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We know that some illegal immigrants drive vehicles and work for cash in an uncontrolled way, and every day people approach my office asking me to speed up their claim for asylum or the right to remain. Those individuals have been waiting far too long. A compassionate society does not allow people to wait and wait for a decision. I say, let us make a decision and ensure that someone either has the right to remain or is asked to leave, rather than being left in limbo in an artificial state. It is unfair and unjust, and is no good for our society and country.

We need proper rules and regulations on who will be admitted, who will be allowed to work and who will be allowed to stay. I ask the Minister to make it clear that working legal immigrants are welcome. Equally, can we show compassion for certain parts of our industries? For example, we should allow restaurateurs who need to attract chefs with the right qualifications to bring them in, rather than excluding them, leaving those restaurants to depend on illegal workers. Care homes, too, require highly skilled individuals. We need those people to come here, work in our society and contribute to it.

We then must crack down on those who come here and work illegally. The Bill, which contains measures to make that happen, is a work in progress, rather than an end in itself. We want to welcome people who, be they studying or working, wish to make this country their home, but we must make sure they go through the proper procedures and get proper approval before they arrive, rather than entering illegally and being trafficked or exploited by unscrupulous individuals. I look forward to the Bill progressing into law, and if I can help to improve it, my services will be at hand for the Bill Committee.

Several hon. Members rose

Madam Deputy Speaker (Mrs Eleanor Laing): Order. I am afraid I have to reduce the time limit to four minutes.

6.24 pm

Graham Jones (Hyndburn) (Lab): I have some sympathy with what the Home Secretary said—it is not unreasonable to ask people to abide by the law—and I have a lot of sympathy with the comments of my right hon. Friend the Member for Leigh (Andy Burnham), the shadow Home Secretary. He said that on immigration Westminster was out of touch and that MPs had not kept up with public concerns. He also said that there was an overall net benefit from immigration, but that the effect was not uniform. Former industrial areas such as mine suffer the impact of job insecurity and depression of wages. There are specific and legitimate concerns about that. My right hon. Friend said it, and he was right.

For my constituency, immigration is not about public services, the NHS or schools. There are 2,000 empty properties in my constituency, but it is not about that, either. Those are southern issues. The problem is that the economy is unbalanced between north and south, which means that my constituency area suffers from low wages and an economy that is not doing well. My constituents want me to raise legitimate concerns about wages, about the north, and about areas and constituencies such as mine that have low wages.

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Young people in my constituency go to university, they leave, and we have a brain drain. Immigration comes in, and the workers are replaced by low-skilled migrants. We have a low-skilled workforce. Employers come to my constituency, but they see that there are no high-skilled workers, so they will not end up in Hyndburn. What we get in the end are low-skill employers because they see that there is a high volume of low-skilled workers. What we have is a vicious and perpetuating circle that needs to be broken. Yes, Hyndburn needs immigration, but it desperately needs high-skilled immigration, not low-skilled immigration. As I said, this vicious circle needs to be broken if the economy of my constituency is to benefit.

This suppression of wages is unacceptable. My constituents are right to raise the issue. It reinforces the appeal of Hyndburn to low-value employers rather than high-value employers. High-value employers look at the jobs market and the skills base and find that Hyndburn is not a place in which they can locate their business. That affects the incomes of my constituents and their job opportunities.

My constituents’ grievance is much worse than that, however. Last year, unemployment rose in my constituency month on month—and according to the Treasury, this is supposed to be during the boom years. Everything is supposed to be going well. In eight of the last nine months, unemployment in my constituency has risen, yet we are being asked to take more low-skilled workers. It is obvious what the net impact will be.

Let us take the example of taxi drivers. Driving a taxi is the second largest form of employment in the borough of Hyndburn. There are more than 600 taxi drivers in the borough, and probably another 150 if I include Haslingden. That is more than 700 taxi drivers. Let me talk about the sort of life that these taxi drivers lead. The fare around most of my constituency is £1.50, and the taxi drivers have to live off that. If they go further afield, they get £2.50. My taxi drivers have a terrible lifestyle. They struggle to make ends meet and most of them are on tax credits. This is the working environment that Hyndburn faces. If we bring in more low-skilled and uneducated migrants, they are likely to veer towards driving taxis or a similar occupation, which will only exacerbate the problem. It is not fair to the people already on these low wages; it is not fair on Hyndburn; and it is not going to rebalance the economy.

6.28 pm

Craig Mackinlay (South Thanet) (Con): I pay tribute to the Immigration Minister for bringing this Bill to the House, and offer sincere thanks for much of the preamble before today, which has given us a flavour of what the Bill is all about. To my mind, the Bill is about fairness—fairness to those who come here legally and do the right thing in seeking to work in our country, but also fairness to those who are already in this country and are trying to make the best of often low wages, which can be further reduced by illegal working.

Much has been said, particularly by the right hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr Carmichael), about whether the Bill is fit for purpose. When I have spoken to the public, to my constituents and to those across the country, I have found that they are very concerned about immigration, so many Members must live in a vacuum.

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George Kerevan (East Lothian) (SNP): Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Craig Mackinlay: Of course. I am grateful for the extra minute.

George Kerevan: I respect the hon. Gentleman’s impression of his own constituency, but he must understand that it is simply not true that concerns about immigration dominate other parts of the United Kingdom. In Scotland, immigration regularly comes about ninth on the list of voters’ concerns.

Craig Mackinlay: I appreciate that there are differences across the country, but in my constituency in particular, the issue of immigration was on the lips of many.

I pay tribute to my hon. Friends the Members for Monmouth (David T. C. Davies) and for Rochester and Strood (Kelly Tolhurst), who have visited many of the camps in Calais. Like them, the mayor of Calais herself has recognised that many of the problems that she faces daily result from the perception of Britain as an easy touch when it comes to working and doing the wrong thing. The Bill will deal with that.

I want to say something about under-the-counter working. The existing civil sanctions were stiffened last year by the Immigration Act 2014, under which illegal employers face a £20,000 civil fine. According to the figures for the last few years, 2,150 civil penalties were issued in 2014, but I would guess that that figure is probably much lower than the reality. The companies involved are often low-asset businesses, or have no assets at all; and the fines have been levied only on businesses. The figures suggest that that the number of illegal employers has not been reduced by the increase in the fine to £20,000.

I welcome the criminal action that will result from the Bill. I pay tribute to the former shadow Attorney General, the hon. Member for Islington South and Finsbury (Emily Thornberry), for the question that she asked on 11 November 2014, at about the same time that she took some photographs during the Rochester and Strood by-election. It was an extremely pertinent question about the number of criminal sanctions that had been imposed under the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006. The answer was just 19. We need the criminal sanction in the Bill, because the civil penalties do not seem to be doing the job.

I also want say something about driving offences. It is considered to be far too easy for illegal immigrants to secure driving licences. That is an issue for the DVLA to address, but I was reassured when the Home Secretary said earlier today that 9,000 licences had been revoked last year. The hon. Member for Glasgow North East (Anne McLaughlin) asked my hon. Friend the Member for Eastleigh (Mims Davies) how many deaths there might have been. I do not know the answer, and I suggest that the hon. Lady ask the appropriate written or oral parliamentary question, but to my mind one death caused by an illegal driver is one too many.

Anne McLaughlin: I agree. One death caused by any driver is one too many, so let us not misunderstand what I was saying.

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Craig Mackinlay: I have not misunderstood the hon. Lady at all. It comes down to this. A person with an illegal licence, or no licence at all, has no insurance. I therefore welcome the new six-month sentence for summary offences, and the imprisonable offence of driving with a revoked licence.

I also warmly support the changes in banking arrangements. Under the 2014 Act, the law on the illegal holding of a bank account has applied only to new accounts, and I am pleased that it is to be extended to all accounts.

As I have not much time left, let me end by saying something about the rights of the first-tier tribunal, which has had the power to impose electronic monitoring tags under the common law presumption of the right to bail. I would not want to interfere with the judiciary, but my guess is that that power has been used in fairly limited circumstances, and I therefore welcome the power that the Bill gives the Secretary of State to allow increased use of electronic tags. Unfortunately, the current electronic tags involve 1970s technology, and the fulfilment of our manifesto commitment to start using proper satellite tracking technology—no different from what we all have in our telephones—will be useful in ensuring that illegal overstayers are found. I should like electronic and satellite tracking technology to be used in tagging generally, throughout the criminal justice system.

It is sensible to simplify things by replacing the six different legal statuses of immigration—whether we are talking about immigration bail or temporary admission—with a single status. I warmly support the words of my hon. Friends the Members for Bedford (Richard Fuller) and for Harrow East (Bob Blackman), because this is about compassion for those who come here properly and do the right thing. This is a step in the right direction.

Several hon. Members rose

Mr Speaker: Order. I want to accommodate two more Members. The wind-ups are due to start at 6.40 pm and we need to keep as close to that as possible.

6.35 pm

Angela Crawley (Lanark and Hamilton East) (SNP): I rise to urge Members across the Chamber to reject giving the Immigration Bill a Second Reading. The reason for that is simple: this is one of the most draconian Bills proposed by this Government to date. If this Bill is allowed to pass, it will close off support currently available to failed asylum seekers. If this Bill is brought into law, it will place additional costs on local authorities at a time when they are already spending billions of pounds on children in need of care. It will push those suffering the brunt of the cuts dictated by this Government’s failing austerity agenda further into poverty. The proposal will undoubtedly increase poverty among asylum seekers and their children, which to any reasonable person is already unacceptably high.

According to The Children’s Society, support for children seeking protection in the UK can be as little as half that received through the mainstream benefits system. In some cases, children and families would need nearly three times more than they currently receive in order to be pulled out of poverty. Many families are not even able to pay for the basics, including clothing, powdered milk and nappies for their babies. Rates of support for

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asylum seekers mean that children are living in severe poverty on less than 40% of average incomes. This is an abhorrent situation to place any family in. Are the Government really trying to make the situation worse?

The proposals put forward by the Secretary of State will compel more asylum seekers into unregulated employment to survive, fuelling exploitation and the undercutting of their rights. The Migrants Rights Network said that these changes will

“encourage discrimination against minorities whether British Citizens or migrants…This can only increase social ills, wage theft and abuse, and divide communities.”

The SNP believes that asylum seekers should be allowed to work so that they are able to provide for themselves and their families adequately. We believe they should be able to work so that they are able to make a contribution to the country they call home.

Only last week I and the hon. Member for Eastleigh (Mims Davies) attended a Women and Equalities Committee visit to Oldham, Manchester and Birmingham. There we listened to the experiences of a mother whose daughter, now 21, has spent 13 years in the asylum system. Her daughter, now a masters graduate, is unable to gain employment; her mother has for over 20 years been unable to support her family.

This is the reality for many families across this country. These proposals will create a criminal offence which could lead to a 12-month prison sentence with an unlimited fine for anyone found working without the right papers. That is unacceptable. It is grossly disproportionate to harm any migrants in vulnerable situations who may be considered to have been at the mercy of a system that does not work for them. The threat of loss of earnings and incarceration is likely to make them even more unwilling to come forward. In effect, the proposed legislation means greater security for exploitative bosses, leaving migrants feeling powerless to raise a complaint.

I urge the House to vote against the Bill.

6.39 pm

Ms Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh (Ochil and South Perthshire) (SNP): My name is Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh and if the Government get their way this evening I am not sure how well I am going to fare when I seek a property in the London rental market.

At the same moment as the Home Secretary was making her contribution to her party conference, my hon. Friend the Member for North East Fife (Stephen Gethins) and I were visiting the Nizip refugee camp on the banks of the Euphrates river in Turkey, only an hour from the Syrian border. When we arrived, we discussed the refugees’ situation with the head of the camp. While setting out the figures and the scope of the crisis and its impact on Turkey, he made a striking point. He said that the people living in Nizip camp were not refugees but guests of Turkey: guests—what a contrast!

Instead of leading from the front, as Nicola Sturgeon and the Scottish Government have, the Home Secretary engages in the distasteful process of “othering” on migration and immigration. Her speech was almost a greatest hits of Daily Mail mythology. She stated that immigration was forcing thousands out of work. Not

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true. She asserted that mass migration led to the wages of some low-paid workers being undercut, yet there is no credible evidence to support her claim. She made out that there was no net economic or fiscal effect of immigration when in fact all the available research, including that carried out by the OECD, shows that migrants to the UK contribute more in taxes than they spend in using public services.

I will be interested to hear why the Minister thinks that the report raised by the hon. and learned Member for Holborn and St Pancras (Keir Starmer) during Question Time yesterday shows that ethnic minorities in the UK are discriminated against when seeking to rent private sector accommodation. Does the Minister see any correlation between the demonisation of immigrants by this Government and the discrimination against our ethnic minorities in our wider community? He should; there will be such a correlation. This Bill is wrong.

My dad, whom we lost last year, was an immigrant from Pakistan. He was not a threat to the UK’s way of life. He was not a drain on our public resources. In fact, he dedicated his whole working life to this country and then served the people in his home city of Edinburgh as their elected representative. He chose to live here, and in turn the people of his community chose him to represent their interests. When I read these proposals and hear the language being used by the Conservatives to promote it, I wonder what my father would have made of it, and what the Bill would have said to him. Our world and these islands are melting pots of cultures and religions, each of which adds value to our society and community in its own unique way. That is why I cannot support these measures, and I will join my colleagues in voting against the Bill in the Lobby tonight.

6.41 pm

Keir Starmer (Holborn and St Pancras) (Lab): This has been a lively, thoughtful and passionate debate. I should like to start by reflecting the sentiments expressed by my right hon. Friend the Member for Manchester, Gorton (Sir Gerald Kaufman) with these two propositions. The first, with which I am sure all Members will agree, is that immigrants have made an enormous contribution to this country, which we should celebrate, not diminish. The second is that, in this country, we have a proud history of offering asylum to some of the poorest and most vulnerable people who have come here seeking refuge.

Of course there must be rules on immigration and asylum, and of course those rules need to be firmly and effectively applied. We also need to listen carefully to the concerns that have been expressed in the debate about immigration, and to take them seriously. But fairness is the touchstone: fairness to those wishing to come here and fairness to those who are already here. That is why every contribution to the debate has welcomed the creation of a director of labour market enforcement. I also welcome that proposal, but I say of its introduction: it is not before time. The strengthening of sanctions and the enforcement of the law against rogue employers are long overdue. As the Migration Advisory Committee noted in its 2014 report,

“the combination of non-compliance and insufficient enforcement can lead to instances of severe exploitation, particularly of vulnerable groups such as migrants”.

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Those points have been powerfully made today by my hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield Central (Paul Blomfield) and the hon. Member for Pendle (Andrew Stephenson).

Fairness and common sense dictate that we should not support the criminalisation of employees themselves for illegal working—a point made by my right hon. Friend the Member for Slough (Fiona Mactaggart) and my hon. Friend the Member for Bradford East (Imran Hussain). To do so would simply increase the susceptibility of already-vulnerable individuals to greater exploitation. A number of Members have already said that those without immigration status can include the victims of trafficking and modern-day slavery, and to criminalise them would run counter to the good work that the Government have done to protect such individuals.

I listened carefully to what the Home Secretary said earlier in the debate. There is no specific defence in the Bill in relation to illegal working. If that is indeed the case, perhaps the Minister for Immigration will make that clear when he winds up the debate. Otherwise, there is the risk of undermining the good work that has been done on tackling modern slavery—a point made by my hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield Central.

There is a plain common-sense and broader point to make about criminalising employees. If the aim is to come down harder on rogue employers, as it should be, it is a mistake and it is counterproductive to criminalise employees. To build a criminal case, it is important that those who are exploited have the confidence to come forward and to support a case. This measure is therefore counterproductive; we do not build strong cases against exploitation in the labour market by driving vulnerable individuals into the shadows. This is not an area where there is evidence of a need; offences already exist to deal with those who are illegally here, and in my time as Director of Public Prosecutions, this was not an issue where there was evidence of a need to provide for a further offence. There should be strong measures against rogue employers, but it is a mistake to criminalise employees—that point was made by many people in this House.

The same principles of fairness and common sense should be applied to other provisions in the Bill. Extending the restrictions to bank accounts makes sense and does not impose an undue burden on banks and building societies, but rolling out sanctions against landlords who rent to those who are disqualified because of their immigration status is both unfair and counterproductive. That is why the vast majority of landlord representative organisations, which I am sure have spoken to Conservative Members, opposed the proposals when they were introduced last year. What they saw as unfair was:

“Making untrained civilians responsible for the work of immigration officers at a cost to themselves and under threat of legal action.”

Those same landlord organisations also pointed a year ago to another danger: the potential for discrimination. That concern was simply put by them and simply understood by us: landlords, not properly understanding the task before them, concerned by the complications of immigration status and worried by the threat of legal sanction, will simply go to a default position where they will not rent to anybody who does not appear to them to be obviously British. That was the concern landlords were putting forward a year ago, and it is one that the

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Government acknowledged last year. That is why a pilot was undertaken in the west midlands, with an assurance being given by the Minister at the time that it would be evaluated before any roll-out. As he put it,

“it is sensible to proceed step by step and to look at the scheme after the first pilot…If serious problems have arisen, nobody…will want to take the scheme further.”––[Official Report, Immigration Public Bill Committee, 7 November 2013; c. 242.]

Well, serious problems have arisen, and a number of Members have highlighted the evidence in the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants evaluation of the west midlands project. I accept that it is a small evaluation, but the figures have been quoted and they are alarming: 42% of landlords were less likely to consider someone without a British passport; 27% were reluctant to engage with those with foreign accents or names; 65% said that they had not read or did not understand the guidance; and 77% were against the roll-out. In the absence of the evaluation from the Home Office, which should have been before us today, that is the only evidence before the House. There was a fear a year ago about discrimination and the only evidence before the House now is of widespread discrimination. In those circumstances, we proceed without any evidence as to effectiveness. I have a very blunt message for the Government: in the 21st century this House should not be in the business of passing legislation that has such potentially discriminatory outcomes.

I turn briefly to the issue of support in relation to those refused asylum. Currently, those with dependent children receive support until their departure from the UK. There is and always has been a power for the Home Secretary to issue a notification removing that support. That has been rarely used in the past 10 years, and the reason has been touched on in the debate today. In a pilot 10 years ago, which involved 116 families, it was considered to be a complete failure, as it caused immense distress and panic and considerable health problems, with only one family leaving the UK as a result and 32 families going underground without support, housing, and access to welfare or health. As the current Secretary of State for Work and Pensions acknowledged in 2008, it is a failed policy, yet now in this Bill the Government seek to make that the default position. It will have the same result and the House should not support it; destitution should not be used as a means of enforcement.

In addition, the House should not support the proposals to interfere with the legal processes set up to deal with immigration and asylum. Tribunals have long had the power to impose conditions such as resident conditions and electronic tags. They are independent and impartial, yet this Bill proposes to give the Home Secretary the power to interfere with that.

In conclusion, whatever view one takes of immigration, this Bill is not grounded in evidence. Some of the measures will be counterproductive and will not deal effectively with the objectives underpinning the Bill. In short, it is not fit for purpose, and I urge Members to support the reasoned amendment or, if that fails, to vote against the Second Reading.

6.51 pm

The Minister for Immigration (James Brokenshire): This has been a very wide-ranging and passionate debate. Clearly, there are some issues that deserve further scrutiny.

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Let me welcome the hon. and learned Member for Holborn and St Pancras (Keir Starmer) to his new role; this is the first opportunity I have had to do so. I look forward to further debates with him on the issues that have been highlighted during this debate.

The hon. and learned Gentleman raised a specific point on the statutory defences under the Modern Slavery Act 2015. Perhaps in the sense of wanting to respond to him positively so that we can end the debate in that manner, I can say that that Act does include provisions relating to defences. There will be a defence to the new criminal offence of illegal working in the Bill. The Director of Public Prosecutions also issues guidance to protect victims from unfair prosecution. Certainly, I can give that reassurance to him and to other Members who raised the point during today’s debate.

May I say to all hon. Members that this Government are firmly on the side of the vast majority of law-abiding migrants who play by the rules and contribute so much to our society? The UK has a long and proud history of immigration and this Government will continue to welcome the brightest and the best, the skilled and the talented to our country and to recognise the contribution that they make.

I thank all my hon. and right hon. Friends for their support of the Bill. My hon. Friend the Member for Peterborough (Mr Jackson) rightly highlighted the concern in his community and the need to deal with illegal immigration. My hon. Friend the Member for Folkestone and Hythe (Damian Collins) made the important point about exploitation by organised crime. He made the very clear statement that exploiters have the most to fear from this Bill. My hon. Friend the Member for Castle Point (Rebecca Harris) talked about strengthening criminal sanctions for illegal working.

My hon. Friend the Member for North West Norfolk (Mr Bellingham) raised an issue in relation to nurses and talked about some of the things that he has seen in his constituency. I can say to him that we take the advice on who should go on our shortage occupation list from the Migration Advisory Committee. That Committee said at the start of this year that nurses should not go on that list. It is considering the evidence further, and we will continue to take account of what it has to say on these important matters.

My hon. Friend the Member for Pendle (Andrew Stephenson) highlighted the new closure power and the scope of the director of labour market enforcement. We have launched a consultation today and I welcome contributions to that. My hon. Friend the Member for Monmouth (David T. C. Davies) highlighted his experiences on his visit to Calais, a point that was also raised by other hon. Members who have been out to northern France. Indeed, my hon. Friend the Member for Rochester and Strood (Kelly Tolhurst) also highlighted this point, and we are continuing to work with Kent County Council on the pressures it has experienced, particularly those concerning unaccompanied asylum-seeking children.

My hon. Friend the Member for Thirsk and Malton (Kevin Hollinrake) made a powerful point about having good migration, not mass migration, and my hon. Friend the Member for Gower (Byron Davies) talked about how we need to stop the abuse carried out by rogue landlords. I hope that we will reach a point in our

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discussions on the Bill at which we will highlight how these measures contribute to taking action against rogue landlords more generally, working with local authorities to clamp down on the appalling conditions in many of the properties those landlords own. This is about supporting the proper regulated sector and joining up to take action against those who are exploiting the vulnerable.

Fiona Mactaggart: The Minister said earlier that the Modern Slavery Act 2015 would protect victims who might be prosecuted for working illegally. He says that the Bill will enable us to deal with rogue landlords. Will he put in the Bill protection for landlords who let a property accidentally, who are not rogues, and protection for victims of trafficking?

James Brokenshire: We will no doubt discuss that point in Committee, but the Bill builds on measures in the Immigration Act 2014, including the right-to-rent provisions, the mechanisms that operate and the clear guidance we provided in the pilot scheme, and we will continue to do that. We are clear that there should not be any discrimination and that will be set out firmly in the guidance we will provide. That point about how the Government are approaching the measure must be stressed to the House.

My hon. Friend the Member for Gower mentioned the impact on children, a point that was raised by other hon. Members as well. Section 55 of the Children Act will continue to apply as regards safeguarding duties towards children.

My hon. Friend the Member for Bedford (Richard Fuller) talked about immigration detention and I repeat that we have commissioned the Stephen Shaw review into immigration detention. Stephen Shaw has recently submitted his report and his findings are being considered carefully. The report will be published by laying it before Parliament alongside the Government’s report on its recommendations.

Mr Alistair Carmichael rose

James Brokenshire: I am sorry, but I have only two minutes left and I need to raise a few more points.

My hon. Friend the Member for Eastleigh (Mims Davies) rightly highlighted the exploitation of legal workers and my hon. Friend the Member for North Dorset (Simon Hoare) pointed out the inconsistencies in the reasoned amendment, which time does not allow me to highlight in greater detail.

It is also important to highlight the point made by my hon. Friend the Member for Fareham (Suella Fernandes) about the “deport first, appeal later” provisions and I would like to update the House. The original measures in the 2014 Act were considered by the Court of Appeal and were upheld as lawful. It is important to highlight that evidence, as evidence was a point emphasised by the shadow Home Secretary, the right hon. Member for Leigh (Andy Burnham). This matter has been considered carefully by the Court of Appeal and found to be lawful, and it has been upheld.

It is also important to highlight the point made by my hon. Friend the Member for Harrow East (Bob Blackman) about diversity and how often the most diverse communities see the effects of migration. There is a need to tackle illegal immigration in those communities as much as

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anywhere else, and they have provided support. My hon. Friend the Member for South Thanet (Craig Mackinlay) stressed that we should uphold the law for those who seek to abide by it. That is the central tenet of the Bill; it is about upholding the law for those who abide by it. We should uphold those principles and deal with illegal immigration.

I look forward to the continuing debates on the issues that have been highlighted. The Bill will ensure the public’s expectation of a system that is fair to British citizens and legitimate immigrants while being tough on those who abuse the system and flout the law. We believe that the measures in the Bill are right, proportionate and necessary and I commend it to the House.

Question put, That the amendment be made.


The House divided:

Ayes 282, Noes 322.

Division No. 74]

[

6.59 pm

AYES

Abbott, Ms Diane

Abrahams, Debbie

Ahmed-Sheikh, Ms Tasmina

Alexander, Heidi

Ali, Rushanara

Allen, Mr Graham

Anderson, Mr David

Arkless, Richard

Ashworth, Jonathan

Bailey, Mr Adrian

Bardell, Hannah

Barron, rh Kevin

Beckett, rh Margaret

Benn, rh Hilary

Berger, Luciana

Betts, Mr Clive

Black, Mhairi

Blackford, Ian

Blackman, Kirsty

Blackman-Woods, Dr Roberta

Blenkinsop, Tom

Blomfield, Paul

Boswell, Philip

Bradshaw, rh Mr Ben

Brake, rh Tom

Brennan, Kevin

Brock, Deidre

Brown, Alan

Brown, Lyn

Bryant, Chris

Buck, Ms Karen

Burden, Richard

Burgon, Richard

Burnham, rh Andy

Butler, Dawn

Byrne, rh Liam

Cadbury, Ruth

Cameron, Dr Lisa

Campbell, rh Mr Alan

Campbell, Mr Ronnie

Carmichael, rh Mr Alistair

Champion, Sarah

Chapman, Douglas

Chapman, Jenny

Cherry, Joanna

Clegg, rh Mr Nick

Clwyd, rh Ann

Coaker, Vernon

Coffey, Ann

Cooper, Julie

Cooper, Rosie

Cooper, rh Yvette

Corbyn, Jeremy

Cowan, Ronnie

Cox, Jo

Coyle, Neil

Crausby, Mr David

Crawley, Angela

Creagh, Mary

Creasy, Stella

Cruddas, Jon

Cryer, John

Cummins, Judith

Cunningham, Alex

Cunningham, Mr Jim

Dakin, Nic

Danczuk, Simon

David, Wayne

Day, Martyn

De Piero, Gloria

Docherty, Martin John

Donaldson, Stuart Blair

Doughty, Stephen

Dowd, Jim

Dowd, Peter

Dromey, Jack

Dugher, Michael

Durkan, Mark

Eagle, Ms Angela

Eagle, Maria

Edwards, Jonathan

Efford, Clive

Elliott, Julie

Esterson, Bill

Evans, Chris

Farrelly, Paul

Farron, Tim

Fellows, Marion

Ferrier, Margaret

Field, rh Frank

Fitzpatrick, Jim

Fletcher, Colleen

Flint, rh Caroline

Flynn, Paul

Fovargue, Yvonne

Foxcroft, Vicky

Gapes, Mike

Gardiner, Barry

Gethins, Stephen

Gibson, Patricia

Glass, Pat

Glindon, Mary

Goodman, Helen

Grady, Patrick

Grant, Peter

Gray, Neil

Green, Kate

Greenwood, Lilian

Greenwood, Margaret

Griffith, Nia

Gwynne, Andrew

Haigh, Louise

Hamilton, Fabian

Hanson, rh Mr David

Harman, rh Ms Harriet

Harpham, Harry

Harris, Carolyn

Hayes, Helen

Hayman, Sue

Healey, rh John

Hendrick, Mr Mark

Hendry, Drew

Hepburn, Mr Stephen

Hermon, Lady

Hillier, Meg

Hodge, rh Dame Margaret

Hodgson, Mrs Sharon

Hoey, Kate

Hollern, Kate

Hopkins, Kelvin

Hosie, Stewart

Howarth, rh Mr George

Hunt, Tristram

Huq, Dr Rupa

Hussain, Imran

Irranca-Davies, Huw

Jarvis, Dan

Johnson, rh Alan

Johnson, Diana

Jones, Gerald

Jones, Helen

Jones, Mr Kevan

Jones, Susan Elan

Kane, Mike

Kaufman, rh Sir Gerald

Keeley, Barbara

Kendall, Liz

Kerevan, George

Kerr, Calum

Khan, rh Sadiq

Kinnock, Stephen

Kyle, Peter

Lamb, rh Norman

Lavery, Ian

Leslie, Chris

Lewell-Buck, Mrs Emma

Lewis, Clive

Lewis, Mr Ivan

Long Bailey, Rebecca

Lucas, Caroline

Lucas, Ian C.

Lynch, Holly

MacNeil, Mr Angus Brendan

Mactaggart, rh Fiona

Madders, Justin

Mahmood, Mr Khalid

Mahmood, Shabana

Malhotra, Seema

Mann, John

Marris, Rob

Marsden, Mr Gordon

Maskell, Rachael

Matheson, Christian

Mc Nally, John

McCabe, Steve

McCaig, Callum

McCarthy, Kerry

McDonagh, Siobhain

McDonald, Andy

McDonald, Stewart Malcolm

McDonald, Stuart C.

McDonnell, John

McFadden, rh Mr Pat

McGinn, Conor

McGovern, Alison

McInnes, Liz

McKinnell, Catherine

McLaughlin, Anne

Meale, Sir Alan

Mearns, Ian

Monaghan, Carol

Monaghan, Dr Paul

Moon, Mrs Madeleine

Mulholland, Greg

Mullin, Roger

Murray, Ian

Nandy, Lisa

Newlands, Gavin

Nicolson, John

O'Hara, Brendan

Onn, Melanie

Onwurah, Chi

Osamor, Kate

Oswald, Kirsten

Paterson, Steven

Pearce, Teresa

Pennycook, Matthew

Perkins, Toby

Phillips, Jess

Phillipson, Bridget

Pound, Stephen

Powell, Lucy

Pugh, John

Qureshi, Yasmin

Rayner, Angela

Reed, Mr Jamie

Reed, Mr Steve

Rees, Christina

Reynolds, Emma

Reynolds, Jonathan

Rimmer, Marie

Ritchie, Ms Margaret

Robertson, rh Angus

Robinson, Mr Geoffrey

Rotheram, Steve

Ryan, rh Joan

Salmond, rh Alex

Saville Roberts, Liz

Shah, Naz

Sharma, Mr Virendra

Sheppard, Tommy

Sherriff, Paula

Shuker, Mr Gavin

Siddiq, Tulip

Skinner, Mr Dennis

Slaughter, Andy

Smeeth, Ruth

Smith, Angela

Smith, Cat

Smith, Jeff

Smith, Nick

Smith, Owen

Smyth, Karin

Spellar, rh Mr John

Starmer, Keir

Stephens, Chris

Stevens, Jo

Streeting, Wes

Stringer, Graham

Stuart, rh Ms Gisela

Tami, Mark

Thewliss, Alison

Thomas, Mr Gareth

Thomas-Symonds, Nick

Thompson, Owen

Thomson, Michelle

Thornberry, Emily

Timms, rh Stephen

Trickett, Jon

Turley, Anna

Turner, Karl

Twigg, Derek

Twigg, Stephen

Umunna, Mr Chuka

Vaz, rh Keith

Vaz, Valerie

Watson, Mr Tom

Weir, Mike

West, Catherine

Whiteford, Dr Eilidh

Whitehead, Dr Alan

Whitford, Dr Philippa

Williams, Hywel

Williams, Mr Mark

Wilson, Corri

Wilson, Phil

Winnick, Mr David

Winterton, rh Ms Rosie

Wishart, Pete

Woodcock, John

Wright, Mr Iain

Zeichner, Daniel

Tellers for the Ayes:

Jessica Morden

and

Grahame M. Morris

NOES

Adams, Nigel

Afriyie, Adam

Aldous, Peter

Allan, Lucy

Allen, Heidi

Amess, Sir David

Andrew, Stuart

Ansell, Caroline

Argar, Edward

Atkins, Victoria

Bacon, Mr Richard

Baker, Mr Steve

Baldwin, Harriett

Barclay, Stephen

Baron, Mr John

Barwell, Gavin

Bebb, Guto

Bellingham, Mr Henry

Benyon, Richard

Beresford, Sir Paul

Berry, Jake

Berry, James

Bingham, Andrew

Blackman, Bob

Blackwood, Nicola

Blunt, Crispin

Boles, Nick

Borwick, Victoria

Bottomley, Sir Peter

Bradley, Karen

Brady, Mr Graham

Brazier, Mr Julian

Bridgen, Andrew

Brine, Steve

Brokenshire, rh James

Bruce, Fiona

Buckland, Robert

Burns, Conor

Burns, rh Sir Simon

Burrowes, Mr David

Burt, rh Alistair

Cairns, Alun

Carmichael, Neil

Carswell, Mr Douglas

Cartlidge, James

Caulfield, Maria

Chalk, Alex

Chishti, Rehman

Chope, Mr Christopher

Clark, rh Greg

Clarke, rh Mr Kenneth

Cleverly, James

Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey

Coffey, Dr Thérèse

Collins, Damian

Colvile, Oliver

Costa, Alberto

Cox, Mr Geoffrey

Crabb, rh Stephen

Crouch, Tracey

Davies, Byron

Davies, Chris

Davies, David T. C.

Davies, Glyn

Davies, Dr James

Davies, Mims

Davies, Philip

Davis, rh Mr David

Dinenage, Caroline

Djanogly, Mr Jonathan

Dodds, rh Mr Nigel

Donaldson, rh Mr Jeffrey M.

Donelan, Michelle

Dorries, Nadine

Double, Steve

Dowden, Oliver

Doyle-Price, Jackie

Drax, Richard

Drummond, Mrs Flick

Duncan, rh Sir Alan

Duncan Smith, rh Mr Iain

Dunne, Mr Philip

Elliott, Tom

Ellis, Michael

Ellison, Jane

Ellwood, Mr Tobias

Elphicke, Charlie

Eustice, George

Evans, Graham

Evans, Mr Nigel

Evennett, rh Mr David

Fabricant, Michael

Fallon, rh Michael

Fernandes, Suella

Field, rh Mark

Foster, Kevin

Fox, rh Dr Liam

Frazer, Lucy

Freeman, George

Freer, Mike

Fuller, Richard

Fysh, Marcus

Gale, Sir Roger

Garnier, rh Sir Edward

Garnier, Mark

Gauke, Mr David

Ghani, Nusrat

Gibb, Mr Nick

Gillan, rh Mrs Cheryl

Glen, John

Goldsmith, Zac

Goodwill, Mr Robert

Gove, rh Michael

Graham, Richard

Grant, Mrs Helen

Gray, Mr James

Grayling, rh Chris

Green, Chris

Green, rh Damian

Greening, rh Justine

Grieve, rh Mr Dominic

Griffiths, Andrew

Gummer, Ben

Gyimah, Mr Sam

Halfon, rh Robert

Hall, Luke

Hammond, rh Mr Philip

Hammond, Stephen

Hancock, rh Matthew

Hands, rh Greg

Harper, rh Mr Mark

Harrington, Richard

Harris, Rebecca

Hart, Simon

Haselhurst, rh Sir Alan

Heald, Sir Oliver

Heappey, James

Heaton-Harris, Chris

Heaton-Jones, Peter

Henderson, Gordon

Herbert, rh Nick

Hinds, Damian

Hoare, Simon

Hollingbery, George

Hollinrake, Kevin

Hollobone, Mr Philip

Holloway, Mr Adam

Hopkins, Kris

Howarth, Sir Gerald

Howell, John

Howlett, Ben

Huddleston, Nigel

Hunt, rh Mr Jeremy

Hurd, Mr Nick

Jackson, Mr Stewart

James, Margot

Jayawardena, Mr Ranil

Jenkin, Mr Bernard

Jenkyns, Andrea

Jenrick, Robert

Johnson, Gareth

Johnson, Joseph

Jones, Andrew

Jones, rh Mr David

Jones, Mr Marcus

Kawczynski, Daniel

Kennedy, Seema

Kinahan, Danny

Knight, rh Sir Greg

Knight, Julian

Kwarteng, Kwasi

Lancaster, Mark

Leadsom, Andrea

Lee, Dr Phillip

Lefroy, Jeremy

Leigh, Sir Edward

Leslie, Charlotte

Letwin, rh Mr Oliver

Lewis, Brandon

Lewis, rh Dr Julian

Liddell-Grainger, Mr Ian

Lilley, rh Mr Peter

Lopresti, Jack

Lord, Jonathan

Loughton, Tim

Lumley, Karen

Mackinlay, Craig

Mackintosh, David

Main, Mrs Anne

Mak, Mr Alan

Malthouse, Kit

Mann, Scott

Mathias, Dr Tania

May, rh Mrs Theresa

Maynard, Paul

McCartney, Jason

McCartney, Karl

McLoughlin, rh Mr Patrick

McPartland, Stephen

Menzies, Mark

Mercer, Johnny

Merriman, Huw

Metcalfe, Stephen

Miller, rh Mrs Maria

Milling, Amanda

Mills, Nigel

Milton, rh Anne

Mitchell, rh Mr Andrew

Mordaunt, Penny

Morgan, rh Nicky

Morris, Anne Marie

Morris, David

Morris, James

Morton, Wendy

Mowat, David

Mundell, rh David

Murray, Mrs Sheryll

Murrison, Dr Andrew

Neill, Robert

Nokes, Caroline

Norman, Jesse

Nuttall, Mr David

Offord, Dr Matthew

Opperman, Guy

Paisley, Ian

Parish, Neil

Patel, rh Priti

Paterson, rh Mr Owen

Pawsey, Mark

Penning, rh Mike

Penrose, John

Percy, Andrew

Perry, Claire

Phillips, Stephen

Philp, Chris

Pickles, rh Sir Eric

Pincher, Christopher

Poulter, Dr Daniel

Pow, Rebecca

Prentis, Victoria

Prisk, Mr Mark

Pritchard, Mark

Pursglove, Tom

Quin, Jeremy

Quince, Will

Raab, Mr Dominic

Redwood, rh John

Rees-Mogg, Mr Jacob

Robertson, Mr Laurence

Robinson, Gavin

Robinson, Mary

Rosindell, Andrew

Rudd, rh Amber

Rutley, David

Sandbach, Antoinette

Scully, Paul

Selous, Andrew

Shannon, Jim

Sharma, Alok

Shelbrooke, Alec

Simpson, David

Simpson, rh Mr Keith

Skidmore, Chris

Smith, Chloe

Smith, Henry

Smith, Julian

Smith, Royston

Soames, rh Sir Nicholas

Solloway, Amanda

Soubry, rh Anna

Spelman, rh Mrs Caroline

Spencer, Mark

Stephenson, Andrew

Stevenson, John

Stewart, Bob

Stewart, Rory

Streeter, Mr Gary

Stride, Mel

Stuart, Graham

Sturdy, Julian

Sunak, Rishi

Swayne, rh Mr Desmond

Swire, rh Mr Hugo

Syms, Mr Robert

Thomas, Derek

Throup, Maggie

Timpson, Edward

Tolhurst, Kelly

Tomlinson, Justin

Tomlinson, Michael

Tracey, Craig

Tredinnick, David

Trevelyan, Mrs Anne-Marie

Truss, rh Elizabeth

Tugendhat, Tom

Turner, Mr Andrew

Tyrie, rh Mr Andrew

Vaizey, Mr Edward

Vara, Mr Shailesh

Vickers, Martin

Walker, Mr Charles

Walker, Mr Robin

Wallace, Mr Ben

Warburton, David

Warman, Matt

Watkinson, Dame Angela

Wharton, James

Whately, Helen

Wheeler, Heather

White, Chris

Whittaker, Craig

Whittingdale, rh Mr John

Wiggin, Bill

Williams, Craig

Williamson, rh Gavin

Wilson, Mr Rob

Wilson, Sammy

Wollaston, Dr Sarah

Wood, Mike

Wragg, William

Wright, rh Jeremy

Zahawi, Nadhim

Tellers for the Noes:

Sarah Newton

and

Simon Kirby

Question accordingly negatived.

13 Oct 2015 : Column 278

13 Oct 2015 : Column 279

13 Oct 2015 : Column 280

13 Oct 2015 : Column 281

Question put forthwith (Standing Order No. 62(2)), That the Bill be now read a Second time.

The House divided:

Ayes 323, Noes 274.

Division No. 75]

[

7.15 pm

AYES

Adams, Nigel

Afriyie, Adam

Aldous, Peter

Allan, Lucy

Allen, Heidi

Amess, Sir David

Andrew, Stuart

Ansell, Caroline

Argar, Edward

Atkins, Victoria

Bacon, Mr Richard

Baker, Mr Steve

Baldwin, Harriett

Barclay, Stephen

Baron, Mr John

Barwell, Gavin

Bebb, Guto

Bellingham, Mr Henry

Benyon, Richard

Beresford, Sir Paul

Berry, Jake

Berry, James

Bingham, Andrew

Blackman, Bob

Blackwood, Nicola

Blunt, Crispin

Boles, Nick

Borwick, Victoria

Bottomley, Sir Peter

Bradley, Karen

Brady, Mr Graham

Brazier, Mr Julian

Bridgen, Andrew

Brine, Steve

Brokenshire, rh James

Bruce, Fiona

Buckland, Robert

Burns, Conor

Burns, rh Sir Simon

Burrowes, Mr David

Burt, rh Alistair

Cairns, Alun

Carmichael, Neil

Carswell, Mr Douglas

Cartlidge, James

Cash, Sir William

Caulfield, Maria

Chalk, Alex

Chishti, Rehman

Chope, Mr Christopher

Clark, rh Greg

Clarke, rh Mr Kenneth

Cleverly, James

Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey

Coffey, Dr Thérèse

Collins, Damian

Colvile, Oliver

Costa, Alberto

Cox, Mr Geoffrey

Crabb, rh Stephen

Crouch, Tracey

Davies, Byron

Davies, Chris

Davies, David T. C.

Davies, Glyn

Davies, Dr James

Davies, Mims

Davies, Philip

Davis, rh Mr David

Dinenage, Caroline

Djanogly, Mr Jonathan

Dodds, rh Mr Nigel

Donaldson, rh Mr Jeffrey M.

Donelan, Michelle

Dorries, Nadine

Double, Steve

Dowden, Oliver

Doyle-Price, Jackie

Drax, Richard

Drummond, Mrs Flick

Duncan, rh Sir Alan

Duncan Smith, rh Mr Iain

Dunne, Mr Philip

Elliott, Tom

Ellis, Michael

Ellison, Jane

Ellwood, Mr Tobias

Elphicke, Charlie

Eustice, George

Evans, Graham

Evans, Mr Nigel

Evennett, rh Mr David

Fabricant, Michael

Fallon, rh Michael

Fernandes, Suella

Field, rh Frank

Field, rh Mark

Foster, Kevin

Fox, rh Dr Liam

Frazer, Lucy

Freeman, George

Freer, Mike

Fysh, Marcus

Gale, Sir Roger

Garnier, rh Sir Edward

Garnier, Mark

Gauke, Mr David

Ghani, Nusrat

Gibb, Mr Nick

Gillan, rh Mrs Cheryl

Glen, John

Goldsmith, Zac

Goodwill, Mr Robert

Gove, rh Michael

Graham, Richard

Grant, Mrs Helen

Gray, Mr James

Grayling, rh Chris

Green, Chris

Green, rh Damian

Greening, rh Justine

Grieve, rh Mr Dominic

Griffiths, Andrew

Gummer, Ben

Gyimah, Mr Sam

Halfon, rh Robert

Hall, Luke

Hammond, rh Mr Philip

Hammond, Stephen

Hancock, rh Matthew

Hands, rh Greg

Harper, rh Mr Mark

Harrington, Richard

Harris, Rebecca

Hart, Simon

Haselhurst, rh Sir Alan

Heald, Sir Oliver

Heappey, James

Heaton-Harris, Chris

Heaton-Jones, Peter

Henderson, Gordon

Herbert, rh Nick

Hinds, Damian

Hoare, Simon

Hollingbery, George

Hollinrake, Kevin

Hollobone, Mr Philip

Holloway, Mr Adam

Hopkins, Kris

Howarth, Sir Gerald

Howell, John

Howlett, Ben

Huddleston, Nigel

Hunt, rh Mr Jeremy

Hurd, Mr Nick

Jackson, Mr Stewart

James, Margot

Jayawardena, Mr Ranil

Jenkin, Mr Bernard

Jenkyns, Andrea

Jenrick, Robert

Johnson, Gareth

Johnson, Joseph

Jones, Andrew

Jones, rh Mr David

Jones, Mr Marcus

Kawczynski, Daniel

Kennedy, Seema

Kinahan, Danny

Knight, rh Sir Greg

Knight, Julian

Kwarteng, Kwasi

Lancaster, Mark

Leadsom, Andrea

Lee, Dr Phillip

Lefroy, Jeremy

Leigh, Sir Edward

Leslie, Charlotte

Letwin, rh Mr Oliver

Lewis, Brandon

Lewis, rh Dr Julian

Liddell-Grainger, Mr Ian

Lilley, rh Mr Peter

Lopresti, Jack

Lord, Jonathan

Loughton, Tim

Lumley, Karen

Mackinlay, Craig

Mackintosh, David

Main, Mrs Anne

Mak, Mr Alan

Malthouse, Kit

Mann, Scott

Mathias, Dr Tania

May, rh Mrs Theresa

Maynard, Paul

McCartney, Jason

McCartney, Karl

McLoughlin, rh Mr Patrick

McPartland, Stephen

Menzies, Mark

Mercer, Johnny

Merriman, Huw

Metcalfe, Stephen

Miller, rh Mrs Maria

Milling, Amanda

Mills, Nigel

Milton, rh Anne

Mitchell, rh Mr Andrew

Mordaunt, Penny

Morgan, rh Nicky

Morris, Anne Marie

Morris, David

Morris, James

Morton, Wendy

Mowat, David

Mundell, rh David

Murray, Mrs Sheryll

Murrison, Dr Andrew

Neill, Robert

Nokes, Caroline

Norman, Jesse

Nuttall, Mr David

Offord, Dr Matthew

Opperman, Guy

Paisley, Ian

Parish, Neil

Patel, rh Priti

Paterson, rh Mr Owen

Pawsey, Mark

Penning, rh Mike

Penrose, John

Percy, Andrew

Perry, Claire

Phillips, Stephen

Philp, Chris

Pickles, rh Sir Eric

Pincher, Christopher

Poulter, Dr Daniel

Pow, Rebecca

Prentis, Victoria

Prisk, Mr Mark

Pritchard, Mark

Pursglove, Tom

Quin, Jeremy

Quince, Will

Raab, Mr Dominic

Redwood, rh John

Rees-Mogg, Mr Jacob

Robertson, Mr Laurence

Robinson, Gavin

Robinson, Mary

Rosindell, Andrew

Rudd, rh Amber

Rutley, David

Sandbach, Antoinette

Scully, Paul

Selous, Andrew

Shannon, Jim

Sharma, Alok

Shelbrooke, Alec

Simpson, David

Simpson, rh Mr Keith

Skidmore, Chris

Smith, Chloe

Smith, Henry

Smith, Julian

Smith, Royston

Soames, rh Sir Nicholas

Solloway, Amanda

Soubry, rh Anna

Spelman, rh Mrs Caroline

Spencer, Mark

Stephenson, Andrew

Stevenson, John

Stewart, Bob

Stewart, Rory

Streeter, Mr Gary

Stride, Mel

Stuart, Graham

Sturdy, Julian

Sunak, Rishi

Swayne, rh Mr Desmond

Swire, rh Mr Hugo

Syms, Mr Robert

Thomas, Derek

Throup, Maggie

Timpson, Edward

Tolhurst, Kelly

Tomlinson, Justin

Tomlinson, Michael

Tracey, Craig

Tredinnick, David

Trevelyan, Mrs Anne-Marie

Truss, rh Elizabeth

Tugendhat, Tom

Turner, Mr Andrew

Tyrie, rh Mr Andrew

Vaizey, Mr Edward

Vara, Mr Shailesh

Vickers, Martin

Walker, Mr Charles

Walker, Mr Robin

Wallace, Mr Ben

Warburton, David

Warman, Matt

Watkinson, Dame Angela

Wharton, James

Whately, Helen

Wheeler, Heather

White, Chris

Whittaker, Craig

Whittingdale, rh Mr John

Wiggin, Bill

Williams, Craig

Williamson, rh Gavin

Wilson, Mr Rob

Wilson, Sammy

Wollaston, Dr Sarah

Wood, Mike

Wragg, William

Wright, rh Jeremy

Zahawi, Nadhim

Tellers for the Ayes:

Sarah Newton

and

Simon Kirby

NOES

Abbott, Ms Diane

Abrahams, Debbie

Ahmed-Sheikh, Ms Tasmina

Alexander, Heidi

Ali, Rushanara

Allen, Mr Graham

Anderson, Mr David

Arkless, Richard

Ashworth, Jonathan

Bailey, Mr Adrian

Bardell, Hannah

Barron, rh Kevin

Beckett, rh Margaret

Benn, rh Hilary

Berger, Luciana

Betts, Mr Clive

Black, Mhairi

Blackford, Ian

Blackman, Kirsty

Blackman-Woods, Dr Roberta

Blenkinsop, Tom

Blomfield, Paul

Boswell, Philip

Bradshaw, rh Mr Ben

Brake, rh Tom

Brennan, Kevin

Brock, Deidre

Brown, Alan

Brown, Lyn

Bryant, Chris

Buck, Ms Karen

Burden, Richard

Burgon, Richard

Burnham, rh Andy

Butler, Dawn

Byrne, rh Liam

Cadbury, Ruth

Cameron, Dr Lisa

Campbell, rh Mr Alan

Campbell, Mr Ronnie

Carmichael, rh Mr Alistair

Champion, Sarah

Chapman, Douglas

Chapman, Jenny

Cherry, Joanna

Clegg, rh Mr Nick

Clwyd, rh Ann

Coaker, Vernon

Cooper, Julie

Cooper, Rosie

Cooper, rh Yvette

Corbyn, Jeremy

Cowan, Ronnie

Cox, Jo

Coyle, Neil

Crausby, Mr David

Crawley, Angela

Creagh, Mary

Creasy, Stella

Cruddas, Jon

Cryer, John

Cummins, Judith

Cunningham, Mr Jim

Dakin, Nic

Danczuk, Simon

David, Wayne

Day, Martyn

De Piero, Gloria

Docherty, Martin John

Donaldson, Stuart Blair

Doughty, Stephen

Dowd, Jim

Dowd, Peter

Dromey, Jack

Dugher, Michael

Durkan, Mark

Eagle, Ms Angela

Eagle, Maria

Edwards, Jonathan

Efford, Clive

Elliott, Julie

Esterson, Bill

Evans, Chris

Farrelly, Paul

Farron, Tim

Fellows, Marion

Ferrier, Margaret

Fitzpatrick, Jim

Fletcher, Colleen

Flint, rh Caroline

Flynn, Paul

Fovargue, Yvonne

Foxcroft, Vicky

Gapes, Mike

Gardiner, Barry

Gethins, Stephen

Gibson, Patricia

Glass, Pat

Glindon, Mary

Goodman, Helen

Grady, Patrick

Grant, Peter

Gray, Neil

Green, Kate

Greenwood, Lilian

Greenwood, Margaret

Griffith, Nia

Gwynne, Andrew

Haigh, Louise

Hamilton, Fabian

Hanson, rh Mr David

Harman, rh Ms Harriet

Harpham, Harry

Harris, Carolyn

Hayes, Helen

Hayman, Sue

Healey, rh John

Hendrick, Mr Mark

Hendry, Drew

Hepburn, Mr Stephen

Hermon, Lady

Hillier, Meg

Hodgson, Mrs Sharon

Hollern, Kate

Hopkins, Kelvin

Hosie, Stewart

Howarth, rh Mr George

Hunt, Tristram

Huq, Dr Rupa

Hussain, Imran

Irranca-Davies, Huw

Jarvis, Dan

Johnson, rh Alan

Johnson, Diana

Jones, Gerald

Jones, Mr Kevan

Jones, Susan Elan

Kane, Mike

Kaufman, rh Sir Gerald

Keeley, Barbara

Kendall, Liz

Kerevan, George

Kerr, Calum

Khan, rh Sadiq

Kinnock, Stephen

Kyle, Peter

Lamb, rh Norman

Lavery, Ian

Law, Chris

Leslie, Chris

Lewell-Buck, Mrs Emma

Lewis, Clive

Lewis, Mr Ivan

Long Bailey, Rebecca

Lucas, Caroline

Lucas, Ian C.

Lynch, Holly

MacNeil, Mr Angus Brendan

Mactaggart, rh Fiona

Madders, Justin

Mahmood, Mr Khalid

Mahmood, Shabana

Malhotra, Seema

Mann, John

Marris, Rob

Marsden, Mr Gordon

Maskell, Rachael

Matheson, Christian

Mc Nally, John

McCabe, Steve

McCaig, Callum

McCarthy, Kerry

McDonagh, Siobhain

McDonald, Andy

McDonald, Stewart Malcolm

McDonald, Stuart C.

McDonnell, John

McFadden, rh Mr Pat

McGinn, Conor

McGovern, Alison

McInnes, Liz

McKinnell, Catherine

McLaughlin, Anne

Meale, Sir Alan

Mearns, Ian

Monaghan, Carol

Monaghan, Dr Paul

Moon, Mrs Madeleine

Mulholland, Greg

Mullin, Roger

Murray, Ian

Nandy, Lisa

Newlands, Gavin

Nicolson, John

O'Hara, Brendan

Onn, Melanie

Onwurah, Chi

Osamor, Kate

Oswald, Kirsten

Paterson, Steven

Pearce, Teresa

Pennycook, Matthew

Perkins, Toby

Phillips, Jess

Phillipson, Bridget

Pound, Stephen

Powell, Lucy

Pugh, John

Qureshi, Yasmin

Rayner, Angela

Reed, Mr Jamie

Reed, Mr Steve

Rees, Christina

Reynolds, Emma

Reynolds, Jonathan

Rimmer, Marie

Ritchie, Ms Margaret

Robertson, rh Angus

Robinson, Mr Geoffrey

Rotheram, Steve

Ryan, rh Joan

Salmond, rh Alex

Saville Roberts, Liz

Shah, Naz

Sharma, Mr Virendra

Sheppard, Tommy

Sherriff, Paula

Shuker, Mr Gavin

Siddiq, Tulip

Skinner, Mr Dennis

Slaughter, Andy

Smeeth, Ruth

Smith, rh Mr Andrew

Smith, Angela

Smith, Cat

Smith, Jeff

Smith, Nick

Smith, Owen

Smyth, Karin

Starmer, Keir

Stephens, Chris

Stevens, Jo

Streeting, Wes

Stringer, Graham

Tami, Mark

Thewliss, Alison

Thomas, Mr Gareth

Thomas-Symonds, Nick

Thompson, Owen

Thomson, Michelle

Thornberry, Emily

Timms, rh Stephen

Turley, Anna

Turner, Karl

Twigg, Derek

Twigg, Stephen

Umunna, Mr Chuka

Vaz, rh Keith

Vaz, Valerie

Watson, Mr Tom

Weir, Mike

West, Catherine

Whiteford, Dr Eilidh

Whitehead, Dr Alan

Whitford, Dr Philippa

Williams, Hywel

Williams, Mr Mark

Wilson, Corri

Wilson, Phil

Winnick, Mr David

Winterton, rh Ms Rosie

Wishart, Pete

Wright, Mr Iain

Zeichner, Daniel

Tellers for the Noes:

Jessica Morden

and

Grahame M. Morris

Question accordingly agreed to.

13 Oct 2015 : Column 282

13 Oct 2015 : Column 283

13 Oct 2015 : Column 284

13 Oct 2015 : Column 285

Bill read a Second time.

13 Oct 2015 : Column 286

Immigration Bill (Programme)

Motion made, and Question put forthwith (Standing Order No. 83A(7)),

That the following provisions shall apply to the Immigration Bill:

Committal

(1) The Bill shall be committed to a Public Bill Committee.

Proceedings in Public Bill Committee

(2) Proceedings in the Public Bill Committee shall (so far as not previously concluded) be brought to a conclusion on Tuesday 17 November 2015.

(3) The Public Bill Committee shall have leave to sit twice on the first day on which it meets.

Consideration and Third Reading

(4) Proceedings on Consideration shall (so far as not previously concluded) be brought to a conclusion one hour before the moment of interruption on the day on which those proceedings are commenced.

(5) Proceedings on Third Reading shall (so far as not previously concluded) be brought to a conclusion at the moment of interruption on that day.

(6) Standing Order No. 83B (Programming committees) shall not apply to proceedings on Consideration and Third Reading.

Other proceedings

(7) Any other proceedings on the Bill (including any proceedings on consideration of Lords Amendments or on any further messages from the Lords) may be programmed.—(James Brokenshire.)

Question agreed to.

Immigration Bill (Money)

Queen’s recommendation signified.

Motion made, and Question put forthwith (Standing Order No. 52(1)(a)),

That, for the purposes of any Act resulting from the Immigration Bill, it is expedient to authorise the payment out of money provided by Parliament of:

(a) any expenditure incurred under or by virtue of the Act by a Minister of the Crown, a person holding office under Her Majesty or a government department, and

(b) any increase attributable to the Act in the sums payable under any other Act out of money so provided.—(James Brokenshire.)

Question agreed to.

Immigration Bill (Ways and Means)

Motion made, and Question put forthwith (Standing Order No. 52(1)(a)),

That, for the purposes of any Act resulting from the Immigration Bill, it is expedient to authorise—

(1) the imposition of an immigration skills charge,

(2) the charging of fees, and

(3) the payment of sums into the Consolidated Fund.—(James Brokenshire.)

Question agreed to.

Business without Debate

welfare reform and work bill: programme (no.2)

Motion made, and Question put forthwith (Standing Order No. 83A(7))

That the Order of 20 July (Welfare Reform and Work Bill (Programme)) be varied as follows:

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In paragraph (2) of the Order (conclusion of proceedings in Public Bill Committee) for “Thursday 15 October” substitute “Tuesday 20 October”.—(Julian Smith.)

Question agreed to.

delegated legislation

Motion made, and Question put forthwith (Standing Order No. 118(6)),

income tax

That the draft Scottish Rate of Income Tax (Consequential Amendments) Order 2015, which was laid before this House on 24 June, be approved.—(Julian Smith.)

Question agreed to.

Motion made, and Question put forthwith (Standing Order No. 118(6)),

electricity

That the draft Electricity Capacity (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2015, which were laid before this House on 16 March, in the last Session of Parliament, be approved.—(Julian Smith.)

Question agreed to.


petition

Closure of Wakefield Magistrates Court

7.30 pm

Mary Creagh (Wakefield) (Lab): The petition is from the residents of Wakefield constituency

The petition states:

The Petition of residents of the Wakefield constituency,

Declares that the Petitioners are concerned about the proposed closure of Wakefield magistrates court and the impact this will have on access to justice in areas including Wakefield, Pontefract, Castleford, Featherstone, Normanton and Knottingley; further that the closure of the court would force local people to travel to Leeds; and further that this proposal follows the 2013 closure of Pontefract magistrates court, which resulted in some staff and work moving to Wakefield magistrates court.

The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to reconsider the proposal to close Wakefield magistrates court.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.

[P001548]

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Drones in Conflict

Motion made, and Question proposed, That this House do now adjourn.—(Julian Smith.)

7.31 pm

Dr Andrew Murrison (South West Wiltshire) (Con): After this debate there will be a small ceremony to mark the three crests in memory of three Members of this House who died during the great war and who, until this point, have not been recognised.

In the immediate aftermath of that war, the strategist J.F.C. Fuller predicted the demilitarisation of warfare as machines replaced men on the battlefield. General Fuller was well ahead of his time, but the recent use of unmanned machines to eliminate people in a country where we are not actively engaged in war fighting was described by the Prime Minister on 7 September as a “new departure”. Perhaps in time, drones will rank alongside the longbow in the hundred years war, and submarines a century ago. Both in their time were castigated as disreputable and even cowardly, on the grounds that they appeared—initially at least—to be capable of killing with little risk to the operator.

This debate takes place as we contemplate a further vote on military action in Syria, and in the meantime drones have been used to kill two British citizens in Raqqa on 21 August under article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations. Last week the Prime Minister announced that the number of RAF drones would be doubled, and yesterday the Defence Secretary issued a written ministerial statement about the Protector replacement for Reaper.

I support the development of unmanned air systems as part of the UK’s defence and security. Their endurance, the removal of personal risk from our troops, and the potential for reducing civilian casualties, together with the cost implications of simulator-based training, are all impressive. However, like any “new departure” they must be appraised critically.

Ministers have said that drones operate under existing generic rules of engagement and that nothing more is required. I would like to unpack that a bit, particularly since that assertion appears to conflict with the Ministry of Defence development, concepts and doctrine organisation’s joint doctrine note of March 2011. That JDN notes what we now know to be a “new departure”, and calls explicitly for an unmanned aerial vehicle governance road map. Will the Minister say what progress has been made in advancing the JDN’s recommendations? Will the road map be published? If so, when?

The availability of low-risk, low-cost means of delivering military effect risks lowering the bar for military intervention. It could be that the killings in Raqqa, which I volubly supported in September, illustrate the point. Would the Government have ordered this new departure without the risk-free means of delivery made possible by drones? Indeed, the absence of any obvious criminal or disruptive proceedings against collaborators of the individuals killed in Raqqa suggests that the unmanned aerial vehicle action was not as pressing as we initially understood it to be. Were it otherwise, one would have expected a highly sophisticated delivery and support system in the UK where the offence or offences were to be committed. As yet, we have seen no evidence of that.

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In its response to the Defence Committee’s report, the Government denied that the availability of drones lowers the bar for military intervention. I expect the Minister to reiterate that today. However, unless Ministers are prepared to say that risk to our own troops is immaterial in determining whether to embark on military action, which I do not think she will, that line will have to be finessed in due course.

Jim Shannon (Strangford) (DUP): I thank the hon. Gentleman for giving way and for securing this important debate. He has clearly outlined the issue for military use, but there is an opportunity to use drones for surveillance. In Northern Ireland, we have very active dissident republicans and the threat level is severe. Does he feel that drones could be used, for example by the Police Service of Northern Ireland, to enable better surveillance and to catch terrorists involved in illegal activity?

Dr Murrison: The hon. Gentleman makes his point in his normal fashion. He will understand that Northern Ireland falls outwith the scope of today’s debate, but those responsible for security in Northern Ireland will no doubt examine all the options open to them to safeguard the people living in Northern Ireland.

I hope the newly repopulated Intelligence and Security Committee will be assisted by Ministers in applying its forensic skills to investigate the Raqqa killings. I am confident that the action was only taken, as the Prime Minister said on 7 September, as there was “no alternative”, so it should be able to reassure the public fairly easily. However, it or others must substantiate or refute the hypothesis that, in the Raqqa case, the availability of drones lowered the bar for intervention under article 51 on 21 August. If the former is the case, UAVs will indeed be a new departure in the tradition of J.F.C. Fuller, and the argument for tailored doctrine and rules of engagement will be overwhelming.

This is especially important as what may seem like surgical, low-risk interventions have an unnerving history of altogether bigger consequences that are difficult to predict and control. What is more, the use of particular systems by the UK legitimises their use by other states. The quality of our doctrine and our rules of engagement have a direct bearing on those of others. If we are seen to be relaxed about this new departure, we cannot be surprised if others take a similar line.

The use of drones by the US to eliminate operatives in Pakistan and Yemen is highly controversial. I am one of the greatest admirers of the United States, but its post-war history of what has become known as blowback —provoking sometimes game-changing retaliation through the generation of civilian collateral—is alarming. America’s allies are at risk of being seen as colluding to the point that the Defence Committee has called for a clear demarcation in the operation of drones where, of course, interchangeability of US and UK personnel and airframes is very advanced. The Birmingham Policy Commission was assured that UK personnel releasing a weapon from a United States air force vehicle remain subject to UK rules of engagement. Will the Minister confirm that that is the case, since manned air operations in Syria—despite the express will of this House two years ago, however right or wrong—suggest otherwise?

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We cannot directly influence our allies’ ROEs, but we can ensure that joint operations are conducted appropriately, that NATO doctrine is acceptable and that UK personnel are not compromised. Will the Minister say how many UK servicemen are involved in the operational use of drones with US or other forces and what arrangements she has made to ensure that the ROEs they are required to use do not fall short of the standards applicable in the UK? What will be done to ensure that data acquired using drones are not then used by allies to act against targets in a way that the UK public might find objectionable? The Defence Committee has suggested that the Intelligence and Security Committee look at this. Without wishing to overburden the ISC, would she agree that that suggestion is sound and do what she can to facilitate it?

Drones are all controlled by human beings, but concern remains over the development of autonomous airframes and so-called killer robots. Some level of independence already applies to a few of our existing weapon systems, such as Phalanx, but it would be useful if the Minister delineated the bounds of acceptability. Can she confirm that the UK is bound by the missile technology control regime, the Wassenaar arrangement and not least the consolidated criteria? What is her view of the future for unmanned technology exploitation in the UK aerospace and defence sector? Will she confirm that the UK Government would be unlikely to license the export of autonomous weapon systems?

Can I tempt the Minister to indicate how UAVs will feature in the upcoming strategic defence and security review? It sometimes seems that the only defence policy the Scottish National party has is the restoration of maritime patrol aircraft. Manned airframes for that purpose seem increasingly last century, so will she say whether UAVs—perhaps the US systems Poseidon or Triton, or NATO’s high altitude long endurance proposition —are being actively considered to restore capability taken at risk on withdrawal of Nimrod? Will the MOD now undertake to publish the study we understand is being conducted by the MOD into that matter?

Will the Minister say where we are with the future combat air system? A joint BAE Systems and Dassault post-Typhoon and Rafael unmanned combat air system concept trailed in the Lancaster House treaties and launched in 2012 appears to have stalled. Will she say what has happened to it and the extent to which the challenges of evolving technology designed for permissive airspace and data feeds to deal with hostile environments and semi-autonomy are delaying progress?

Will the Minister confirm that the UK has no interest in the European Defence Agency’s medium altitude long endurance remotely piloted aircraft systems project? I remember being distinctly lukewarm about that, as I am with “more Europe” in defence generally, at the Foreign Affairs Council when I was at the MOD. When will the Navy’s maritime UAV strategy paper be finished and published? If drones are relatively cheap, easy to control, low risk and readily deployable, they may well become a weapon of choice for non-state actors. What assessment has been made of this and, while spending on UAVs is bucking the defence spending trend in this country, what investment is being made in countermeasures?

I would like to consider the implications of emerging technology on military software—on uniformed men and women who serve this country. With the SDSR

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pending, it is important for Ministers to understand where technological advances are taking not only defence hardware but its software—the human beings who populate the military today and will do so over the next two decades. Air marshals gamely tried to convince us that a drone pilot playing with his joystick in the Nevada desert or Lincolnshire is the lineal descendent of “the few” and of airmen in conflicts since—that is, people who engage directly with or are engaged by the enemy in the air.

Although the mental challenge to a person who logs off and goes home after a shift in Lincolnshire should not be equated with an infanteer in Basra or Helmand, the psychological implications of killing the enemy at a distance rather than at close quarters merit close examination, particularly since operators lack the unit cohesion and support systems of those physically on the frontline.

If Fuller is right, military practitioners will increasingly be technicians, not tough men at the end of a bayonet. “Professional spirit” will replace “fighting spirit”: it will be as if the Royal Army Dental Corps has taken over from the Black Watch. If so, in the sanitised operations of the future, “fighting spirit” may become a positive disadvantage. The military covenant exists because of the extraordinary risks run by fighting forces. If there are few risks beyond the expectation of routine civilian employment, there is no need for a covenant.

General Fuller’s prediction of the end of the infantry was premature, but it may yet have its day as we shift from hand-to-hand to hands-off combat in an environment where societal tolerance for taking and inflicting casualties is low. If so, there are profound implications for how we structure our armed forces, the sort of people we recruit to them and the implicit deal struck between servicemen and the nation, reflected in the military covenant.


7.46 pm

The Minister for the Armed Forces (Penny Mordaunt): I congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for South West Wiltshire (Dr Murrison) on securing this debate on a topic that I know is of great interest to hon. Members. I also thank him for giving a plug to what will follow this debate.

My hon. Friend asked a large number of questions; I shall try to get through them all in the time available. Let me first answer the last point about how this issue is changing both the shape and the look of our armed forces and the types of scenarios in which our armed forces might find themselves. It must be recognised that RPAS crews are fully immersed in the realities of combat. The persistence offered by these systems can result in crews observing the aftermath of their attacks, which is a sobering experience, rarely shared by other pilots or artillery men. As with any squadron that deploys in theatre, RPAS squadrons undergo pre-operational mental health briefings and post-tour briefs. They have trauma management practitioners embedded throughout to monitor the health and wellbeing of all those involved in operations. I know that my hon. Friend takes a great deal of interest in these matters, and I would be happy to discuss the issue further with him on another date.

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I am grateful for my hon. Friend’s acknowledgment of these systems in that they play a key part in our capability and help to save lives. If he will forgive me, I will briefly provide a bit of clarity and on the record bust some of the myths that surround the term “drone”, which conjures up images of machines free from human oversight and able to operate with complete autonomy. That is the stuff of science fiction movies, not the reality. Although drones do not operate with an individual in the cockpit, the fact is that a trained professional human being is in control of the system at all times. The difference is that they operate remotely from the vehicle. The term “drone” also overlooks the fact that the aircraft itself is part of a much larger system composed of other vital components such as the ground stations, networks and, most importantly, the personnel.

My hon. Friend asked what progress has been made on the joint doctrine note’s recommendations of March 2011 in developing a governance road map. We shall be developing that at the same time as bringing the Protector into service. I shall be happy to provide more details, but the rough date of completion for the programme will be the end of the current decade.

My hon. Friend asked some pertinent questions about the Raqqa strike. He asked, for instance, whether it would have happened if this capability had not been at our disposal. That raises hypothetical questions about whether having the capability changes our behaviour and whether we become more trigger-happy, and also about the nature of individual targeting, which, as he will understand, is an incredibly complex process. Many questions about collateral damage and the likelihood of success will also need to be taken into account. I think that the best way in which I can answer those hypothetical questions is to direct him to the Prime Minister’s statement that if there were a direct threat to the British people and we were able to stop it by taking immediate action, we would be prepared to take that action.

Fiona Mactaggart (Slough) (Lab): The hon. Member for South West Wiltshire (Dr Murrison) suggested that the Intelligence and Security Committee would review the decisions about Raqqa. Will the Minister give the House a commitment that the Ministry of Defence will engage in the best possible collaboration with any inquiry that the Committee might mount?

Penny Mordaunt: I shall say more about that later, but, yes, it would be very welcome.

Let me say a little about the rules of engagement. United Kingdom policy relating to RPAS is exactly the same as that which relates to manned aircraft. There is no requirement for separate rules of engagement. UK crews always operate within UK and international law, regardless of what other rules of engagement apply to the operation concerned. If the United States were using one of our systems, it would use its rules of engagement, but it would be restricted by our UK red card holder, who is fully empowered to veto the use of a UK asset for action without UK permissions.

My hon. Friend asked about the number of individuals involved in US operations. No UK personnel are involved in flying in such operations, although three UK servicemen are currently involved in training. He raised the issue of data that might be gathered by RPAS when our allies could use them to attack targets that the UK public

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might find objectionable. The right hon. Member for Slough (Fiona Mactaggart) mentioned the ISC’s offer to examine and provide oversight in regard to that whole matter. The acquisition and dissemination of the intelligence that is gathered complies with all UK domestic and international law, and oversight from that body is very welcome. I will undertake to keep my hon. Friend informed, and will do what I can to facilitate it.

My hon. Friend raised the issue of the development of so-called killer robots, in the case of which there is some level of independence. He mentioned Phalanx, but I would guess that Goalkeeper and other such capabilities would fall into the same category. He asked what regimens, agreements and criteria they were bound by; I can confirm that they are bound by all those to which he referred.

We continue to track rapidly advancing RPAS technology development. Over the last decade, it has become a very important part of our military capability. Given the rapidity with which such technology is developing, I cannot envisage any reversal in the trend. Indeed, I expect RPAS to be used in an increasingly wide variety of environments and roles, and to form a key part of our future mix. The Government have no intention of developing systems that operate without this all-important human hand in the weapon command and control chain.

My hon. Friend asked how UAVs might feature in the SDSR. That has still to report its findings, but, as the Prime Minister has already announced, Reaper will be replaced towards the end of the decade through the Protector programme, which will develop a medium altitude long endurance RPAS, providing the UK armed forces with a theatre-wide persistent ISR—intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance—capability that is able to identify, monitor and, if necessary, attack land and maritime targets. The Protector programme is set to double the number of aircraft compared with Reaper, offering yet more capability.

My hon. Friend asked a list of questions, which I can get the Minister for Defence Procurement to respond to, addressing successors to Nimrod, maritime patrol aircraft and so on.

A variety of options, including unmanned systems, are currently being considered as part of the SDSR for future UK capability. The Department is funding research into the potential of this area of future combat air systems, and we are currently undertaking a two-year study with France scoping the feasibility of developing an unmanned combat air system together. This is complemented by a national programme including further work to advance the Taranis technology demonstrator aircraft.

My hon. Friend asked about exports. The Government take our arms exports responsibilities very seriously. I have sat on the Defence Committee as a Back Bencher and we operate one of the most rigorous arms export

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controls in the world. The transfer of unmanned or remotely piloted air systems and their related technology is controlled through the UK’s strategic export legislation, and any export of strategic goods such as these systems would need to be considered against the EU and the national consolidated export licensing criteria. Export licences are considered on a case-by-case basis against the export licensing criteria, and in the light of prevailing circumstances at the time and depending, critically, on what we think they would be used for. Any licence to export a UAS or RPAS would have to be consistent with the UK’s international obligations under those regimes and agreements that my hon. Friend mentioned. The overall aim of that is to prevent the proliferation of sensitive materials and technology to countries and end-users of concern. We do not export equipment where there is a clear risk that it might be used for internal repression or it would aggravate existing tensions or conflicts, or would be used aggressively against another country.

On that point, my hon. Friend asked about the danger and likelihood of these capabilities being developed by non-state actors and what we are doing about that. Clearly, that is an area of concern and he will know that we constantly assess those threat levels, and we are currently, as part of the work in the SDSR, looking at measures that could be taken to counter such threats.

My hon. Friend also asked when the Navy’s maritime UAV strategy paper will be finished and when it will be published. That, again, is part of the work of the SDSR.

In summary, I welcome this opportunity to put on record again the Government’s clear views on the benefits of remotely piloted aircraft systems. The role of those systems in armed conflicts will only increase over time, whether to gain a more complex level of situational awareness for tactical crews and military commanders or to attack positively identified targets when required. I find it hard to imagine a campaign in which such technology will not have a part to play. Indeed, in the most unpredictable and difficult of operational environments, these systems are vital in providing situational awareness, often avoiding the need to place our personnel in harm’s way, whether on the ground, in the air or at sea.

I know that the various aspects of this issue are of immense concern to Members on both sides of the House, and we are keen to facilitate visits to some of the facilities involved and to ensure that the House is well informed on all the issues. I will be happy to follow up any further questions that my hon. Friend the Member for South West Wiltshire might have.

Question put and agreed to.

8 pm

House adjourned.