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Mr. Blunkett: In view of your strictures, Mr. Speaker, and not because I cannot remember the questions, I shall write to the hon. Gentleman. On the hon. Gentleman's most salient questions, let me say this. Everyone who is interested in the development of citizenship and language must be fully consulted; bail will continue to be available; and no restrictions will exist other than those that I set out in the White Paper in relation to judicial review. At this stage, we are not setting a target figure for the gateway. We need to ensure that we build up from what will inevitably be a low base.
Mr. Blunkett: I am grateful to my hon. Friend for her question. All people who come from outside the country and claim asylum will have to appear at, and work through, the new induction centres. As we build those up rapidly during the course of the year, we will undertake health checks and carry out immunisation if appropriate.
Mr. Andrew Lansley (South Cambridgeshire): The White Paper makes it clear that the Government continue to regard Oakington immigration reception centre in my constituency as a key element of the processing of asylum applications, yet the Home Secretary will have known since October that Oakington is to be the site of a new settlement of housing development and must therefore close by 2004. Why does the White Paper make no reference to what is intended to be a centre for fast-track applications for asylum? What is to happen to the Oakington centre? If the service is to be relocated elsewhere, why cannot that be done more quickly, to one of the accommodation centres that are to be established?
Mr. Blunkett: The programme of 3,000 places in accommodation centresto answer a previous questionwhich must be trialled initially is separate from the matter to be judged in the Lords in the spring, which is the challenge to the operation of Oakington. I understand the hon. Gentleman's concerns, but I have two years in which to relocate Oakington, whereas I have three months in which to win the case on the operation of the principle.
Mr. Terry Rooney (Bradford, North): I welcome much of what my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary has said this afternoon. I shall respond to his invitation regarding the family visitor process. Will he say anything today about the review of the fees for appeals in respect of family visitor applications?
Mr. Blunkett: Those fees have been a cause of concern to many hon. Members, including my hon. Friend. I am aware that the review indicates that they cause not only administrative inconvenience, but considerable distress to those involved. I am therefore minded to abolish them.
Mr. David Cameron (Witney): I welcome what the Home Secretary has said today, especially about asylum seekers no longer being kept in prison and his announcement about Campsfield House. Will he say a little more about the accommodation centres and how they will link with induction centres and removal centres? What is to be secure and what is not?
Mr. Blunkett: Those seeking asylum will spend a short spell in induction centres. That will gradually reduce dispersals to bed and breakfast and other accommodation of that sort, which will alleviate pressure on local communities at those sites. Accommodation centres are the next stagethey must first be trialled, of courseof the full provision that I described in my statement. They will be open centres: people will be free to come and go,
Mr. Chris Mullin (Sunderland, South): Much that is in the White Paper will be welcome, especially the news that asylum seekers will no longer be held in prison and that the hated voucher scheme is on the way out. No reasonable person will object to the notion that citizenship brings with it responsibilities as well as rights. As regards the deportation of failed asylum seekers, especially when children are involved, has my right hon. Friend considered introducing a modest resettlement grant, so that we do not dump destitute families with children at airports on the other side of the world?
Mr. Blunkett: I am very sympathetic to ensuring that we get that right. One of the reasons why removal has, throughout the ages and for Governments of all persuasions in other countries, been so difficult is that often the family has been in the country for a considerable period. Working with the International Organisation for Migration and others to get the process right makes sense in terms of both voluntary resettlement and returns, and those removed through removal centres. I promise my hon. Friend that we shall examine this closely, and that the Department for International Development will be involved.
Mr. Christopher Chope (Christchurch): Does the Home Secretary accept that a weakness of the White Paper is its failure to address the removal of failed asylum seekers? Even under his proposals, we are talking about fewer than one in three failed asylum seekers being returned. Why does he not go for 100 per cent. of failed asylum seekers being sent back to where they came from?
There is a really sensitive and important issue: how do we accelerate the removal of those who are already here and have gone through the system, as opposed to how we operate the new system, whereby people will be placed in removal centres and it will be possible to remove 100 per cent. of those who have gone through the new process? The sensitivities concern the fact that we do not wish to tear neighbourhoods, communities and different ethnic cultures apart in the process. Otherwise, we could send the police out en masse, collect people, stick them on planes and send them away; there has to be a balance. If I can get 100 per cent. of those who should not be here through the new system and out of the country, I will, but I would welcome a bit more sensitivity and help from people such as the hon. Gentleman.
Mr. Blunkett: First, we will accept asylum claims from those who present themselves and prove that they have a legitimate case, whether or not they have come through the gateway. Indeed, under the convention, we have an obligation to do so, which we will fulfil.
We must consider putting a time limit on older casesthose before 2 October 2000in which, having tried to get asylum, people then make a claim based on human rights. If we can get that right, we can try to make sense of a system that is otherwise disabled by people taking one route but then switching to another.
Miss Julie Kirkbride (Bromsgrove): I particularly welcome many of the compassionate proposals that the Home Secretary outlined to the House. Will he give more details on the way in which he intends to stop the exploitation of children brought into the country for the sex trade, and tackle the disgrace of young British Asian women being forced into arranged marriages against their will?
Mr. Blunkett: So that there is no misunderstanding, let us be clear about the difference between forced marriages and arranged marriages, which are agreed. Forced marriages are utterly unacceptable; the communities that operate arranged marriages are clear about that, and I pay tribute to community leaders who have taken action to make the tradition more secure.
We must address the need to increase the penalties and take much more decisive action when children are checked as they come into the countryhighlighted, of course, by the tragic Climbié casenot simply under immigration and asylum legislation, but under the sexual offences issues that I shall introduce in the next parliamentary Session as part of the reform of the legal and criminal justice system.