Lab)
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Thank you, Mr Speaker.

It is a genuine pleasure to follow the powerful contribution from the right hon. Member for Chingford and Woodford Green (Sir Iain Duncan Smith). I will come to the merits of his new clause, but let me start by congratulating my right hon. Friend the Member for Kingston upon Hull North (Dame Diana Johnson) not just on the new clause and amendments that she has tabled, but on receiving her damehood at Windsor Castle yesterday. There could be no more fitting tribute in recognition of her services to politics and her community, and I was delighted to see her collect that recognition yesterday.

We have grave concerns about part 5 of the Bill, which would introduce detrimental changes in modern slavery provisions and the national referral mechanism. New clause 3, tabled by my right hon. Friend, has our backing for all the reasons that she outlined. I would struggle to find a more heinous crime than moving another human being across borders, or across the country, in order to force them to have sex and for their abuser to make a profit. Given the utterly depressing rises in this type of criminality and exploitation, my right hon. Friend will have our full support if she is minded to press the new clause to a vote.

Provisions in part 5 will make it harder to identify, safeguard and support victims of modern slavery in securing prosecutions against their abusers. Our new clause 6 will ensure that no child victim of trafficking or modern slavery is denied protection because of those provisions. The new clause follows the many battles that we had in Committee in calling on the Government to hear the pleas of organisations such as The Children’s Society and Every Child Protected Against Trafficking, and those of the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner, Dame Sara Thornton, and to recognise the vulnerability of child victims of trafficking and modern slavery, something that they have failed to do throughout the Bill’s passage so far.

The Government have sought to suggest that a fear of the national referral mechanism being abused warrants the introduction of barriers to accessing it. I remind them that the Home Office’s own statistics show that, of the 10,613 potential victims of modern slavery referred to the NRM last year, 47% were children. There was a 10% increase in the number of child referrals last year, and the single biggest type of exploitation was criminal exploitation. The Home Office’s own publication states:

“For those exploited as children, an increase in the identification of ‘county lines’ cases has partially driven the rise in the number of cases categorised within the ‘criminal exploitation’ category, with 40% of all child referrals for criminal exploitation being flagged as county lines.”

It is clear that children who are the victims of vicious county lines gangs will be among those most detrimentally affected by these changes. Just this week, we heard that the Government were getting tough on county lines gangs, but if they pass these proposals today unamended, child victims trapped by those gangs will be met with unnecessary barriers to both freedom and justice.

Nationality and Borders Bill Debate

Full Debate: Read Full Debate
Department: Home Office

Nationality and Borders Bill

Lindsay Hoyle Excerpts
Consideration of Lords amendments
Tuesday 22nd March 2022

(2 years, 4 months ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate Nationality and Borders Act 2022 Read Hansard Text Read Debate Ministerial Extracts Amendment Paper: Commons Consideration of Lords Amendments as at 22 March 2022 - (22 Mar 2022)
[Relevant documents: Seventh Report of the Joint Committee on Human Rights, Legislative Scrutiny: Nationality and Borders Bill (Part 1)—Nationality, HC 764; Ninth Report of the Joint Committee on Human Rights, Legislative Scrutiny: Nationality and Borders Bill (Part 3)—Immigration offences and enforcement, HC 885; Eleventh Report of the Joint Committee on Human Rights, Legislative Scrutiny: Nationality and Borders Bill (Part 5)—Modern Slavery, HC 964; Twelfth Report of the Joint Committee on Human Rights, Legislative Scrutiny: Nationality and Borders Bill (Parts 1, 2 and 4)—Asylum, Home Office Decision-Making, Age Assessments, and Deprivation of Citizenship Orders, HC 1007; Tenth Special Report of the Joint Committee on Human Rights, Legislative Scrutiny: Nationality and Borders Bill: Government Responses to the Committee’s Seventh, Ninth, Eleventh and Twelfth Reports, HC 1208; Letter from the Chair of the Joint Committee on Human Rights to Tom Pursglove MP, Minister for Justice and Tackling Illegal Migration, relating to Part 2 (Asylum) and Part 5 (Modern Slavery) of the Nationality and Borders Bill, HC 588, dated 17 November 2021; Letter from Tom Pursglove MP, Minister for Justice and Tackling Illegal Migration, to the Chair of the Joint Committee on Human Rights relating to Part 2 (Asylum) and Part 5 (Modern Slavery) of the Nationality and Borders Bill, HC 588, dated 25 November 2021; e-petition 601583, Remove Clause 9 from the Nationality and Borders Bill.]
Lindsay Hoyle Portrait Mr Speaker
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I must draw the House’s attention to the fact that financial privilege is engaged by Lords amendments 10, 12 and 26. If they are agreed to, I will cause the customary entry waiving Commons financial privilege to be entered in the Journal.

After Clause 4

Provision for Chagos Islanders to acquire British nationality

Tom Pursglove Portrait The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (Tom Pursglove)
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I beg to move, That this House disagrees with Lords amendment 1.

Lindsay Hoyle Portrait Mr Speaker
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With this it will be convenient to discuss the following:

Government amendments (a) and (b) in lieu of Lords amendment 1.

Lords amendment 4, Government motion to disagree, and Government amendments (a) to (f) in lieu.

Lords amendment 5, and Government motion to disagree.

Lords amendment 6, and Government motion to disagree.

Lords amendment 7, and Government motion to disagree.

Lords amendment 8, and Government motion to disagree.

Lords amendment 9, and Government motion to disagree.

Lords amendment 52, and Government motion to disagree.

Lords amendment 53, and Government motion to disagree.

Lords amendment 10, and Government motion to disagree.

Lords amendment 11, and Government motion to disagree.

Lords amendment 12, and Government motion to disagree.

Lords amendment 13, and Government motion to disagree.

Lords amendment 14, and Government motion to disagree.

Lords amendment 15, and Government motion to disagree.

Lords amendment 16, and Government motion to disagree.

Lords amendment 17, and Government motion to disagree.

Lords amendment 18, and Government motion to disagree.

Lords amendment 19, and Government motion to disagree.

Lords amendment 20, and Government motion to disagree.

Lords amendment 54, and Government motion to disagree.

Lords amendments 2, 3, 43 to 51 and 21.

Tom Pursglove Portrait Tom Pursglove
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Mr Speaker, may I begin by joining in, on behalf of the Home Office, your tribute to PC Keith Palmer, who lost his life five years ago today? All of us who were in the House will never forget that day. It was an enormous tragedy; he died in the line of service, protecting our democracy and the people in this place. We will be forever grateful to him and his family, and our thoughts are very much with them today, and with everybody caught up in that terrible tragedy on Westminster bridge.

This country has a long and proud tradition of providing sanctuary to those in need. The British people are generous and compassionate, and we only have to look around us to see that compassion in action right now. I think I speak for the whole House in thanking everyone stepping up to support people fleeing the conflicts in Afghanistan and Ukraine.

This Bill is about delivering a long-term solution to the long-term problems that have beset the asylum system over decades. It has three central objectives: to make the system fairer and more effective so we can better protect and support those in genuine need; to deter illegal entry, breaking the business model of evil criminal trafficking; and to make it easier to remove those with no right to be here.

The reforms we are introducing through this Bill have been debated at length both in this House and the other place, and I want to put on record my thanks to all Members for the rigour with which they have scrutinised the measures we have proposed. I also want to say that as the Bill has progressed through Parliament, this Government have been listening carefully to the questions and concerns raised not only by Members but by the many organisations, communities and individuals who have been carefully following its progress.

We have amended the Bill to clarify that new measures to tackle people smugglers will not criminalise those acting under the direction of Her Majesty’s Coastguard. We have also introduced an amendment to resolve the lawful residence issue that has troubled many individuals with indefinite leave to remain under the EU settlement scheme and who wish to naturalise but have not previously held comprehensive sickness insurance.

In response to the appalling situation in Ukraine, we have added new powers to enable us to impose visa penalties on countries posing a threat to international peace and security or whose actions lead, or are likely to lead, to armed conflict or a breach of humanitarian law. We have also announced an expansion of the Hong Kong British national overseas route, which will enable individuals aged 18 or over who were born on or after 1 July 1997 and have at least one BNO parent to apply to the route independently.

Before going further, I would like to say something more about the situation in Ukraine, in particular the calls we have heard in respect of unaccompanied children. We of course recognise the deeply troubling circumstances faced by all Ukrainians who are caught up in this conflict, and we of course acknowledge calls for support to Ukrainian orphans and unaccompanied children. However, the UK cannot act unilaterally on such matters, and the views of affected Governments must be taken into account. The Ukrainian Government have been clear that children must not be taken into care without the prior agreement of their authorities; we cannot simply transfer unaccompanied minors to the UK without first securing their authorisation. It may be in the best interests of many children to remain in the region given that it is common for those labelled as orphans by the media who are in the Ukrainian care system to have living parents, and ultimately their Government, whom they are not fleeing, should have the final say on these matters.

We are working urgently, however, with the authorities in Ukraine and Poland to secure the final agreements needed to bring to the UK a group of over 50 Ukrainian children, known as the Dnipro kids, who have escaped the brutal war and are currently in Poland. I recognise that many Members are following that issue closely and have a keen interest in it, and Home Office Ministers will keep the House updated. This is a complex case, and it is absolutely right that we wait for the appropriate checks and written permissions before bringing these children to the UK. The Home Secretary and her counterparts in the Ukrainian, Polish and Scottish Governments are united in their determination to ensure these children get the right support and the care they need.

However, I remind the House that our Ukraine family scheme also provides an immediate pathway for those Ukrainians, including unaccompanied children subject to safeguarding checks, with family already settled in the UK to come to our country. We would expect most children to apply in family groups, such as a parent with a child, but I can assure colleagues that this scheme is designed to allow as many people as possible to come to the UK and to give them immediate access to the support they need. We must do nothing less.

Returning to the Bill, Members will have seen that many amendments were proposed and agreed to during its passage through the other place, including some proposed by the Government. The Government have carefully considered each of the non-Government amendments, and I would like to explain what we have concluded and why. But before doing so, I would like to offer an apology to the House for the late publication of the updated explanatory notes. Manuscript copies of the updated notes have been distributed, but I accept that they should have been published online on Friday, and I am sorry that this did not happen—for that discourtesy I genuinely am apologetic, Mr Speaker.

On amendment 1, relating to access to British overseas territories citizenship and British citizenship for Chagossians, I again place on record my sympathy with the Chagossians for how they were treated in the 1960s and 1970s. I also want to place on record my admiration for the way in which Members from across the House have championed their cause, in particular my hon. Friend the Member for Crawley (Henry Smith), who has been a consistent and tireless advocate on this issue for many years; he has run an exceptional campaign. We have listened carefully to the concerns raised in both Houses and in the Chagossian community on the difficulties faced by Chagossians in accessing British nationality. These difficulties have arisen from the unique historical treatment of those who were removed from the British Indian Ocean Territory in the 1960s and 1970s and the limited recognition of those circumstances in British nationality law. Given that, the Government have concluded it would be appropriate to take action in this Bill, consistent with our other measures designed to correct historical unfairness in nationality law, and will put forward an amendment as such. This will mean there is a new route to British nationality for direct descendants of the Chagossians removed from the British Indian Ocean Territory. In doing that, we are satisfied that the Chagossian diaspora is unique and we are not setting a precedent that would undermine the general principles governing the acquisition of British citizenship by descent. Further details will follow in due course, and I want again to say a huge “Well done and congratulations” to my hon. Friend for helping us to bring about this important change.