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Thirdly, we welcome the introduction of measures to strengthen the charitable sector. I associate myself entirely with what the Home Secretary said at the end of his speech. Again, however, we will scrutinise the details extremely carefully. This is an area that needs serious reform, and it would be quite easy to get it wrong.
The Queen's Speech is dominated by home affairs. Why? Because Ministers know that the British people are deeply worried about law and order. Because
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Ministers have failed on law and order. Becausefrom border control to gun control, from street crime to drug crime, from violent, drunken behaviour to murderthis Government have lost control. No wonder this Queen's Speech, the Government's eighth, does not build on the past seven. Instead, it seeks to solve some of the problems created by the past seven. It is less a manifesto for four more years than an apology for the past seven years.
When the British people elected this Government, they thought that when the Government promised to be tough on crime they meant it. But crime is up, and violent crime has nearly doubled. The British people wanted action, and what they have got from this Government is just talk. They are all talk, for example, on controlling immigration. The British people hoped that when the Government proposed firm control of immigration, they would deliver. Instead, the Government have weakened our immigration rules, and up until this year have waved more than 1 million people into this country. Moreover, they have failed to remove more than a quarter of a million people who should not be here in the first place.
When, during the coming election, Labour Members find their constituents queuing for houses, queuing for school places and queuing for hospital beds, they should look no further than their own Home Secretary. But perhaps he thinks that the problem has been fixed. It has not. Let us take immigration from eastern Europe, for example. According to the Home Office, a maximum of 13,000 immigrants a year will enter Britain in the wake of EU enlargement. In five months, since 1 May, 91,000 have entered. That means that about 20,000 immigrants come here from eastern Europe every monthover 200,000 a year.
Mr. Blunkett: I have a simple question. Does the right hon. Gentleman object to those people coming here and working, and aiding and lifting our economy? [Hon. Members: "They are illegal."] They are legal. They are registering. They are paying to register. They are paying national insurance and tax. Above all, they are serving in our restaurants, our hotels and our transport system, which presumably the right hon. Gentleman would like them to vacate.
David Davis: What I object to is the fact that we, almost alone in Europe, were unwise enough not to accept the seven-year period that allowed countries to control immigration from eastern Europe of people wishing to work in those countries.
Mr. Garnier: Is not the foolishness of the Home Secretary's intervention explained by the point that my right hon. Friend was making? The Government said that a certain number of people would come in, but the real fact is that probably 10 and certainly eight times that number have come in. The Government do not have a grip on their own figures, let alone the system.
My hon. and learned Friend is entirely right. It is clear that the problem has not been fixed, and there is no Bill in the Queen's Speech to get to grips with illegal immigrationabout which the Home Secretary famously, in his own words, "hasn't got a clue". We do not even have the Bill recently promoted in the media by
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the Chancellor of the Duchy of LancasterI do not know whether my hon. and learned Friend read about it: the Tory Asylum Bill, as the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster apparently thinks of it.
The weekend before last, The Sunday Times set out Labour's election supremo's thinking on immigration. Its story bore the headline "Milburn seeks limit on asylum". It claimed that the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster thinks that
and that he is "urging" the Home Secretary to adopt Conservative proposals for a quota on asylum seekers. Indeed, it was reported that the Prime Minister was sympathetic to adopting the Tory approach. Let me assure the Home Secretary that if he introduced such a measure, he would have our support, but I suspect that it will take a real Conservative Government actually to make such measures work. Instead, there is not even one measure in the Queen's Speech to deal with the problem of uncontrolled immigrationno action, just more talk.
Mrs. Ann Cryer (Keighley) (Lab): Does the right hon. Gentleman not understand the connection between having an identity card scheme and controlling the flow of illegal immigration? Once those people arrive in the UK, it will control what they are able to do and enable them to be arrested and deported. I cannot understand why he does not see the connection.
David Davis: First, we do not actually deport the people who are identified at present; 250,000 of them are still in the country. Secondly, I am not sure that I would choose a £27 million programme over a £3 billion programme for that control, let alone in 10 years' time, which is what the Home Secretary appears to be proposing.
The Government are all talk, too, about fighting crime. The reality after seven years of Labour is that British society is less safe than when the Government came to office. Many town centres are now almost no-go areas on a Saturday night. As discipline has broken down in our schools, truancy has increased and a new generation of young criminals is growing up. The police are tied up in paperwork and entangled by political correctnessthe inevitable result of an approach based on targets. Real, lasting results have been sacrificed in favour of short-term targets.
Certain categories of crime may be falling, but overall crime is up. In a small number of cases, the Home Secretary has tackled the symptoms of crime, but he has not tackled the causes, so, for example, as we see the number of burglaries fall, we witness the number of other crimes, such as drug offences, rise. As one target is met, another is needed. As the Government's focus switches from crime to crime, so, too, does the criminal's; but the criminals are always one step ahead of the Government.
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Only last week, the Association of Chief Police Officers suggested that the reason that burglary was going down was that burglars find it easier and more profitable to pursue other crimes. Police officers to whom I have spoken suggest that burglars have taken up anything from robbing whole truckloads of new equipment to smuggling drink, tobacco or drugs.
That is not surprising. After all, the Home Secretary can scarcely claim that he is catching more burglarsnot when detection rates for burglary have fallen since the Government came to power[Interruption.] The Home Secretary talks about his prison population. Well, today, we have heard more evidence of the failures of Labour's early release scheme. His prison without bars scheme is leading to more unnecessary crimes being committed. A leaked report to the Daily MirrorI am sure that that is the right hon. Gentleman's favourite publicationfinds that failure rates under the scheme have doubled since the Home Secretary extended it, including 7,000 crimes and breaches; more than 2,000 prisoners were completely lost track of under that scheme. The report also suggests that
David Davis: The reference was to the early release scheme. Indeed, I do not disagree with detention curfew as an extension to prison, but it should not be instead of prison. That is the problem the Home Secretary has got himself into by not having enough prison places, even on his Carter report forecasts. It is hardly a resounding success for the Government's criminal justice policies.
There is little in the Queen's Speech to end the merry-go-round of criminality: little to help the police improve their detection rates and nothing to relieve them of the burden of Minister-made paperwork. There is nothing at all to get the police back where they want to beout on the beat and on the streets. That is perhaps the most disappointing aspect of the whole Queen's Speech.
In 1997, the Labour party promised to relieve the police of unnecessary bureaucratic burdens and to get more officers back on the beat. Seven years later, the Government pledge to reduce bureaucracy and the costs of government to promote efficiency. Recently, an article by Leo McKinstry in The Spectator[Interruption.] It was also in The Sunday Telegraph yesterday, but I am giving the earlier reference. He noted that the number of Government bodies established by the right hon. Gentleman, first as Secretary of State for Education and Employment and then as Home Secretary, is more than 1,100, and claimed that those bodies have a budget of a staggering £12 billion, so the Home Secretary hardly has a good record on reducing bureaucracy.
The Minister for Crime Reduction, Policing and Community SafetyI hope that she is paying attentionrecently claimed to the Home Affairs Committee that the Government had already scrapped 7,700 unnecessary police forms. I was very impressed, so we tabled a written question to ask her to list those
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forms, but we were told that details are not held centrally, so it would be interesting to know how she counted them.
Last week, the head of the Metropolitan police told us that the fight against crime is at risk because officers are spending too much time answering questions from bureaucrats. There are too many inspections and too much monitoring. One force reported 37 inspections in a year. No wonder Sir John Stevens said last week that enough is enough. There is no firm action on crime; just more talk and more paperwork.
The Government are all talk on drugs. The Government have had 15 initiatives, summits and crackdowns on drugs. The outcome is more drugs, more dealers, more crime and more violence. Some 76 per cent. of people think that the Government have failed them on the war on drugs, and they are right. Britain has more than 1 million class-A drug users. Young Britons use twice as much cocaine as those anywhere else in Europe except Spain. Ecstasy use has doubled since 1997. Hard drugs are all too easily available, as is shown by the price of drugs on the street. Crack cocaine can be bought for less than the price of a glass of wine. Heroin prices have halved. With the hard drugs trade, comes drug gangs, drug barons, drug territories and, all too often, drug wars.
The price of drugs has fallen because the Government have failed to disrupt supply, and they are failing to do so both at home and abroad. At home, we have what the Metropolitan Police Commissioner calls our "porous borders". It is too easy to smuggle anything into this country, whether people, guns or drugs. Abroad, the Government took on responsibility for actions against the Afghan drug producers. Since they took on that responsibility, opium production has soared to record levels, flooding the streets of Britain with cheap heroin, filling the veins of our young people with drugs and the pockets of the drug barons with money. It is an incompetent shambles, and the fundamental cause is confusion at the top of the Government. That confusion caused the resignation of the Government's own drugs tsar.
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