|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Mr. Dismore: The hon. Gentleman has pointed out that two out three meals eaten by children are eaten in the home, which makes it that much more important to control advertising, because advertising leads children to pressure their parents to give them food that they should not eat day in, day out.
Mark Durkan (Foyle) (SDLP): The Bill supports and assists parents; it does not impose on them. That is proved by the fact that parents are mentioned only once. Can the hon. Gentleman name one aspect of the Bill that a parent would object to?
Mr. Harper: I suspect that most parents, certainly those outside this House, are not given to studying Bills in great detail, so I cannot suggest any one that they would find particularly objectionable.
I shall draw my remarks to a close to give the Minister time to speak. Clause 5 says that the appropriate authority, namely, the Secretary of State, could prescribe offences by prohibiting the sale and provision of food. If the hon. Lady wants to start creating criminal offences to do with selling food, it would be more
28 Oct 2005 : Column 598
sensible if those powers were included in the Bill instead of allowing the Secretary of State to make them through regulation.
The Minister of State, Department of Health (Ms Rosie Winterton): I congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Wakefield (Mary Creagh) on introducing the Bill and on the passionate way in which she spoke about these extremely important issues. She showed that she has a great deal of support for her proposals from stakeholders, trade unions and health professionals, as well as from Members on both sides of the House. Although we cannot support all aspects of her proposals, I hope that I can give her some reassurance. We are legislating in certain areas, as she said, and the measures that we are proposing will be carefully monitored in other areas where we are not legislating at present but have made it clear that we will do so if we cannot achieve the improvements that we seek.
Ms Winterton: I did not say that we do not support measures in the BillI said that we are taking forward legislation in certain areas; those include education. In other areas, we are working in partnership with industry and other stakeholders. We have made it clear that we would prefer a partnership approach, but we have also made it clear that, because of the importance of the issues raised, if we do not see improvements in standards we will consider whether further measures are needed, for example through legislation. We are very supportive of my hon. Friend because many of the matters that she highlights concern key steps to improving the diet and health of young people and our future generations.
Hon. Members clearly set out some of the issues at hand. My hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton, South-East (Mr. McFadden) described the effect that poor nutritional standards are having in his constituency, drawing attention to information sent to him by the primary care trust. The hon. Member for Mid-Dorset and North Poole (Annette Brooke) noted the importance of our having a clear understanding of the relationship between certain foods and children's health, well-being and educational performance.
We want to restrict the promotion to children of foods that are high in fat, salt and sugar, and to increase the promotion of healthier products. We want improvements in the nutritional quality of food and drink that is provided throughout the school day. We want to teach school children about practical cookery. As my hon. Friend the Member for Wakefield said, if we can get it right during the school day by improving children's knowledge, that can translate into the attitude of parents as well; she gave some good examples of how that can work. However, I would say
Keith Vaz (Leicester, East) (Lab): I am grateful to you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, for giving me this opportunity to raise in the House the case of James Bishop, and the issue of the deportation and removal of defendants during criminal proceedings. I am delighted to see the Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department, my hon. Friend the Member for Leigh (Andy Burnham), at the Dispatch Box today. He is one of the most diligent and hard-working Ministers in the Government, and I am sure that he will have something positive to say as a result of this debate.
The Bishop and Payling families lost their son James in a tragic road accident in June last year. Robert and Angela Payling, James's stepfather and mother, are constituents of mine and, together with Paul Bishop, James's father, they have demonstrated enormous courage and determination in trying to find out the full facts of this case. Each step of the way, however, they appear to have been thwarted by bureaucracy.
The road accident took place in Manchester in June 2004. Shao Jie Yin, a Chinese citizen who was in Britain, was driving the vehicle. He was charged with driving without due care and attention. I should tell the House that, when he was last in the United Kingdom, he denied the charge. The case never reached trial. Before a trial could take place, the immigration authoritieson their own authority, and without consulting any other agencydeported Mr. Yin to China. James's family are, rightly, deeply frustrated and disappointed, as the perpetrator of their son's death has escaped trial. Theyand I, in holding this debateare motivated not by a desire to punish, because nothing can ever bring James back to them, but by a wish to ensure that the flawed process that they have encountered is dealt with, and that this kind of situation never recurs.
He could still remember vividly, as could all his family, the last time he saw his son. Since James's death, however, his mother, father, stepfather and brother have been sent to three different agencies, made many calls, and attended many hearings and meetings in their quest for the truth. This shocking situation has placed a further strain on the family and, in my view, made their grieving more difficult.
The scenario that I am describing this afternoon is something that we might read about in a work of fiction, not something that should happen in a modern system of justice. This family have been badly let down. There has been a serious lack of communication between Departments and agencies, including the Crown Prosecution Service, which has prevented the man responsible for James's death from being brought to justice.
The United Kingdom has among the largest migrant, resident and naturalised populations in Europe, and has sought to expand deportation in response to sharply
28 Oct 2005 : Column 601
increased migration pressures. The pace of legal developments in asylum and immigration throughout the 1990s and in the new millennium has been phenomenal, with four major Acts of Parliament being passed in the last decade. Often, the term "deportation" is not used in favour of removal, of which there are two sortsjudicial and administrative.
Judicial removal occurs following a criminal court's decision that an applicant could be served a removal notice. Under section 24 of the Immigration Act 1971, criminal offences subject to those removal provisions include failing to observe a condition attached to the leave to remain that is granted to all non-European Union citizens entering the United Kingdomfor example, working without permission.
More broadly, anyone over the age of 17 and "subject to immigration control" may be recommended by the court for deportation if convicted of an offence punishable through imprisonment. In other words, all non-citizens, if convicted of a crime, are potential subjects for deportation.
Administrative deportation is, however, far more common and targets individuals who are residing in the United Kingdom without permission. Such individuals are directly targeted by the removal branches of the Home Office. Under the normal process, individuals receive a standard letter advising that he or she has no right to remain. That letter might be followed by further correspondence and a formal order.
The bulk of the people deported from the United Kingdom is made up of those who have already been detained by the state. From the information I have received from the Solicitor-General's office, Mr. Yin was administratively removed as he may re-enter the United Kingdom at any time. The hon. Member for Gainsborough (Mr. Leigh), the Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, said:
"The Immigration and Nationality Directorate has a target to effect as many removals per month as there are new unfounded cases. Despite a massive increase in expenditure on immigration enforcement to £300 million a year, IND has not yet come close to meeting this target."
According to section 3 of the 1971 Act, people who are not British citizens may be deported from the United Kingdom in certain circumstances. The law states that any person can be deported if they have transgressed immigration rules. In all cases, the immigration rules require that the Secretary of State will take into account all relevant factors known to him before a decision to deport is taken.
It appears that the chaos of the asylum system, with a catalogue of failings including mismanagement and near-shambolic record keeping, has resulted in James's killer escaping justice and his family being left high and dry at the hands of the legal system. But we do not know, as no one bothered to tell the family precisely what has happened.
What we know is that, following irregularities in Mr. Yin's visa, he was deported to China. From information obtained from the Solicitor-General, we know that he was removed from the United Kingdom. As I have said, that is similar to deportation. As I have also said, he can re-enter the country. He may even be back in Britain, for all we know.
28 Oct 2005 : Column 602
James Bishop's case was brought to my attention when James's step-father, Robert Payling, came to see me at my surgery. Mr. and Mrs. Payling both work locally in Leicester and they describe their son as
James, who was 29, worked as a flight attendant for Thomas Cook Airlines. He had been living in Manchester for seven years before the accident on 22 June last year. He was walking home at about 10.30 pm when the accident happened. When he tried to cross the road, he was hit by a pizza delivery car, causing injuries that proved fatal, and was pronounced dead about half an hour later. Subsequently, the family were informed about James's death. The police investigated and prepared a case, which was submitted to the Crown Prosecution Service. As a result, Mr. Yin, who was in the United Kingdom apparently on a student visa from China, was charged with driving without due care and attention.
What makes the Payling case stand out are its implications. Recently, the Government proposed fresh legislation on immigration to tighten borders and protect citizens. This case is evidence that if Government Departments fail to work together, the law fails citizens, as it has done in this case. If the Home Office had made the necessary inquiries into Mr. Yin's criminal record and liaised with the Crown Prosecution Service, it would have been able to identify that Mr. Yin was in the midst of being tried. That failure poses grave concerns for our modern justice system, which is viewed as a model and has become a framework for other countries.
Since the beginning of the trial, there has been a catalogue of serious errors. As I mentioned previously, I have not yet received a reply from the Home Office as to what happened in this case and the exact reason why Mr. Yin was deported before the hearing on 4 July. I am not sure whether the Solicitor-General has received a reply to his letter to the Home Secretary, although yesterday in Solicitor-General's questions, in answer to me, he said that there had been a number of "mistakes". Between 28 January 2005, and 4 July 2005, the case was listed before Salford magistrates court on five occasions. When the matter first came before the court on 28 January, Mr. Yin was not represented. The case was linked with that of the company that owned the pizza delivery car, By the Slice Ltd., whose vehicle Mr. Yin had been driving at the time of the accident. An application was made at the first hearing by the Crown to amend the summons leading to an adjournment from 28 January 2005 to 18 February 2005.
On 18 February 2005, the court was made aware that Mr. Yin had just instructed solicitors, Kristina Harrison and Co. of Salford, but that they had not yet received full instructions, and no paperwork had been passed to them by their client. That application was therefore adjourned to obtain paperwork, and the application was granted by the court. The case was re-listed on 4 March 2005, when it was adjourned for legal arguments to be filed in relation to the case against the owners of the vehicle. On 11 April 2005, the case was re-listed. The solicitors acting for Mr. Yin asked for further
28 Oct 2005 : Column 603
information and, at that stage, indicated a possible guilty plea. The case was adjourned to 26 April 2005. On that date, a not guilty plea was entered and the defence indicated their intention to instruct an expert, although they said that they had not yet received authority from the Legal Aid Board to do that. The case was adjourned again to 23 May 2005. On 23 May 2005, the defence had not yet received their expert's report, and the court ordered that the report be obtained and served on the Crown for conclusions and consideration no later than 30 June 2005.
The Crown Prosecution Service was first made aware that Mr. Yin had been removed from the country when Mr. Bishop contacted the Salford CPS office on 21 June 2005 indicating that he had been informed that the defendant had apparently been deported for visa irregularities. As a result of that call, the CPS endeavoured to speak to the defendant's solicitors, not the Home Office, but was unable to do so and left a message on their answering machine. On 27 June 2005, a letter was received from Kristina Harrison solicitors stating that they had now learnt that Mr. Yin had been deported but had no further information. Let us imagine how the family had to hear this newsit was not from the Home Office or the CPS. We hear a lot about codes of practice on such matters, but none of them ensured that the victim's family were informed as to what had happened.
The CPS contacted the immigration department, which confirmed that Mr. Yin was indeed removed from the United Kingdom on 18 June 2005, nine days before, but the representative of the immigration department was only able to confirm that the defendant was removed with his passport, and unable to provide any further detail other than to give a reference number. Further details had been requested via the police, but no reply has been received.
Following my letter to the Solicitor-General, he made further inquiries to ascertain the exact position with regard to Mr. Yin's status. Unfortunately, the only information that could be obtained was that he had been removed from the country, which of course everyone already knew. On 4 July 2005, the case was adjourned for the Crown to ascertain the exact position with regard to Mr. Yin's status. The matter was relisted on 18 July, when the Crown made an application to adjourn sine die and the court granted such an order. The case was relisted on 18 July by the Crown, which applied for and was granted an order to preserve proceedings. If the case could ever be recommenced, it would try to do so.
If, after being removed, it comes to light that there are outstanding charges, it is for the police and the CPS to consider making an extradition request to the country to which the person has been removed."
What a mess. What a catalogue of incompetence. What an indictment of our expensive and so-called modern system of justice. Deportation is the exclusion
28 Oct 2005 : Column 604
of an alien from a country by the act of a Government. Losing a child must be one of the most devastating things that can ever befall a parent. After all this time, numerous questions remain unanswered. I have given the Minister notice of them, and here they are.
Why was Mr. Yin deported before the hearing on 4 July? Why did the Home Office not inform the Crown Prosecution Service? Why did the Home Office not inform the courts? What was the cost to taxpayers of the debacle? What steps are being taken to ensure that such a lack of co-operation never happens again? When does the Home Office intend to reply to the Solicitor-General and me? What will it do about giving the family a detailed account of what happened? What steps have been taken by the Home Office and the Foreign Office to ensure that the First Secretary of Immigration in Beijing knows precisely what has happened, in case a reapplication is made? Do we know whether Mr. Yin is back in the United Kingdom? Is there a file on him anywhere in the Foreign Office? How many other people have been removed in similar circumstances? Those questions need to be answered before there can be closure for the family, the wider community and anyone who has to go through this again.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|