We now face an immigration crisis across Europe of proportions never seen before. These are very large numbers of people indeed. The noble Lord, Lord Dubs, referred to Germany as being the conscience of Europe. Angela Merkel may well have been moved with compassion when she said that Germany would take 900,000 Syrian refugees, but I suspect she has regretted that remark ever since. She created enormous problems within her own party. Indeed, I would have thought that that remark was extremely ill-advised if she did not want to see the renaissance of extreme right-wing parties in Germany in future.

My noble friend Lord Horam referred to my right honourable friend the Home Secretary’s remarks at the Tory Party conference. The problem is that, if immigration is in too large numbers, it creates very

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serious stresses in the home nation. This is something we cannot overlook. At the moment we suffer from a major crisis in housing—in particular, in affordable housing. We are not building enough. This is a problem we have with our existing population. If we take in very large numbers of immigrants, they are almost invariably in greater need of affordable housing than the resident population in this country. That creates enormous resentment. This may well be one reason why UKIP has had a certain amount of electoral success in areas traditionally regarded as bastions of the Labour Party. We cannot overlook this, as my noble friend Lord Horam said. Immigration is a very high priority in the views of the people of this country. We cannot take unlimited numbers of people. I come back to what I said originally: it is a question of numbers.

Lord Wallace of Saltaire: My Lords, I apologise for interrupting the noble Lord in a Second Reading speech. I entirely agree with him that we have a housing shortage. Might he possibly address the question of how we will overcome that shortage when we have such a remarkable lack of skilled labour to build houses within this country? Is there not a real problem that a major housebuilding programme now would draw in a very large number of people from abroad to build those houses?

Lord Hamilton of Epsom: The noble Lord, Lord Wallace, knows very well that it is a question not only of the shortage of skilled bricklayers and people who can build houses, but also of the enormous shortage of land on which you can build. This is all to do with our planning laws and is a much more complicated issue than just a question of the shortage of people.

If we control immigration and have a system of allowing in the people with the skills we need, I do not have any problem with that. The problem is if we allow very large numbers of people in who do not have those skills. That is a totally different issue. It is what puts enormous pressure on all our services at the moment. It is not only housing, which is the most obvious issue. The National Health Service seems to be creaking under the demands pressed on it at the moment. Our infrastructure and education are also under great pressure. With all these things, if you have enormous numbers of immigrants coming in, the pressure on public services inevitably grows and that creates resentment and difficulty.

With the EU referendum coming up, I refer to the question of European immigration. As we know, EU citizens are allowed into this country. We apparently do some survey to find out how many there are of them. The figures for last year were 330,000. That is net immigration, netted off against those going out. It is reckoned that about half that number are EU citizens—some 150,000. At the same time, some reports came out recently about 2 million EU citizens applying for national insurance numbers over a period of four years. That is an average of half a million per year. I know we are not comparing like with like here, but it seems that you must do something to reconcile these two numbers. You have half a million EU citizens

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applying for national insurance while, in theory because of the surveys we do, we had only 150,000 come into this country last year. I believe the number may be even bigger this year. When my noble friend comes to sum up, I would be grateful if he could confirm that 2 million EU citizens applied for national insurance numbers over the past four years. How does he reconcile that with the number of EU migrants that are supposed to come to live here? We need statistics.

I also support the noble Lord, Lord Rosser, in saying that we need to know what the Government estimate to be the number of illegal immigrants in this country. If we do not have that number, it is extremely difficult to assess whether this Bill has been a success or failure in reducing that number.

2.07 pm

Baroness Lister of Burtersett (Lab): My Lords, it feels like déjà vu all over again. Not only are we faced with a very similar set of measures to those in the 2014 Act, but also the Bill includes a second savage cut in asylum support this year and, yet again, a parallel consultation is taking place on charging migrants for healthcare, including some emergency treatment. We still await time limits on detention. As if the 2014 Act did not create a hostile enough environment for so-called illegal migrants—a term that bodies such as the General Assembly of the UN committed not to use; I will refer instead to “undocumented” migrants because no person is illegal—organisations on the ground warn that this Bill will make Britain an even more hostile and suspicious place for all migrants and their descendants.

I am grateful for the bumper bundle of official information that appeared on my desk last week, but the sunny picture it paints bears no resemblance to that detailed in the copious briefings we received, for which I am also grateful—though I will not be able to do them justice. Instead, they point to a Bill that spells discrimination, exploitation and destitution.

A number of provisions could give rise to discrimination. As the Conservative MP Richard Fuller warned,

“the problem is that it is very difficult for someone to see that a person is an illegal immigrant. What they see is someone who is different”.—[

Official Report

, Commons, 13/10/15; col. 196.]

He asked whether the Home Secretary accepted that within this law there was the potential for discrimination to be increased if this was pursued too aggressively. The Home Secretary’s reply provided no reassurance. In the name of combating exploitation, some of the Bill’s provisions are likely to increase it, as we have heard, and, as has been argued, the withdrawal of the asylum support from appeal-exhausted families with children will without doubt mean destitution for all too many of them.

It was my original intention to speak solely about asylum support as I feel so strongly about this, particularly following the shabby and shameful cut in support for children that we debated in October. However, I am increasingly alarmed by other provisions, particularly the likely implications for children, whose best interests would appear to be far from paramount, and for women. I shall flag up some of these other concerns.

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First, I shall speak on Clause 34, known as “Remove first, appeal later”. In its two reports on the last immigration Bill, the Joint Committee on Human Rights, of which I was then a member, raised serious concerns on human rights grounds about out-of-country appeals. This provision now goes further. As we have heard, Justice is one of numerous organisations warning about the human rights and rule-of-law implications as access to justice is impeded. There are also concerns about family separation and fears that the best interests of the child will not be given primary consideration as required by the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, despite the Minister’s reassurances.

Rights of Women is worried about the implications for women migrants who have left abusive partners but who do not qualify to remain under the normal domestic violence rules because of their status, which is a common occurrence. Rights of Women fears that:

“A mother seeking to remain in the UK as the parent of a child who is wrongfully refused by the Home Office faces the prospect of leaving her child in the UK with an abusive father or taking her child with her forcing them to leave behind a network of friends and family, abandoning their schools and communities and being forced to live in a country where in many instances they have no ties, no understanding of the language or culture”.

It points out that this upheaval could last for months or longer.

I and other noble Lords raised fears about the potentially discriminatory impact of the right to rent scheme during the passage of the 2014 Bill. The Home Office’s gloss notwithstanding, I am not reassured by the findings of the pilot, which in my view do not allow us to conclude that our fears were unfounded, particularly in the light of JCWI’s independent evaluation, which reinforced those fears. Rights of Women warns that its extension and intensification could disproportionately affect women fleeing abusive partners, regardless of their nationality.

With regard to discriminatory effects, will the Minister give an assurance that the new language requirements for customer-facing public sector workers will not be used against those whose first language is British Sign Language, and commit to include a clear statement to that effect in the code of practice, as requested by Sense?

Turning back to the right to rent, there are also fears that it would make undocumented migrants more vulnerable to exploitation by rogue landlords. Similarly, as we have heard, the criminalisation of undocumented workers who undertake paid work makes them more vulnerable to exploitation in the workplace, thereby undermining one of the Bill’s aims. Exploitation can also be one result of the removal of asylum support from appeal-exhausted asylum seekers unless they can demonstrate destitution and a genuine obstacle to leaving the UK. The danger is that, counterproductively, adults and children disappear into the shadow economy or even are subject to sexual exploitation. Despite widespread opposition to the use of prospective destitution to incentivise voluntary return, the Bill steamed ahead with the original proposal just six days after the consultation closed.

The language of “incentives” is constantly used as justification, as if asylum seekers personified economically rational man in their decision-making. Such thinking

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was challenged by a Centre for Social Justice working group some years ago, and the overwhelming evidence from organisations working with asylum seekers shows just how misplaced it is. For example, Women for Refugee Women writes that,

“parents who fear for their own and their children’s safety will not be swayed to return to their home countries by the threat of being made destitute, or actual destitution”.

Not one of 45 women that WRW spoke to in a 2012 study felt able to contemplate voluntary return, despite facing destitution. That still held true when it spoke to 30 of those women a year later.

Women can face particular problems in getting their need for protection recognised when it arises from sexual persecution. My concern about this provision is heightened by the absence of any appeal rights, as we have heard, which again raises serious human rights and rule-of-law issues. It has been justified on the grounds that whether or not there is a genuine obstacle to leaving is a straightforward matter of fact, but judgments have to be made on facts pertaining to both this and the other criterion for destitution. ASAP’s analysis of decision-making on destitution under the existing scheme suggests that serious injustices could result.

More detail about what constitutes a genuine obstacle will be contained in regulations, as will the level and type of support to be provided for those who qualify and the length of the grace period, although I am pleased to say that the Home Office has recognised the strength of representations that 28 days is just too short in family cases. When will the draft regulations be published? Can the Minister give us a firm reassurance that at the very least an Explanatory Note of the contents will be published before Committee?

The Home Office has been more willing to respond to local authority concerns by severely restricting access to local authority support. The result is graphically described by ILPA as,

“a series of tatty ‘safety’ nets, each full of holes”,

through which it would be all too easy to plummet. There are also limitations on support for care leavers subject to immigration control, who are referred to as “adults” as though somehow the vulnerabilities faced by care leavers who turn 18, long recognised in law and policy, will magically dissolve.

I have received many emails from organisations and individuals asking me to speak today because of their concerns, particularly around asylum support. One of them, a Quaker,

“saddened by the increased dehumanisation”,

of policy-making in this area, wished me,

“strength in maintaining your opposition to the Bill in its present form”.

We owe it to them and, more importantly, to all those who stand to be affected by this wretched Bill to improve it and prevent the discrimination, exploitation and destitution that it threatens.

2.16 pm

Lord Taverne (LD): My Lords, I agree with and admire the excellent speeches made by the noble Lord, Lord Rosser, my noble friend Lady Hamwee and many other critics of the Bill.

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I will restrict myself to three concerns. One is deportation before an appeal is heard. It is an appalling denial of justice that an appeal that may make the difference between life and death, which in Britain would have perhaps a 50/50 chance of success, may be conducted when the appellant is thousands of miles away from the legal advisers familiar with the details of his or her case. In the debate on the Bill in the other place, Wes Streeting MP gave the following example of a case in his constituency:

“One of the many cases my office is dealing with at the moment is that of a Sri Lankan Tamil whose application has been refused and who bears the mental and physical scars of torture. His application is now on appeal. If the Home Secretary’s proposals had been in place, he would already have been returned to Sri Lanka, where, given the human rights situation there, his life would potentially be at risk”.—[Official Report, 13/10/15; col. 212.]

I am rather doubtful about the safeguards that are sometimes mentioned by the spokesmen on behalf of the Government.

My second concern is the position in which some whose asylum appeal is refused are left. I have recently been involved, through the Refugee Council, in a case of a young Afghan who was an unaccompanied child refugee from Afghanistan at the age of seven. He was well looked after at first, and did well enough at school to be offered a place at a college of further education. However, when he was 17 and a half he had to apply for asylum, which was refused. It must be very difficult for someone who was seven years old when they became a refugee to prove that they would be persecuted. For four years, while his status was uncertain, he lived in fear of deportation back to Afghanistan, where he knew no one and had no prospects of a job; indeed, he was no longer familiar with speaking an Afghan language.

Deportation is not often carried out, but Channel 4 showed a memorable film of a young man in a similar plight who was deported and taken away from loving foster parents, ending up as a drug addict living under a bridge in Kabul. My reasons for concern are increased by the fact that the Government seem to take the view that Afghanistan is now safe, which is not a view shared by former ambassadors.

While his status was uncertain, my young Afghan lived without means of earning a living and dependent on support from friends until finally he was given permanent leave to remain. People seeking asylum do not have permission to work in the UK and thus are forced to rely on support provided by the Home Office. This consists of accommodation given on a no-choice basis and just £5.28 a day to cover food, clothing, toiletries, travel, communication and all other necessities.

Even under the current system many refused asylum seekers in the UK do not currently qualify for the limited Home Office support or have to wait for long periods to access this support. Others are sometimes erroneously denied support that they may be entitled to. While they wait, they are destitute, forced to rely on whatever ad hoc support is available to them from friends, charities and faith-based groups. I am told that the British Red Cross has supported thousands of asylum seekers and their dependants in this situation in the United Kingdom so far this year.

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My third concern, which I shall refer to very briefly, is the extraordinary proposal to make illegal employment a crime not only for the employer but for the employee. What illegal employee will dare to reveal the condition of near slavery in which he or she is employed if they fear that they will be prosecuted or will lose whatever meagre earnings they may have saved? Control of illegal employment will be infinitely more difficult.

This is another in a series of ineffective immigration Bills. It tinkers with the system and leaves large areas of uncertainty and denial of justice. As an SNP Member in the other place observed, it is a case of,

“if at first you don’t succeed, legislate and legislate again”.—[

Official Report

, Commons, 13/10/15; col. 220.]

2.22 pm

Lord Ramsbotham (CB): My Lords, I am very grateful to the Minister for writing to all those speaking today at 6.30 last night, following the briefing that he and James Brokenshire, the Minister for Security and Immigration, gave to the Cross-Bench weekly meeting last week about the Bill. In his letter, he comments on the three concerns that I represented to him, resulting in my altering some of what I intended to say today. However, he has not allayed all my concerns, and I warmly agree with what many other noble Lords have said about them today.

My first concern was about timing because, in addition to having Second Reading today, the last day before the Christmas Recess, we were faced with three Committee days out of five on which the House was sitting, starting on the third day after our return. By any standards, that is indecent haste, and I congratulate the Minister on persuading the Government to put the first Committee day back to 18 January.

The Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association reported its impression that the Bill as it emerged from the other place showed signs of,

“haste: proposals not fully thought through or developed; inadequate evaluation, and drafting that is struggling to keep up”.

That is not a very good advertisement for what the Government clearly regard as a flagship Bill, accompanied, as it is, by a health warning to concerned people such as myself: as so many of its provisions were in the Conservative Party election manifesto, interfere if you dare.

I know from Hansard what was debated in the 15 Committee days in the other place and that a flood of government amendments were tabled only on Report and were therefore unscrutinised in Committee. While the constitutional position of this House in relation to secondary legislation is subject to a review by the noble Lord, Lord Strathclyde, I wonder whether the constitutional rectitude of the committee system in the other place has ever been questioned in the same way. A built-in government majority of nine to seven is hardly an example of democracy at work and explains why so few non-government amendments are ever accepted. I suspect that this contributes to much legislation arriving in this House accompanied by a frank admission that the other place has been unable to scrutinise it properly before sending it on but is doing so because of its confidence that we will do our job. This large and complex Bill contains a number of very contentious

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issues. I hope therefore that, rather than being pressurised into completing our scrutiny in too short a time, under the cosh of manifesto conventions, we will be allowed to focus properly on such issues as the observance of the rule of law and safeguarding the reputation of this great country of ours.

My second point was that parts of the Bill appear to be in breach of the rule of law. Here, I must thank the Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law for its admirable document Immigration Detention and the Rule of Law: Safeguarding Principles, which I hope has been seen and read by not only the Minister, but by every other Minister and official in the Home Office who has anything to do not only with this Bill, but with asylum and immigration issues in general. Despite what the Minister said today, I remain unhappy, as do other noble Lords, about what is proposed in Clause 34 regarding appeals, particularly the suggestion that some may be made only from outside the United Kingdom. When the majority of current appeals are against flaws in Home Office casework, such a drastic change to procedures long practised by a country that prides itself on being thought civilised should be based on stronger grounds than ministerial assurance that the Home Office will get things right in future. Then there is the suggestion in Clause 31 that the Home Secretary is claiming the right to overrule the judiciary on immigration bail. That issue will no doubt be explored fully in Committee, but it gives the impression that the Government are prepared to ride roughshod over niceties that for centuries have characterised our reputation for humane behaviour towards those who seek sanctuary here.

In his letter, the Minister comments on my particular concern about possible breaches of the Children Act 1989 in respect of vulnerable asylum-seeking children. When I was Chief Inspector of Prisons, the Home Secretary and the Prison Service claimed Crown immunity from the provisions of the Act as far as the treatment of children in custody was concerned. Both were taken to judicial review by the Howard League for Penal Reform, and the provisions of the Act now apply in every place in which children are held. The Children Act is in line with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which this country is a signatory, and I hope that any doubts about the application of the Act to destitute asylum-seeking children will be removed, once and for all, during the remaining passage of the Bill through Parliament. I also hope that the Government are disturbed that recent research by the Children’s Society has disclosed that, despite their protestations of their humanity, separated children involved in Article 8 immigration cases are unable to get legal aid or exceptional funding for advice and representation.

My third concern is much more difficult to quantify, but has been with me ever since 1997, when I was asked to take on the inspection of immigration detention centres, then under the Immigration and Nationality Directorate of the Home Office. It was immediately apparent that the directorate was dysfunctional, not to say unfit for purpose—a soubriquet applied later to its successor, the UK Border Agency, by the then Home Secretary, the noble Lord, Lord Reid. Honourably,

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and quite understandably, the Minister defends the performance of the Home Office, but I have to tell him that my experience over the past 18 years does not give me the same degree of confidence in its ability.

I shall not bore the House by repeating all my dealings with the immigration system, but if there has been one constant bar to progress throughout this period it has been the inability of the Home Office to cope with what is demanded of it. What is worse, what the Independent Asylum Commission, of which I was a commissioner, described as a culture of disbelief pervades the whole asylum and immigration structure and is manifested in much shoddy work, shown up by the number of appeals that are granted because of flaws in decision-making.

One incontrovertible fact that inspecting immigration centres proved to me was that they were neither designed nor resourced for other than short-term holding. The lack of activity places for more than a few makes them unsuitable for holding anyone for long and totally unsuitable for the detention of children. I found it particularly concerning that their population included far too many ex-prisoners, sentenced to be deported but whose deportation had not been processed while they were in prison. Ever since 1999, I have campaigned to have this stopped, recommending that such prisoners should have their deportation processed in prison so that at the end of their sentence they are taken straight to an airport and out. Most of the disturbances in immigration detention centres are caused by such ex-prisoners, who should not be there in the first place.

However, of more relevance to the Bill is the issue of time-limiting immigration detention. The committee of the All-Party Groups on Refugees and Migration, of which, like the noble Baronesses, Lady Hamwee and Lady Lister, I was a member, recommended that it should be limited to 28 days, which was endorsed by the other place on 10 September. I note what my noble and learned friend Lord Brown of Eaton-under-Heywood said about this issue. We are told that the government response to an as yet unseen report on the issue by the Home Office’s favourite rapporteur, Stephen Shaw, is due to be published before we begin Committee, which presumably means over Christmas. This issue will undoubtedly be pursued in Committee.

However, because of its dreadful record of failure over so many years, there is clearly a pressing need for a root-and-branch overhaul of the Home Office’s case-handling process, long called for by many organisations that support immigration detainees. Only last week the Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration highlighted the Home Office’s failure to remove several thousands of asylum seekers, many of whom had “gone missing”. During the passage of the Immigration Act 2014, it was suggested that there was a backlog of over 50,000 unresolved asylum cases, which millstone makes it impossible for any current system to be up to date. If the immigration system is to work properly, let alone absorb the extra responsibilities that the Bill seeks to thrust upon it, that backlog must be cleared so that the business of the day can be handled in the day and decisions reached in a timely fashion.

Despite what the Minister says, my concern about some of the provisions in the Bill is that they are simply undeliverable given the lack of a functional

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system for handling cases in the Home Office. Until and unless there is a proper structure, with built-in systems of accountability and responsibility to ensure consistency, immigration will remain in a mess, which is the only word to describe it now. That it is in this state is not the fault of any one Minister but the failure of a succession of short-term Ministers, served by ineffective officials, to get to grips with what is required.

In addition to all those presently trying to come to Europe, mass migration, related to climate change, is bound to increase the pressure on countries such as ours, to which many people will wish to come. If we are to be able to cope with that inevitable future, it is essential that we put our house in order now. Legislation may be required to do this, but not, I suggest, many of the provisions in the Bill, which will complicate rather than simplify procedures.

Every business, hospital and school has named individuals who are responsible and accountable for different departments. The cult of managerialism, which presumes that because an instruction has been issued from on high it will automatically be obeyed, is no way to run an operational system such as immigration. Individual caseworkers need to be responsible and accountable to a manager, who is him or herself responsible and accountable to a director for different countries or types of cases, who is in turn responsible and accountable to a Minister. Only then can you be certain that an instruction will be obeyed and its obedience overseen. Therefore, if the Government are so keen to tighten the way asylum and immigration applications are handled, I suggest that before introducing yet more complicated legislation, they should first ensure that a functional system, capable of implementing the actions that they wish to take, is in place.

2.34 pm

Baroness Sheehan (LD): My Lords, this Bill fills me with dismay and disquiet. To design legislation such as this, which has within it the seeds of racial conflict, is to dice with community cohesion and our current, mostly harmonious race relations. There is a great deal contained in the proposed measures that I could address, but I am sure that noble Lords will be relieved that I will confine myself to a select few.

I start with the right to rent clause. It will tear apart the already fractious landlord/tenant relationship. Making the landlord criminally responsible—if I may put it like that—for staying up to date with his or her tenant’s immigration status puts him or her in the invidious position of taking on the mantle of immigration officer and border control officer. Who will take the risk of letting accommodation to an Imran Khan, on a student visa, when faced with a possible prison sentence if they get it wrong? Buy-to-let landlords had not bargained on this. They will opt for safety first, and who can blame them? Therefore, if the said Imran Khan is temporarily without the necessary papers to prove his legal presence, he will be evicted. The scope for injustice is great.

I have some direct experience of this. In a former role as caseworker for my noble friend Lady Kramer when she was in another place, I dealt with a number of immigration cases. Richmond upon Thames has a

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surprising number of these due to its proximity to Heathrow. I know from first-hand experience that the Home Office has an alarming propensity to lose case files and applicants’ documents. The Home Office hotline for MPs and their staff was frustrating in its frequent lack of response on often urgent cases, and I fear that there will be people, including UK citizens, who are wrongfully evicted for lack of proof of their right to rent and made homeless. It is as inevitable as night follows day.

St Mungo’s Broadway, a charity working with 25,000 homeless people across London, the south-east, the south-west and the Home Counties, states:

“Homelessness often results in the loss of ID documents and many vulnerable people will not have a passport or be readily able to provide other ID documents required to rent or renew their existing tenancy”.

St Mungo’s Broadway’s figures for services working with rough sleepers show that in Westminster last year, counting only UK nationals and Irish clients, 49% had no ID. The process of tracking down and producing allowable ID documents is time-consuming and expensive. Will the Minister look into making this task a little easier for charities involved in helping homeless vulnerable people to rebuild their lives?

There is also concern about the deterrent effect of applying the right to rent scheme to households who take in lodgers and to charitable families who offer a spare room to refugees and homeless migrants while their application is being considered. These hosting schemes are extremely important for helping people to avoid destitution while they go through the process of regularising their situation or preparing to return to their home country and who are otherwise not entitled to any support.

A couple of weeks ago, I met a newly arrived young Syrian who had recently been granted refugee status. He recounted how his delight on receiving indefinite leave to remain was dampened by the realisation that he would have immediately to find his own accommodation. He had nowhere to go and would have had to risk the streets if someone had not put him in contact with an organisation called Room for Refugees, which found a room for him in a family house in Epsom. I fear that families will be deterred from coming forward to offer spare rooms to destitute asylum seekers and refugees for fear of falling foul of the law. More and more people will be forced to sleep rough on the streets.

The concern is that the Home Office’s record on dealing with immigration leaves something to be desired, and there is concern about its ability to deal promptly with inquiries from landlords and indeed employers. The impact on lives of getting the information wrong or not responding quickly enough will be devastating to those—as many in these situations will be—close to the bread line.

The pilot of the right to rent scheme in the West Midlands showed the potential for an increase in discrimination on racial grounds and an increase in homelessness. Therefore, before the Government go ahead with the more draconian measures in the Bill, will they carry out an impact assessment of the current countrywide rollout of right to rent measures taking

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effect in February 2016? It is particularly relevant to test areas such as London, where demand for housing is higher than in the West Midlands. It will be useful to have some evidence of whether existing measures are succeeding in tackling illegal immigration or whether the effect is to drive illegal immigrants further underground, increasing homelessness and providing easy pickings for unscrupulous landlords.

I have similar reservations about the measures in Part 1 on the labour market and illegal working. I seek reassurance from the Minister that the role of the Director of Labour Market Enforcement is unconnected to the role of immigration control.

The many other measures contained in other parts of the Bill could have serious adverse effects on the lives of innocent people who have inadvertently fallen foul of the law or who have suffered from wrong or tardy information from the Home Office. The loss of a driving licence, the loss of a car, the suspension of a bank account, the loss of documents and the inability even to represent oneself at an immigration appeal hearing will devastate and, in some cases, destroy lives.

What will be the effect of stopping drivers to ask for their driving licence? The police have expressed grave reservations about this. Janet Hills, the president of the National Black Police Association, believes that, if it becomes law, the Immigration Bill will set back the hard work of the police and, in particular, the NBPA to improve community and race relations—relations which are hard to build and easy to destroy.

Scope for injustice in many of the provisions outlined in the Bill exists. Therefore, I ask whether the Minister and his colleagues will consider putting in place measures to offer compensation to those who have had their lives and livelihoods disrupted or destroyed by the wrongful application of the Bill’s provisions.

I end by drawing your Lordships’ attention to the recently released report of the Home Affairs Select Committee entitled Immigration: Skill Shortages. I will make reference to just one section in it—the one relating to nursing and healthcare. The Royal College of Nursing advised the committee that about 20,000 registered nursing vacancies were currently advertised in England. Your Lordships will have seen yesterday’s newspapers: nine out of 10 NHS trusts face a shortage of nurses. So I ask the Government: is this a good time to create a hostile environment for much-needed migrant workers?

2.43 pm

Lord Best (CB): My Lords, the points I am raising on the Bill relate to the extension of the right to rent provisions introduced through the Immigration Act 2014. When we considered the previous Bill, I spoke against the right to rent measures which place a requirement on landlords or their agents to check the immigration status of potential tenants. Landlords saw that as an unwelcome new regulatory burden, and the representatives of tenants saw it as being likely unintentionally to exclude people with every right to be in this country but who might be suspected of being illegal immigrants.

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The noble Lord, Lord Taylor of Holbeach, was then the responsible Minister in this House and, thankfully, he won the approval of his Home Office colleagues to make a number of improvements to that legislation as it went through Parliament. It was agreed that, in effect, student lettings should be excluded from the rigours of the legislation and that a localised pilot scheme would be organised from which lessons could be learned before the right to rent was rolled out nationally.

Subsequently I agreed to chair, jointly with the Minister for Immigration, James Brokenshire, a consultative panel comprising representatives from the local authorities in the pilot area of the West Midlands, representatives from other government departments and representatives of landlords, tenants and agents. This role has enabled me to observe the Home Office both putting considerable energy into its efforts to communicate the new duties for landlords and agents through conferences, newspaper articles, social media and so on, and approaching the enforcement of the new measures carefully and methodically.

This Bill now toughens up the sanctions against landlords who fail to check the immigration status of tenants subsequently found to be in the country illegally. Instead of a civil penalty with fines after the second offence of up to £3,000, as in the 2014 Act, this Bill would mean that the landlord or their agent could be charged with a criminal offence, with the possibility of an unlimited fine and/or up to five years in prison.

In response to the concerns of the landlord bodies on the consultative panel, the Government have introduced in this Bill new powers for landlords which make it easier to evict a tenant found to be an illegal migrant without necessarily needing to go through the courts and with a new grounds for possession where the courts are involved. In some instances, the Bill provides for landlords to engage the services of High Court enforcement officers. I recognise that these provisions can themselves create concerns but I have also noted the following points from the consultation panel discussions.

First, the legislation does not affect any existing lettings. It relates only to future lettings, where landlords, or their agents, must now check the status of the applicant before granting the tenancy. Secondly, if the landlord is in any doubt about the legal status of a potential tenant, the new Home Office checking service, with its telephone hotline, is properly geared up to give a yes or no answer within 48 hours. If the landlord does not receive the Home Office’s response within this timescale, they can go ahead with the letting without fear of breaking the law. Thirdly, the experience of the arrangements in the West Midlands has not demonstrated special problems for either landlords or tenants, and it has fostered new and better working relationships between councils and the Home Office. Fourthly, unsurprisingly, in an earlier YouGov poll conducted for Shelter, private landlords said that they would be less likely to let to people who did not hold British passports or appeared to be immigrants. However, the pilot has led to simplifications in the requirements on landlords, spelled out in a code of practice which sets out all the documents—of which a passport need not be one—that will satisfy the right to rent criteria.

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Finally, I have noted potential gains on the housing front from these new measures. They involve the Home Office devoting extra resources to target areas in which rogue landlords who prey on the vulnerability of illegal migrants are known to be at large. Local authorities very often lack the resources needed to pursue bad landlords who let abysmal slums at high rents, with accompanying overcrowding and sheer exploitation. Moreover, the penalties currently imposed on landlords who offend have proved trivial set against the income that the landlords have been extracting. Joint working between councils and the Home Office can greatly enhance the potency of any drive to enforce proper standards at the bottom end of the private rented sector, and the serious fines and threat of imprisonment for serial offenders contained in the Bill should make the worst of these rogue landlords wake up and take notice.

Therefore, while I recognise entirely that neither landlords nor tenants are likely to be positive about any new requirements on them, I do not believe that this legislation will create major problems for decent landlords or legitimate tenants. Nevertheless, the Residential Landlords Association still has fears that innocent landlords could be caught up in potentially heavy-handed action by Home Office officials. The Immigration Minister has made it clear to the consultative panel that there is no likelihood of prosecutions being pursued against landlords who, through no fault of their own, find themselves breaking the law, and only in extreme circumstances—where the landlord repeats the offences knowingly and persistently—would a criminal prosecution be pursued. To put the position beyond doubt, I ask the Minister to repeat this reassurance on the record today as explicitly as possible and to keep a watchful eye on whether the “right to rent” leads to problems for entirely legitimate tenants. I ask the Minister to commit today to a future evaluation of this measure, building on the Home Office’s helpful research for the pilot stage.

2.50 pm

Lord Ahmed (Non-Afl): My Lords, I am in agreement with the Government’s overall aim to reduce immigration. However, like many noble Lords, I am concerned about the strategy for tackling this issue, as stated throughout the Bill. The Government’s stated aim, as mentioned in their impact statement, is to create a hostile environment for individuals living in this country without any leave. There are certain provisions of the Bill that will certainly have unintended consequences for immigrant communities that are settled permanently in the UK. There are historically established ethnic-minority communities in England, which mainly derive from the Indian subcontinent. Many of these communities are already into their fourth generation of native-born children and grandchildren. I do not believe that enough has been done to consider the consequential impact of the measures set out in this Bill. They will create a culture of fear and further alienate communities. There is already growing discontent, especially in the British Pakistani community. Many of them believe that they are being targeted systematically by the police, immigration services and the Government, and that the latest Immigration Bill is designed merely to harass them,

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create a racial profiling culture and give wider powers to the immigration and police services so that they may stop and search whoever they wish, which may also lead to entering private premises, just because they have the power to do so. I have seen this happen in Rotherham, in east London and on PIA flights from Islamabad.

I foresee that, if the Bill is implemented, there will be many cases lodged against the Government for unlawful detention, racism, discrimination, arbitrary detention and much more. Sadly, we are very much reverting to the Enoch Powell days. British-born children of immigrant families strongly believe that this is merely another tool designed by the Government to harass them and will be used in such a manner. A thorough qualitative impact research methodology should be created to see how these provisions will impact minority communities, including Sikh, Hindu and others. There is also growing unrest and frustration that the Government currently use surveillance methods that target Muslim communities in Britain. Those methods, along with the powers given to immigration officers, are simply tools to alienate minority communities and feed into racial profiling.

I am aware that the Immigration Bill contains both positive and negative aspects. However, the negative aspects seem to outweigh the positive. The Bill appears to contain measures that will unfortunately encourage discrimination against minorities, whether they are British citizens or migrants. It will encourage the exploitation of migrant workers by removing all safeguards and protections from them, and will help create an underclass of people removed from the protection of the law. The danger is that this underclass will be targeted by criminal entities for exploitation and the worst kind of unimaginable horrors. Paul Blomfield, MP for Sheffield Central, argues that the purported aim of the Bill directly contradicts those of the Modern Slavery Act and that victims of slavery will be made to pay for the abuses that they have suffered.

Planned changes to employment and access to services could exclude individuals and alienate communities. Unfair discrimination against minorities is a certain consequence of the Immigration Bill. As has been said already, the Bill requires landlords to carry out checks on potential tenants, including asking to see their passport or visa to discover their immigration status. As has also been mentioned, there will be fines and jail sentences for those who refuse. Although landlords will not be expected to carry out thorough investigations for each of their tenants, it none the less puts more pressure on them. One little mistake could lead to either a negative effect on the landlord’s reputation or the possible deportation of an innocent legal migrant. In any case, who has the ability to make the right judgment in this situation?

Alongside this, Britain would adopt an image of a more hostile and unwelcoming country. The right honourable Andy Burnham warned that the new laws could lead to widespread discrimination resembling the racist and xenophobic signs confronting minorities in the 1950s, when people refused to take Irish or black families as tenants. Here I declare an interest as a landlord.

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The Bill would also make it an offence for businesses and recruiters to hire from overseas without advertising job opportunities first in the UK. Although this is positive for jobseekers living in the UK, it is not so positive for businesses and recruiters, as they may have a harder time doing their job with a smaller recruitment field and therefore fewer opportunities. In other words, employers would have to wait a little longer to recruit those with the right abilities, which will also prevent those who are perceived to be foreign having an equal chance of employment. Due to employers being incentivised to choose the “safe” option as a result of the Bill, discrimination is likely to occur. Ethnic-minority names have been mentioned, and it is obvious that employers will decide not to go for people with those names. Although this certainly is not the intention of this Bill, it seems that a blind eye has been turned to the unfortunate effects such legislation may have.

Furthermore, the Bill looks to extend the current Home Office “deport now, appeal later” powers to be able to more efficiently expel those whose asylum claim on the grounds of human rights fails. Although that is an efficient way of removing those who are known to illegally reside here, it is a nightmare for those who are wrongly accused and then deported, who then have to wait such a long time to come back. Lawyers will tell you just how long these procedures can take. Can the Minister in his winding-up speech say whether the Home Office will be prepared for the potential compensation claims? Have Her Majesty’s Government measured what impact this will have? How will they deal with stateless persons?

Lastly, the strip-and-search provisions proposed in the Bill, including for immigrant children, are degrading, humiliating and unacceptable. With this in mind, it is the taxpayer who will be paying the Home Office staff to do their job. But the Government are also expecting people in high street shops and small businesses to become their unpaid police officers—the same people who may also be subject to punishment.

It is great that Her Majesty’s Government are committed to taking 20,000 refugees from Syria over the next four years. But compare this with, for example, the UNHCR report of 2014, which states that 86% of the world’s refugees are hosted by developing countries. Turkey now hosts the highest number of refugees with 1.6 million, followed by Pakistan with 1.5 million.

Clearly, illegal immigration numbers need to come down. However, a large part of the Bill solely targets minority communities. There are long-established historic and Commonwealth links between some of these minority communities within the UK. These communities and their countries of origin have contributed tremendously to the UK, but they are now unfairly being punished. The international reputation of the Government will definitely take a beating. Harassing and targeting these communities will only damage the British in a costly way, including in foreign relations and trade and industry, not to mention the considerable support offered by countries such as Pakistan in the war on terror. With all that said, I hope that we can come to an agreed conclusion on how we should amend and improve the Bill before it becomes law.

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2.59 pm

Lord Balfe (Con): My Lords, perhaps I should begin by declaring an interest as the son of an immigrant—admittedly one who came here during the Second World War and, as such, was quite welcome because he immediately joined the right side, as they say. The Bill is the result of a manifesto commitment; there is no doubt about that. There is no surprise. The Government won an election with the main provisions of the Bill clearly in the manifesto. It is been an interesting debate, but the contents of the Bill are not extraordinarily right wing compared with the public opinion that is to be found in many areas of this country.

I have listened with great interest to the debate. Having heard the speeches from the Liberal Benches, I now understand why there are only eight Liberal Democrat Members in the House of Commons because they are totally out of touch with the feelings in the country. My good friend the noble Lord, Lord Ahmed, somewhat overegged the pudding. Lots of representations will come forward on the Bill. Our job is to make it workable, but we cannot gainsay the thrust of the Bill. Indeed, had there been a different result in the election in the summer, the Labour Party would also have been looking at bringing forward some legislation because some points covered in the Bill need covering. Indeed, the Labour Party has agreed with a number of the points in the Bill.

I saw on the lunchtime news that the number of illegal immigrants coming into the European Union has now exceeded 1 million this year. Of course, very few of them come to Britain. Many of them have gone to Germany and a good proportion to Sweden, but that could well not be the end of the story. As some noble Lords know, I hold a different view on Syria from many of them. If Assad is toppled and his defence of the minority communities ends, we will see a refugee tide that we will feel obliged to help. We will see a very large refugee tide sweeping into Europe. I have said this before, but we should be careful what we wish for there.

I also briefly mention the economic consequences of migration. I was recently in Frankfurt talking to an economist at the ECB. He made an interesting point that the cost of migration in Germany this year will be about 0.5% of GDP. Germany estimates that in five years’ time, the cost will be zero and in 10 years’ time the migrant community will contribute positively to German GDP. We must get away from the image that all migrants are necessarily bad. Indeed, my noble friend Lord Horam mentioned the conflict between the migrants who work in our hospitals, who are welcomed into our country, and others who somehow are not seen as being quite as good or quite as welcome.

Lord Hamilton of Epsom: Does my noble friend’s German economist welcome the idea of the million refugees coming into Germany in one year?

Lord Balfe: The discussion was largely technical, but the interesting point that he did make was that the German Finance Minister, Minister Schäuble, has

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been remarkably quiet on this issue, even though he comes from the CSU, which is well-known to be to the right of the German political scene.

There is a huge difference in the way that Europe is now organised. Once the Berlin Wall came down and the European Union expanded, it was quite clear that the pull of the English language would make a huge difference to the structure of Europe. That is what has happened. Anyone who speaks a few words of a foreign language is likely to be speaking English.

We have three groups of migrants in this country: the completely legal ones who move around Europe, the welcome ones who come to man the hospitals and so on, and a fairly small group who come in illegally. Clearly, the illegal migrants cannot be given a free ride, but it is important to keep them in perspective. We must also recognise that most of them come here to work: they do not come here to live on benefits. That is not surprising when you look at the level of benefits that they get.

Having made a few general points, I have a couple of questions for the Minister about the excellent briefing that he sent on the Immigration Bill, particularly on the labour market enforcement section. I welcome the creation of a Director of Labour Market Enforcement, but I see in the background that the Minister says:

“There are three main public bodies responsible for enforcing these requirements: a team in HMRC which enforces the National Minimum Wage; the Gangmasters … and the Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate (‘the enforcement bodies’)”.

He goes on to say that,

“this Bill will create a new Director of Labour Market Enforcement … Their primary functions will include: setting the strategic direction and budgets of the enforcement bodies”.

Am I to understand that the budget and the direction of HMRC with relation to the national minimum wage will come under this group? If so, what will be the reference and the connection to the Low Pay Commission and its work? I see that the director will also look at bodies that employ illegal migrants. I suspect that many such bodies also employ legal migrants. Where will the mix end? At what point will the Director of Labour Market Enforcement be told, “This is off-limits: there is only one there”, or will they have powers to enforce. In particular, will they have powers to enter premises in the same way, for instance, as a tax inspector can?

Moving on, I am not trying to be awkward, although I probably am. The 48-hour close-down seems remarkably short. A business closed down on Friday could open again on Monday morning. What is the thinking behind that?

Finally, the Bill in its enforcement relies on immigration officers and many other public servants. They feel a little persecuted by the Government so I hope the Minister will take the opportunity to say how much he values the work of public service officers and indicate that he will consult and work with the TUC, which has a very good record of trying to help migrants through programmes such as Unionlearn and the like. Many migrants who come to this country stay in this country and they need help in integrating. I believe that they, like many others, will make a great and positive contribution to the wealth and well-being of this country.

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3.08 pm

Lord Roberts of Llandudno (LD): My Lords, it has been a heart-warming month in a way. We saw refugees from Syria being welcomed to the Isle of Bute, and I am proud of some Canadian connections when we hear that Justin Trudeau promised that Canada, under its new Liberal Government, will welcome 25,000 refugees by the end of February. Last week when the first plane arrived in Toronto, the call went out: “Please do not go to the airport: too many people are already there welcoming the refugees”. I only wish that our country had a similar feel.

I know that there are some people who will oppose this. Indeed, some even opposed Welsh people coming to London and opening dairies 100 years ago. However, most people are compassionate and kind, yet this Bill flies against all that compassion and kindness. So much has been said already that I must make my speech shorter than it was. One of the provisions of the Bill is the “deport now, appeal later” system. What will happen then? What percentage of those who appeal now have their appeals accepted? Is it 30% or 50%? Some say that it is 70%. That will not be possible with this measure. It will overturn the judicial appeals process of our country: “Go abroad and we will forget all about you”.

This could have been such a good Bill. It could have provided the right to work after six months instead of after 12 months. It could have provided an end to the deportation of 18 year-olds who may have come here as unaccompanied children. We have heard stories of how they have been nurtured, but then all of a sudden, they must go. Some 225 such deportations have taken place in the past year, and in more than half of them there was violence in the deportation process because the person being deported was totally panic-stricken. I have heard some stories about Afghan lads. One even constructed a noose over his bed in case the UKBA came for him when he reached 18 years of age. Others have pushed wardrobes up against their doors. We are not treating these people like human beings, but they are just like you and just like me.

There is so much that the Government have proposed in the past, such as the Detained Fast Track procedure, which was struck down by the High Court this year and then again by the Court of Appeal. The Immigration Bill is being used as a tool which the Government can use to bypass judicial oversight. We have already heard how the United Kingdom is to recommend its European neighbours not to have a time limit on the detention of immigrants. In France the maximum period is 32 days, while in Belgium it is two months. In the UK our unlimited detention laws mean that in 2013 some 400 immigrants were detained for more than six months. It is a medieval system, one that a dictator would really rejoice in, but we are not like that. We are humane people with a record for showing compassion.

Some things need to be taken out of this Bill. Studies by Detention Action and the British Red Cross have recorded the impact on mental health and well-being of those being indefinitely detained. The cost of mental health treatment for those struggling with the experience of indefinite detention is astronomical. This Bill represents a timely opportunity to bring our

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laws into this century and in line with our European counterparts. If an amendment is brought forward for a possible maximum period of 28 days, I will be more than happy to support it.

We also have the threat that all payments and benefits will be removed if an asylum appeal fails. It is £36.95 a week, paid to many on the Azure card which greatly limits where and how the money can be spent. It does not cover travel, but it is not included. It would be much better to provide the money in the form of a cash benefit. The effective removal of Section 4 support is brutal. The Government say that it will encourage asylum seekers to return to their home countries—where they face death, starvation, or becoming the victims of extreme terrorism. For that £36, we are saying, “We want you to go”. The whole thing is ludicrous.

Put simply, this Immigration Bill achieves the Home Secretary’s aim of creating a hostile environment for innocent immigrants. It lacks compassion and empathy, which we in our country have been so proud of in the past. We could emulate Canada, so that instead of taking in 20,000 people over five years, we could take 25,000 in two months. We cannot do that, but we could certainly be far more generous. The Bill will increase the number of families in penniless destitution. Moreover—I do not think that enough has been made of this—it is in breach of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Article 3 of the convention states:

“The best interests of the child must be the primary consideration”.

The child will be destitute and penniless not because of anything he has done, but because of family failure. The child is going to be victimised in this way. The Bill also breaches Section 55 of the Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Act 2009, as well as Supreme Court rulings made in 2013.

The sight of refugee families, including children and old people, trudging hundreds of miles in search of some hope which they are being denied in Syria or wherever it might be, should move us. We could provide that hope, but we will have to look very seriously at this Bill to do that.

3.16 pm

Lord Green of Deddington (CB): My Lords, I would like to address the wider context of this Bill. It comes before us at a time when the whole context of immigration is changing very rapidly. We are indeed a compassionate country, I believe, but we expect our Government to control our borders. Immigration has been a major concern for a very long time, as the noble Lords, Lord Horam and Lord Balfe, both pointed out. Indeed, in calling for a significant reduction in net migration, I have been speaking for 70% of the population, including a majority of the ethnic communities. In recent times, that concern has intensified further. Immigration and asylum have for the past six months been the very top issue of public concern. It is not hard to see why. The public are clearly conscious that the European Union has lost control of its southern borders. As a result, a mixture of refugees and others who in reality are economic migrants are arriving in huge numbers which are already overwhelming any orderly system of reception,

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let alone control. The Commission itself is expecting an additional 3 million migrants by the end of 2017.

Here in Britain, a moderate level of immigration is of course a natural part of an open economy and an open society, and for my part I have always supported that. I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Wallace of Saltaire, that major efforts are needed to improve the training of our own workers so that we do not draw in unmanageable levels of migrants. But unfortunately after some fairly strenuous efforts over the past five years, net migration is now running at a third of a million a year. This mass migration will have a huge effect on our population, on our society and on our environment.

Let me take just population. Even if net migration is brought back to the average of the past 10 years, which is roughly a quarter of a million, our population will grow by 2.5 million in the course of this Parliament. That is about two and a half times the population of Birmingham. Can we really cope with that? Let us look a little further ahead. In the next 15 years, the population of the UK would, at that rate of immigration, grow by 8 million. Numbers mean very little to most people, so let me tell noble Lords what 8 million means. It is the populations of Birmingham, Leeds, Glasgow, Sheffield, Bradford, Manchester, Edinburgh, Liverpool, Bristol, Cardiff, Newcastle upon Tyne, Belfast, Aberdeen, Leicester, Coventry, Nottingham, Stoke-on-Trent and Portsmouth all added together. Is that remotely sensible, desirable or even feasible?

Baroness Afshar: How many people will die during that period in these cities?

Lord Green of Deddington: This takes full account of those who will die and those who are born. It brings all three together. Any population projection depends on the birth rate, the death rate and the net migration. Taking all three into account, on 240,000 a year we would get what I have just described. We have to accept that. We have to recognise it and decide whether we will take serious measures to get the numbers down or whether we will build the list of cities that I will not read out again.

There is no doubt that immigration is the main driver of this huge population increase. In the medium term, two-thirds of it will be due to future immigrants and their children, and in long term, of course, all population increase will be due to immigration because our birth rate is below the replacement rate. In these circumstances, the public clearly want immigration brought under control, and rightly so. This will require two elements: reducing admissions where possible; and ensuring departures. Let me take them separately.

The Bill bears mainly on the latter. It is concerned largely with discouraging illegal immigration, whether by those who seek to enter clandestinely or those who have overstayed their visas. As for the clandestines, noble Lords might like to ask themselves why thousands of people—mainly young men—are camped near Paris in pretty dreadful conditions in the hope of getting into Britain. The noble Lord, Lord Alton, spoke eloquently about the conditions in which they find themselves.

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Surely it has to be recognised they are not there because they are desperate, as the press so often says. They are already in a safe country and are perfectly at liberty to claim asylum in France. It is only because they believe the conditions in Britain are so much more favourable that they will take considerable personal risk to get here. Indeed so, because they know that if they do get here they can work on the black market—an activity that is not even illegal in this country, as the Mayor of Calais never fails to point out. They also know that if they are discovered they can claim asylum. Indeed, about half of all asylum claims made in Britain are made on discovery, not on arrival. If they succeed in their claims, as about half of them do—

Baroness Ludford: I apologise for interrupting and thank the noble Lord for giving way. Does he also accept that there are those who maintain, and I think there is force in these suggestions, that some of the reason for coming to the UK has nothing to do with the factors that he has mentioned? It is obviously the English language, which is the number one language learnt around the world. Also, although we are far from perfect in this country on race relations and integration, the atmosphere for integrating people and welcoming diversity is better in this country than in France.

Lord Green of Deddington: Yes, absolutely. There is a lot that we can be proud of in this country, not just our language, culture, the openness of our society and the rule of law. We can be immensely proud of all these things. They are certainly a part of the reason why very large numbers of people want to come here. They also mean that we have to have pretty effective control or else, even as we have now and as have I pointed out, there would be consequences for many people in this country. It is perfectly clear how the public see all this.

The other main category of illegal immigrants are those who arrived legally but overstay their visas. Ministers regularly point out that we must break the link for those who are in reality economic migrants between setting foot in the UK—and indeed in the EU—and remaining indefinitely. Despite that, enforced removals of immigration offenders are running at only about 5,000 a year, so aspects of this Bill are designed to make the removal process more effective, which is certainly necessary. Other aspects are designed to shift the balance so that future migrants will be deterred from overstaying and others already here will decide to go home.

The Committee stage will be the time for detail. What is clear is that major pull factors are addressed, some of which the noble Baroness referred to. The task must be to reduce the overall scale of net migration to a level that the public can tolerate and, better still, support. We have the opportunity in considering this Bill to contribute to that essential objective.

3.25 pm

Baroness Janke (LD): My Lords, I welcome the opportunity to speak in this debate. Coming rather at the end, I feel that quite a few of the points I would

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have mentioned have already been well made. In following the noble Lord, Lord Green, I think that the essential thing for us with this Bill is his point about reducing admissions and ensuring departures.

From the speeches that we have heard today, so far we are unconvinced. If we talk about cutting asylum support, we have already heard how desperate it is for so many people. Certainly, in my city, I know many people are living on food bags. They do not get proper advice. Volunteers give them clothes. They cannot get English language lessons. They do not eat properly. That is on the limited support that they get already. If we withdraw that support, it will make these people very much more miserable. It will impact badly on their children. All the evidence that we have says that in thinking about what is best for their families and their children, parents—even people in such desperate situations—do not choose to return. What happens instead is that they go underground. They become destitute. They live on what means they can. We have already heard in the debate that local authorities will have great difficulty carrying out safeguarding duties. We have already heard about all the missing children and the fears that people have about them being part of trafficking schemes.

We have heard stories from individuals on how they have been forced to enter criminality to support themselves and their families, yet they have still not wished to return to their own countries. They have not wished to do so because they are terrified of what they would go back to. There has been great discussion about economic migrants and refugees, and in my view we are still not clear where the line lies. It is easy to talk in terms of economic migrants and people seeking a better life when that hides the fact that people are fleeing war, desperate circumstances, torture and possibly death. On the criteria that we had from the noble Lord, Lord Green, making people more miserable does not apparently cause them to return to their own country. On the figures that we have been given, it apparently does not deter them from wanting to come here although they are in desperate situations at the moment.

Having spoken to people in my city, the words they use about the Bill are destitution—we have heard about that—and division, when they talk about communities. What they mean by that is that all the work that has been done by community groups for many years in trying to bring communities together, so that they understand cultures, value each other and have mutual self-respect, will be undermined if we have these new offences which encourage communities to turn on themselves and encourage people to report on their neighbours and tell the police about what they believe to be offences, which may not be in the end.

It is even an offence to work in the Bill: we are creating a new offence that people may not work. We on this side believe that asylum seekers should be able to work. There are also things like illegal driving. Again, these are criminalised circumstances which not only undermine the well-being of communities but set individuals and groups against each other.

Another point that people make to me about this Bill is on discrimination. Many noble Lords have already referred to the right to rent scheme, which

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makes it an offence for landlords to rent accommodation to illegal immigrants in this country. All the evidence we have read on the Home Office pilot implies that this will make an acceptable situation of discrimination. Like the noble Lord, Lord Alton, I grew up in Liverpool and can remember the days when we saw signs saying, “No blacks, no Irish, no dogs”. Yet we are now promoting a situation which will encourage discrimination and play to some people’s very worst instincts.

Everybody should have the chance to experience justice. When people are asked what is great about the British, one thing they mention is the sense of fair play and justice. I do not believe there is anything in the Bill which supports that view.

This Bill will need to be discussed at great length and there will be great disagreement about some of its measures. I accept that the whole issue of immigration, and the circumstances it raises, are considerations of key importance to many people in this country—I do not deny that for one moment. However, if we say there are not enough schools, houses or space in this country, we have to substantiate that. Successive Governments in this country have failed to build affordable houses, so we cannot lay that at the door of migrants. We have cutbacks in local services which mean that local authorities have been unable to expand school places. Again, we cannot lay that at the door of migrants. If the whole issue of space, facilities and accommodation was looked at in a rational way and with a will to provide and expand proper facilities for people, these arguments would not stand up.

Lord Green of Deddington: I am grateful to the noble Baroness for giving way. Nobody is blaming migrants for the scale of building that is necessary. What has happened is that successive Governments have completely failed to focus on the scale of immigration and the impact that would have on population and housing. That is what has to change and that is why I focus so much on population.

Baroness Janke: As a former councillor having faced some of these difficulties, I point out that rises in population are due not just to migration and that local authorities have been unable to respond to them because of the systematic centralisation of government and the cutbacks that have been inflicted on local authorities. If we were to embrace the issue of providing more facilities and better infrastructure and try to answer the needs of our country, some of these arguments would simply not apply. I hope to play a part in considering this Bill as it goes through Committee and thank noble Lords for their attention.

3.33 pm

The Earl of Listowel (CB): My Lords, I declare my interest as a landlord, as set out in the register of interests. I follow the noble Baroness, Lady Janke, in deeply regretting the failure of successive Governments to invest in housing, which has had so many adverse outcomes. However, I am grateful to this Government for making a commitment to build many more houses.

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I thank the Minister for introducing the Bill, for his correspondence, and for listening to the concerns of colleagues and putting back the first Committee day in January. That is helpful.

The noble Lord, Lord Horam, and others have said that the Department for International Development is funded to the tune of 0.7% of gross national income. That measure was put into statute by the last Government and is very welcome, particularly in the context of the situation that my noble friend described. With so much global migration, we need to tackle the problem partly at source.

I am grateful to the 30 British soldiers who have recently returned to Helmand in Afghanistan to help maintain stability there and to stem the flow of migration. The International Organization for Migration announced today that on Monday, we passed the 1 million figure of people entering Europe over the last year. That is a fourfold increase on the previous year, so there is a huge challenge for us in many different ways, but particularly for our humanity. The Minister may have referred to this, but there, but for the grace of God, go us. I often speak to my mother about her experience of the war. She had a factory at the end of our garden in Croydon, which was bombed. My father was on the list that Hitler ran up of people he would knock off when he arrived in this country. We had the experience of being bombed in this country not so long ago and have experienced the threat of invasion. It is helpful to keep that in mind.

The noble Lord, Lord Horam, and others also referred to concern about young unskilled workers in this country and the lack of incentive in the past for business to train them because it was so easy just to take migrants from the continent. I welcome what the Bill does to increase incentives for business to train young people in this country. The noble Lord, Lord Dubs, referred to centres established in the past to enable the dissemination of immigrants across the country. Many years ago, I lived and worked in Bermondsey in east London and used to reflect that the poorest, least educated, most poorly housed groups of people tended to become the neighbours of immigrants. They do not go to Hampstead, so it is important to think how we can make it as easy as possible for those people to accommodate incomers. The noble Lord, Lord Dubs, also said that, rather than making families destitute, we should engage with them and build a relationship of trust, as that is the most effective way of helping them to move on. I recall looking at research in the past, and will do so again during the passage of this legislation. I much prefer what the noble Lord proposes to what is proposed in the Bill.

I should like to concentrate my comments on care leavers. I have been the vice-chair of the all-party parliamentary group for young people in care and care leavers for the last 10 years. I have worked with young migrants in hostels. Last year, I met six young care leavers, two or three of whom were from Afghanistan, and heard about the issues they had faced. I would like to talk about support for care leavers. The Government’s changes to the Immigration Bill aim to limit support to care leavers subject to immigration control. These provisions effectively override children and leaving

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care legislation and policy to prioritise immigration control over young people’s welfare considerations. It creates a two-tier system of support for care leavers based on their immigration status. The corporate parent duties of local authorities would be severely limited despite the ongoing needs of these young people. This is effectively a reversal of the Court of Appeal’s judgment in SO v Barking and Dagenham, which held that local authorities could not look to the availability of asylum support to determine whether a continued leaving care duty applies.

This provision will affect care leavers who came here as unaccompanied children and have not been granted refugee status or humanitarian protection but have been granted temporary leave on the basis of there being no adequate reception facilities in their country of origin. This leave is normally granted for 30 months or until the child turns 17 and a half years old, so it will include children who have been trafficked into the country for the purpose of exploitation and those who arrived as young children but are estranged from their families and have lived in the UK for most of their lives but were never helped to regularise their status. Upon turning 18 years old, these young people are likely to be left without status and most at risk of being caught by these provisions, despite continuing to need the additional support provided through leaving care provisions in recognition of their continuing vulnerabilities. I encourage noble Lords to imagine that the circumstances of our children were very different and they had to be sent off to another country, as some children were sent to America in the past, and how concerned we would be about their future. When I spoke to those young men last year—this is backed up by the research—I became aware that most of them would disappear. They will not return to their own countries and will disappear into the black economy. I think that one became a taxi driver and another spent a lot of time in a mental institution.

I ask your Lordships to keep this in mind. If the Bill is passed, these care leavers would no longer be able to stay in their foster placements, counteracting the staying put provision, recently introduced by the Government, whereby care leavers can stay in placements until the age of 21. They would no longer have access to a personal adviser; therapeutic support; a pathway plan; maintaining contact; support with legal aid, training and education; or any of the other services that care leavers are entitled to in light of the fact that they have no family responsible for them.

Young migrants in care often face additional difficulties that British children do not. They are particularly likely to have faced trauma, may experience language and cultural barriers, and are less likely to have contact with biological family members. Care leavers often need their personal adviser or advocate to help identify, and even instruct, their immigration lawyer and a local authority to pay for their representation or evidence, including subject access requests and doctors’ letters. The Government argue that these young people are simply adult migrants, will not remain in the UK in the long run and should not, therefore, receive additional help as care leavers. Not only is this not the case for many of the young people affected by the Bill, but that argument ignores long-established law and policy, which

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makes it clear that those who have been in care need additional support on turning 18, in light of their vulnerabilities.

Care-leaving services are already limited to eligible and relevant children. By that, I mean children aged 16 and 17 who have been looked after for at least 13 weeks since the age of 14. Central and local government have a unique relationship with children in care and care leavers, as they are their corporate parents. As such, care leavers should expect the same level of care and support that other young people get from their parents. Will the Minister outline what would happen if a care leaver whose appeal rights were exhausted needed additional support, for example to remain in a foster placement because of concerns they may self-harm? Would the local authority have the power to support this vulnerable young person in those circumstances? I look forward to the Minister’s response. He may prefer to write to me.

3.42 pm

Lord Sherbourne of Didsbury (Con): My Lords, it is a pleasure to follow the noble Earl, who always brings a valuable perspective to these proceedings. I begin by stating something which is, perhaps, obvious but is worth saying to set the context for another Immigration Bill. For centuries, there have been waves of immigration into our country, going back to the Angles and Saxons, the Normans, Huguenots and Jews. Later, there were migrants from Africa, the Caribbean and the Indian subcontinent. These people have, in their different ways, helped shape our islands and enriched our country. Until the middle of the last century, the scale of migration to the UK was relatively modest. My noble friend Lord Hamilton and other noble Lords have explained how too great an influx of people into one locality, in too short a time, can create tensions. Health services, schools, housing: all can become overstretched. The danger then is anti-immigrant prejudice, bigotry and xenophobia. We have seen eruptions of that all too close to home in some European countries.

When people from overseas are here illegally, this creates real problems. The Government are right to want to deal with the problem of unscrupulous employers who exploit illegal immigrants, who often end up having to work for very low wages in dangerous and degrading conditions. I therefore welcome the establishment of a new statutory director of labour market enforcement, although I am not mad about the rather clumsy title. I am pleased to see that the Secretary of State will have to provide the new director with the resources needed to do the job. This is in marked contrast to the small business commissioner, now being set up by the Enterprise Bill, who will have to ask the Secretary of State for approval for the numbers they want to employ. Under this Bill, the new director of labour market enforcement will not be subject to those constraints, and rightly so, because—I echo the thoughts of my noble friend Lord Horam—the director will have a big job on their hands. They will need to collect information and intelligence, which will not be easy. The Bill talks quite a lot about a labour market enforcement strategy, but for this to be effective you need the relevant information about what is happening

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in some of the darkest corners of the economy. Without that, you cannot clamp down on the offences. Will the Minister, either today or in Committee, give noble Lords some detail about how it is expected that the director will actually do his or her job?

I also welcome the provisions in the Bill about the need for those working in, for example, the NHS, state schools or the police, to have minimum standards of English. This is obviously important for practical reasons but it is also vital for integration into British society. To achieve this, the Bill proposes a code of practice and sets out what the code must include. However, it is not clear how this will work in practice. I suspect we will not know for some time how effective it is.

More generally, the Bill is seeking to tighten up existing measures to deal with illegal immigration. Inevitably, therefore, it is very detailed and imposes new, and sometimes onerous, obligations on employers and landlords. These will need to be scrutinised very carefully in Committee. The questions we will want to ask on all these very detailed measures are whether they are practical and capable of being implemented, and whether they will be effective and achieve their objectives. We will also want to know—and to be reassured about—whether the resources necessary for all this work will be available.

I have one last point. Everybody, illegal immigrants or otherwise, must always be treated with dignity. Yes, we should enforce the law rigorously but it must be done in a proper and humane way. Does the Minister believe that any further training of immigration officers or others will be necessary?

3.47 pm

Lord Paddick (LD): My Lords, before I get on to the Bill I start by paying tribute to the Minister, for whom I have the utmost respect. I genuinely wish him a merry Christmas and a happy new year—but this Bill really is appalling. To contrast the nature of the Bill with the character of the Minister, if I may use a corrupted 1970s cliché, “What’s a nice bloke like the Minister doing with a Bill like this?”.

Let me say clearly and unequivocally at the outset that Liberal Democrats support proper immigration control. The big question is: is the Bill the way to do it? In his opening remarks, the Minister talked about the Bill having the interests of the country as a whole at heart, but what interests are they? The right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Southwark talked about the fact that there has been no White Paper since 2002, so what is the strategy? The Minister said that employment had never been higher in the UK and referred to a significant reduction in youth unemployment. At the weekend, the Irish Europe Minister gave some very interesting statistics. Apparently, 8% of workers in the UK are from overseas, which is the average for the European Union as a whole, but in Ireland it is 11%. So what problem is the Bill trying to address?

As the noble Lord, Lord Rosser, asked, what in hard numbers is expected to be achieved by the Bill? As my noble friend Lord Teverson said, the Government do not appear to have done the market research or the numbers. The noble Lord, Lord Ramsbotham, asked why we do not make what we have already work before

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we introduce yet more complex legislation. My noble friend Lady Hamwee said that there was little positive in the Bill; I am probably more of the same school as the noble Baroness, Lady Kennedy of The Shaws, who described it as a shocking Bill.

My real concern is about unintended consequences. My noble friend Lady Sheehan quoted the president of the National Black Police Association regarding the negative impact of the Bill on what is already a hostile environment in this country towards black and minority ethnic people in general, and migrants in particular, as evidenced by recent hate crime figures. The Bill will do nothing to alleviate this with its increased stop, search and seizure powers. The effect on existing discrimination against BME renters and job applicants is that it is likely to be made worse. This takes me back to my days as a police constable over 30 years ago, when a common reason for detaining somebody who was black was because they were a suspected overstayer. The police decided to move away from immigration enforcement on the grounds of improving community relations. As the Race Equality Foundation briefing says, there is the potential in the Bill to set us back 30 years in race relations, although I would not go as far as the noble Lord, Lord Ahmed, on that point.

To get down to specific issues, starving asylum seekers who have reached the end of the road with their asylum applications is not something that this country should be doing. The noble Lords, Lord Hylton and Lord Alton of Liverpool, made strong points on this. It is misconceived and it has been tried before. There was a trial of Section 9 of the asylum and immigration Act of 2004, which removed all support from those who had run out of road, and 39% of those families disappeared compared with 21% of those who continued to get support. During the pilot, only one family from which support had been removed was successfully removed, while nine in the control group were successfully removed. It is not just inhumane; it just does not work, and the evidence is there to show that. In any event, as the noble and right reverend Lord, Lord Harries of Pentregarth, has pointed out, if the Government want to start these people into submission, the British people will not allow the Government to do it. As he said, the Red Cross has helped 10,000 asylum seekers in the past 12 months.

As far as the right to rent is concerned, the Liberal Democrats reluctantly agreed in the coalition to conduct a pilot scheme on it, in the belief that the evaluation of that pilot would show that it was not worth pursuing. The Government have made much of the fact that there has been a pilot, but the actual number of black renters who were interviewed is in the 30s, so fewer than 40 people were questioned about whether they felt discriminated against as a consequence. The majority of those in the evaluation were white, which is not where we expect the problem to come from with this right to rent provision. The issue is discrimination against black and minority ethnic people, as a number of noble Lords have already said.

As my noble friend Lady Hamwee said, there are serious issues that are not being addressed in the Bill. We have heard today about the crisis of those fleeing

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conflicts in the continent of Africa, Afghanistan and elsewhere who are currently in Europe—1 million in the last 12 months. As my noble friend said, the establishment of safe routes for those people seeking refuge is not addressed. Family reunion is not addressed. Even Syrian and Afghan families who are already settled in the UK are not being allowed to take in family members who are currently stranded in Europe.

There is nothing in the Bill about the unlimited administrative detention of migrants, at the cost of £40,000 per detainee per year. Although I note the comments of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Brown of Eaton-under-Heywood, surely there must at least be judicial involvement in these cases after 28 days—convicted foreign criminals are of course a separate issue. The right of asylum seekers to work where there is no decision after six months will clearly reduce the burden on the public purse, and surely we are more likely to be able to keep tabs on these people if they have social ties than if they do not. Other noble Lords covered many issues with which I agree.

Like my noble friend Lady Hamwee, I am very grateful for the government briefing on the Bill, although it throws up a number of questions which highlight the fact that the Bill is ill conceived and clearly has not been thought through. I will give a few examples. The Secretary of State has the power to order asylum seekers to move from one local authority to another. Can the Minister assure the House about the safeguards that will be in place to ensure that transfers do not take place for some party-political reason? The current Government will not do that, of course, but who is to say that future Governments might not try to transfer people from one part of the country to another for party-political purposes?

This Conservative Government is apparently very concerned about national sovereignty in the face of decisions made by the EU, but, under the Bill, Council of Europe travel bans are to take effect in the UK automatically, without the need for secondary legislation. Does the Minister not see the contradiction?

As far as skills shortages in this country are concerned, as my noble friend Lord Wallace of Saltaire highlighted, the Bill will introduce a new immigration skills charge, which will apply to employers sponsoring non-EEA nationals who come to the UK under tier 2 of the points-based system. Which employers will this apply to and what amount will be set following consultation? Will we know these details before the end of our deliberations in this House, or does the Minister want the House to write the Government a blank cheque?

As my noble friend Lord Wallace of Saltaire also pointed out, the Bill changes the Government’s fee-raising powers in respect of civil registration, including that of births, marriages, deaths and passports. The reasons given in the government briefing include to allow such services to be “self-sufficient”, which is fair enough, and to have passport fees that,

“better reflect the costs incurred”,

for example the costs of processing “complex applications”. That is also fair enough. But then it says,

“to allow some passport fees to be set at above cost”.

Can the Minister tell the House which type of passport applications they intend to make a profit out of?

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On the no-courts eviction process, the government briefing says that a tenant can challenge the Home Office decision to give notice administratively by contacting the Home Office or by applying to the High Court for judicial review. Does the Minister honestly believe that these are sufficient safeguards against families with children being thrown out onto the street?

It has been suggested that we on these Benches are out of touch with public opinion. We as Liberal Democrats do not subscribe to the Donald Trump school of populist politics. We will stand up for what we believe is right.

4 pm

Lord Kennedy of Southwark (Lab): My Lords, I want an immigration system that is fair and just to British citizens and those who want to come here, play by the rules and make a contribution to our society. That is why, in my opinion, in many parts the Bill is unhelpful, unjust, unfair and risks many unintended consequences that make life even more difficult for very vulnerable people. My noble friend Lord Rosser made clear at the start of his speech our concern at many aspects of the Bill.

There are, of course, parts of the Bill we welcome, as well as parts we have serious concerns about, but before focusing on its provisions, it is worth putting on record how much this country has benefited from immigration. Look at one institution, our NHS, which would be in considerable difficulty if it were not for the immigrants who have come to this country to provide the services that we rely on. We heard about that in the contribution from the noble Lord, Lord Wallace of Saltaire.

How many of your Lordships are immigrants yourselves, or the children or grandchildren of immigrants? Quite a large number, I expect. I am the eldest son of immigrants. My parents came here from Ireland in the 1950s to find work. They played by the rules and worked hard for their whole working lives. The noble Lord, Lord Alton of Liverpool, made similar points when he talked about his late mother coming from the west of Ireland. I can tell him that the signs saying, “No Blacks, no Irish”, were in London as well. In 2014, the Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration, when looking at the fiscal effects of immigration on the UK, estimated that migrants contributed about £25 billion to the economy between 2001 and 2011.

Part 1 of the Bill is about tackling illegal working and preventing the exploitation of workers. We support the creation of a director of labour market enforcement, which builds on the work of the previous Labour Government through initiatives such as the Gangmasters Licensing Authority. The illegal labour market can have a very detrimental effect on the pay and conditions of legally employed workers, and a very damaging one on reputable businesses that are playing by the rules. However, for this measure to be effective, considerably greater action will need to be taken on enforcement, because if powers are not used they will have little or no effect.

I say to the noble Lord, Lord Horam, that it is a matter of great concern how few prosecutions there have been on the Government’s watch of employers

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who pay workers below the minimum wage. The proper enforcement of workers’ rights is what is needed, and if the new arrangement and powers will take the matter forward and ensure effective enforcement, that is good news. People working for tips or being paid below the minimum wage is to our mind not acceptable in modern Britain. When he responds the debate, it would be helpful if the noble Lord, Lord Bates, said more about protecting and supporting legally employed workers and businesses that play by the rules. My noble friend Lord Rosser made clear our concern about criminalising illegal workers, as did many other noble Lords today.

Part 2 concerns access to services. We will want to probe further during Committee the measures dealing with driving licences and access to bank accounts. There is, however, much greater concern about the right to rent scheme and the extension of sanctions to be imposed on landlords. Asking landlords to carry out reasonable checks of identity documents, as they already do, is perfectly acceptable, but it must be understood that landlords are not immigration officers. How do they go about spotting if a document is forged? How do they read and understand a document in another language? What support will the Government give landlords to get this right? The punishment of up to and including five years’ imprisonment for committing such offences is certainly very tough.

There is also concern that by not striking the right balance, the Government run the risk of landlords just deciding to play it safe and renting only to people with British passports, thereby creating a whole new area of discrimination and injustice, whereby people with foreign names, foreign paperwork or foreign passports are routinely refused accommodation. I fully concur with the comments of the noble Baroness, Lady Sheehan, in this respect. I am sure that the Minister will say that that was not his intention. I know the Minister and I am confident that it was not, but I think he and the Government are going to have to clarify this part of the Bill; otherwise, there could be far-reaching and unintended consequences that cannot go unchallenged in your Lordships’ House. This issue was also referred to by the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, and the noble Lord, Lord Paddick.

The Residential Landlords Association has provided a very helpful briefing for this Second Reading debate. It has suggested an amendment making it clear that a landlord would not be committing a criminal offence if, first, they had done everything reasonably possible to verify the status of the tenant and, secondly, they were in the process, within the 28-day window, of evicting a tenant whom they had been notified did not have the right to rent. Will the Minister comment on this proposal when he responds?

Part 3 of the Bill concerns the expansion of the powers of immigration officers. We will probe and explore these powers further during the passage of the Bill, but we support the notion that immigration officers need to have adequate powers to enable them to undertake their duties effectively and to seize evidence that may relate to non-immigration offences. The noble Lord, Lord Paddick, made a very powerful point

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about police stopping suspected overstayers and the damage that can do to race relations. We surely do not want to go back to that.

One of the most troubling sections of the Bill is Part 4, which gives considerable new powers to the Home Office. It includes a major extension of the “deport first, appeal later” provisions for foreign national offenders in all human rights claims. Will the Minister tell the House why we should give any organisation such powers, when 50% of its initial decisions in immigration matters are found to be wrong? The noble and right reverend Lord, Lord Harries of Pentregarth, also referred to this issue. What is the current backlog of immigration cases that the department is struggling to cope with? Surely the solution lies in improving the decision-making process in the first place, so that the original decision is more likely to be correct and the individuals concerned can be present at their own timely appeal. My noble friend Lady Kennedy of the Shaws, who has considerable knowledge and experience of this area of law, set out much more eloquently than I can the difficulties and problems that the “deport first, appeal later” provisions could present.

Part 5 of the Bill makes a number of changes to the way local authorities assess and provide accommodation and subsistence support for destitute families with immigration status. This is one of the most damaging parts of the Bill, and I very much hope that the Government will listen to the wise words of noble Lords and put in place proper provision for families. The Government clearly attempted to make some movement on this during the Commons’ consideration of the Bill, but they have not in any way gone far enough. I agree with what the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, said about how families are treated. The House needs much greater clarity regarding what is proposed. Vulnerable people need proper protection, and the proposals fall far short of that. Almost every week, there are reports in the media of vulnerable people being abused and exploited at the hands of criminals, and firm action needs to be taken. That equally applies to vulnerable people whose immigration status may not be in order; while they are in the United Kingdom, people deserve the protection of the law no matter what their status. I agree with my noble friend Lord Dubs, the noble Lord, Lord Hylton, and others that the Bill will leave families destitute. I join with the noble Lord, Lord Hylton, in urging the Minister to use his considerable skills to persuade his colleagues of the need to change this part of the Bill.

Part 6 of the Bill deals with border security and would introduce a civil penalty regime to be applied to airlines and port operators who allow passengers to disembark without being presented to immigration control officers. It also gives certain immigration officers powers that can be used in UK territorial waters. Again, I say to the Minister that the proper resourcing of our borders could make significant inroads into some of the problems the Bill tries to address, but in a manner that makes life difficult for some very vulnerable people and is not based on any sound evidence or evaluation of the problem and its possible solutions. I do not believe that the Government have proper control of our borders, particularly at ports, and this problem needs to be addressed. This Bill has failed to do that.

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The point made by the noble Lord, Lord Wallace of Saltaire, about the effects of the Government’s policy in the education sector, relates to one of the most worrying parts of the Bill. It exposed the fact that the policies of different government departments are at odds with each other and are failing our country and damaging our reputation abroad.

Part 7 of the Bill sets out a requirement for public sector workers in customer-facing roles to be able to speak fluent English. It would be useful if the Minister set out examples of where this has been a problem. I fully accept that speaking fluent English in a customer-facing role is a sensible requirement. Can the Minister also tell us what protections there will be for people against spurious complaints that are made just because someone does not like their accent or the colour of their skin? I fully endorse the point made by my noble friend Lady Lister, who asked for confirmation that those whose first language is British sign language will not be discriminated against in this respect.

In conclusion, the Bill is not fit for purpose in many respects. While there are some parts of it that we can support, large parts of it are not grounded in evidence and risk making the situation worse, not better. It would have been much better if the Bill had been put through a rigorous pre-legislative scrutiny process, as happened with the Modern Slavery Bill and is presently happening with the Draft Investigatory Powers Bill. The right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Southwark made a similar point when he asked why there had been no White Paper to enable debate and discussion to take place. I fully concur with the comments of the noble Lord, Lord Alton of Liverpool, who contrasted the way this Bill has reached your Lordships’ House with the way the Modern Slavery Bill reached us. In this legislative area of government, knee-jerk reactions should not be allowed to rule.

4.10 pm

Lord Bates: My Lords, I thank all noble Lords who participated in this debate. It has been a passionate debate, enhanced by the level of first-hand experience and knowledge that noble Lords have in dealing with these very difficult issues.

I will start with an issue that came up quite a few times. The noble Lord, Lord Kennedy, and a number of other noble Lords mentioned the process by which we have got here, so I will deal with that before I go on to policy. The right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Southwark also touched on this. The question was asked: on what basis of evidence are we acting here? What is the basis on which we are legislating? Of course, we have the evidence from the Immigration Act 2014, which the coalition Government took through the House. A lot of the proposals in this Immigration Bill are an extension of areas covered in that Act. We have had the opportunity to see how that has worked in practice over the past couple of years.

We have also, in the process of putting this together, outlined in the briefing pack the draft codes of practice. We have issued the Bill’s European Convention on Human Rights and Delegated Powers memoranda, along with policy equality statements. We talked technically about pre-legislative scrutiny, and there

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were two days of evidence-gathering in the other place before Committee formally started. Some 48 representations were made to the Public Bill Committee on the legislation in another place, which were taken into account during Committee, which lasted for five and a half days. There were some 35 Divisions. I am not saying that it is always a contentious issue or that we anticipate that it will be, but there was a level of rigour in the scrutiny in the other place that should give us some confidence as we approach this.

We have also seen, in the time since we started the process, the Court of Appeal’s ruling on out-of-country appeals, and the Government’s evaluation of the right to rent scheme, which was published in October—I thank the noble Lord, Lord Best, for contributing to this. The Ewins report on domestic workers, which I know the noble Lords, Lord Hylton and Lord Alton, will want to discuss further, was published just before Christmas. The report of the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration on illegal working and immigration removals has just been published. The Shaw report on immigration and detention, which I know is of significant concern, will be published in early January—certainly by the time we reach Committee.

There will also be a Migration Advisory Committee report on the operation of tier 2, in addition to the Home Affairs Select Committee report. Extensive consultations have taken place, including the government consultation on tackling exploitation in the labour market, which we have yet to respond to but which is there in the briefing pack. The Government’s response to the consultation on reforming support for failed asylum seekers and other illegal migrants is another basis for our legislation. There is also the government consultation on draft language requirements for the public sector workers’ code of practice. On the specific point about signing, there is no question that signing would not be covered under this but there is a consultation on that. I go to that length to show that process is very important. It was important, too, for the Modern Slavery Act. I want to put on record that there has been a significant amount of evidence gathering to build the case for the actions we propose here.

Turning to the policy, one thing we tend to be in general agreement about is that there is an issue with illegal immigration into the country. Lots of noble Lords prefaced their remarks by recognising that. Indeed, my noble friends Lord Horam, Lord Sherbourne, Lord Hamilton and Lord Balfe, and the noble Lord, Lord Green, all pointed to the fact that this was an issue of significant public concern. Certainly, my noble friends Lord Horam, Lord Balfe and Lord Hamilton also mentioned that this was something central to the Conservative Party manifesto—and the government manifesto, in that we announced our intention to legislate on it the Queen’s Speech. In fact, a number of the areas we are dealing with in this Immigration Bill were also subjects in the Labour and Liberal Democrat manifestos. There is an agreement at a high level that there is a problem.

We have categories of people here. We have people who come here through the right of free movement in the European Union. We have issues with that which are being taken on and discussed with our European

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colleagues at present. We also have the plight of many people suffering around the world. I was very moved by the words of the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, and others who spoke of the plight of those refugees. None of us, at this time in particular when we remember another refugee in a foreign land fleeing persecution, should be immune to acknowledging the tremendous pain and anguish that many people face in these countries. The noble Earl said “there but for the grace of God go I”, and that should challenge us with a sense of humility but also the deep desire to ensure that we treat people with the dignity and humanity that my noble friend Lord Sherbourne invited us to put on the record. People who come to this country in search of help enter our asylum system. All Governments —coalition and Labour—have a proud track record of offering sanctuary to those people fleeing in fear of persecution.

Then there are those people who circumvent the immigration procedures and are found not to be genuine asylum seekers when their claim is tested through the appeals process and tribunal service. The question then is: what do we do? Therein comes a debate. I am very conscious of the hour and the fact that officials have been very busy in providing answers to 64 questions. It may be better if I put some of the substantive answers to those questions in writing to colleagues, ensuring that they have them before the beginning of our first week back on 11 January. All the answers are here. Of course, 11 January is also the date when the Government must table the amendments they intend to bring forward for consideration on 18 January.

I was grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Ramsbotham, for mentioning the timing. We listened very carefully, as we always do, when we attended the Cross-Bench Peers to talk about this issue; there was concern, and we have reacted to that. My noble friend Lord Taylor has responded to that from the Government Whips’ Office and has been able to secure for us additional time, which I think will be appreciated by all, so that people can reflect upon this Second Reading debate as well.

I shall deal with some of the particular points that were raised. The noble Lords, Lord Rosser and Lord Alton, asked about the impact of the Bill. We have published six separate financial impact assessments on various parts of the Bill, as well as a range of equality assessments. The recent report by the Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration commented on the Government’s success in our aim of year-on-year increases in confirmed voluntary departures every year since 2012-13.

On border security, the noble Lord, Lord Wallace of Saltaire, asked a specific question about private helipads. The Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 included stronger legislative provisions and protection for notification in advance of people arriving on private airstrips, and we would certainly expect an equality of scrutiny for all people coming into this country.

The issue of appeals was raised by the noble Lords, Lord Dubs and Lord Roberts, the noble Baronesses, Lady Ludford, Lady Kennedy of The Shaws and Lady Lister, among others. Appealing from outside the UK

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does not mean that appeals are less likely to succeed. Internal Home Office statistics for the past five years to July 2015 show that 38% of entry clearance appeals succeeded. Some 42% of appeals succeeded in 2015 in the comparable in-country category of managed migration appeals. Both these categories of appeal could involve human rights claims.

On the point about family reunion, which was raised by the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, and the noble Lords, Lord Hylton and Lord Dubs, we recognise that families may become fragmented because of the nature of conflict and persecution, and the speed and manner in which those seeking asylum often flee their country of origin. Our policy allows the immediate family members of a person granted refugee leave or humanitarian protection in the UK, their spouse or partner and children under the age of 18 who formed part of the family unit before the sponsor fled the country, to reunite with them. We have granted over 21,000 family reunion visas over the past five years, 2010-14. Numbers are likely to increase over the next five years in line with the number of applications that are received.

With regard to the points raised about landlords by the noble Lord, Lord Rosser, the noble Baronesses, Lady Kennedy, Lady Lister, Lady Sheehan and Lady Janke, I have acknowledged the work done by the noble Lord, Lord Best. The Government gave careful consideration to concerns about potential race discrimination when establishing the right to rent scheme. These concerns are understandable, and the right to rent checks were carefully crafted in consultation with bodies representing landlords, agents, local authorities and housing charities before the scheme was rolled out. A wide range of documents can be provided to give evidence of the right to rent. The Government recognise the need to be flexible so as not to disadvantage, for example, the minority of British citizens who do not hold a passport.

On detention, I have given an undertaking that Stephen Shaw’s review, which I know is eagerly awaited, will be published before we reach the relevant stage in Committee, while our response will be published before the clause on immigration bail is debated. While there is no fixed time limit to immigration detention—in fact, that is a matter that was discussed in previous legislation—there are well-established principles set out in case law, known as the Hardial Singh principles, which state that for detention under immigration powers to be lawful there must be,

“a realistic prospect of removal within a reasonable timescale … Detention must be used sparingly, and for the shortest period necessary”.

An arbitrary time limit would potentially allow criminals and non-compliant individuals to play the system, as it were, which was a point raised by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Brown of Eaton-under-Heywood.

At that point, I shall draw my remarks to a conclusion.

Lord Hamilton of Epsom: I know that everybody wants to get off for Christmas, but I would be very grateful if the Minister would write to me on EU citizens claiming national insurance and how that relates to net immigration figures.

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Lord Bates: I am very happy to do that. A number of noble Lords asked me to write to them on various technical aspects and I will do that. That letter will be sent out on 11 January, a week ahead of Committee stage.

My noble friend has raised one of the elements which is a problem. It is that we do not fully understand the scale of the problem. We deal with estimates. Even when the ONS undertakes forecasts, they are based on estimates. With effect from April, there will be exit checks and therefore we will know who is coming into the country and who is leaving the country and will be able to deduce by fact how many overstayers or illegal migrants there are.

Lord Alton of Liverpool: I realise that we are coming to a conclusion, but I think the Minister would agree that the theme that has run through the debate in your Lordships’ House today has been about destitution, deliberately making people destitute and the way that links into the landmark legislation last year on modern-day slavery and human trafficking. Before he concludes, will the Minister say a word about that? I do not think it should be left to a letter.

Lord Bates: The Bill does not represent a threat of destitution. We are simply making it clear that failed asylum-seeker families and other illegal migrants cannot expect automatically to be in receipt of Home Office and local authority support in circumstances where they could and should leave the UK. We need a better basis of incentives and possible sanctions on which, together with local authorities, to engage with these families in a process that secures more returns. We believe that the Immigration Bill will deliver that. I do not expect that to satisfy the noble Lord because I know he takes a great interest in this area, rightly so, and speaks up for those in need. We are not unmoved by that. As with previous Bills, in Committee we will work together constructively, with the general recognition that there is a problem and that the Government have received a mandate from the electorate to do something about it, to ensure that that mandate is delivered in a way which gets to the people we want to tackle and protects those who are in need of our protection. That is the challenge of the Bill. It has been eloquently set out by contributions to this Second Reading debate and I am sure it will be returned to in the new year as we go through the Bill methodically in Committee.

Bill read a second time and committed to a Committee of the Whole House.

Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 (Temporary Class Drug) (No. 3) Order 2015

Motion to Approve

4.28 pm

Moved by Lord Bates

That the order laid before the House on 25 November be approved.

Relevant document: 12th Report from the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments

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The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Bates) (Con): My Lords, the order came into force on 27 November, two days after it was laid before Parliament.

I put on record our thanks to the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs for its advice, which has informed the order we are considering today. Its numerous risk assessments over the last six years or so on a range of new psychoactive substances, so misleadingly referred to as “legal highs”, has been the cornerstone of our work to date to ban 500 of the most harmful of these substances under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.

Subject to Parliament’s will, the Psychoactive Substances Bill will be enacted in the new year. As I informed the House when we debated the Bill before the Summer Recess, the Misuse of Drugs Act will continue to sit at the apex of the UK’s drug legislation, ensuring we have the most robust controls in place for the most harmful drugs, whether or not they are categorised as new psychoactive substances.

The order relates to methiopropamine, commonly known as MPA—I shall refer to it as MPA for the remainder of this address—as well as its simple derivatives. The effect of the order is to make these drugs subject to temporary control under Section 2A of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, thereby making it an offence to produce, import, export, supply or offer to supply these drugs. As with all previous TCDOs, personal possession will not be criminalised. The controls will last up to 12 months while the ACMD considers whether these drugs should be made subject to a permanent ban. The order is already having the desired effect. We are aware that since it came into force, websites marketing MPA have withdrawn it from sale.

It may assist if I now set out the evidence put forward by the ACMD surrounding MPA. The council reports that MPA has recently emerged as a replacement drug for the methylphenidate-based compounds also currently subject to temporary control. While MPA has been monitored by the ACMD, hard evidence of it being injected has only recently surfaced.

MPA is a stimulant psychoactive substance which is similar in structure to other drugs in that class and has effects such as stimulation, alertness and an increase of energy and focus. Side effects reported include abnormally fast heart rates, anxiety, panic attacks, perspiration, headaches, nausea, difficulty breathing and vomiting. As with all injecting drugs, there is also a potential high risk of bacterial infection and local tissue damage.

The National Programme on Substance Abuse Deaths reported 30 cases where MPA was found in post-mortem toxicology between 2012 and 2015. In 22 of these, MPA was implicated in the cause of death. As such, on 18 November the ACMD recommended that urgent action should be taken due to the proliferation in use and an increasing number of associated deaths and harms related to MPA.

For all these reasons, my honourable friend the Policing, Crime and Criminal Justice and Victims Minister accepted the advisory council’s advice that MPA and its simple derivatives should be subject to the order that has been in force across the UK since 27 November. It enables UK law enforcement to take action against traffickers and suppliers of the new

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temporary class drugs. The order has given enforcement agencies the requisite powers to disrupt the sale of MPA both online and in local head shops. The order has also sent out a clear message to the public, especially to young people, that these drugs and the brand names associated with them carry serious health risks.

We know that the law change cannot on its own deter all those inclined to use or experiment with these drugs. However, we expect the order to continue to have a notable impact on their availability and, in turn, on demand for these drugs, as we saw with other banned substances.

Parliament’s approval of the order will ensure that it remains in force to reduce the threat to the public posed by these temporary class drugs, for up to 12 months. Together with the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, we will consider the case for placing MPA under permanent control under the 1971 Act. I commend the order to the House and beg to move.

Baroness Hamwee (LD): My Lords, the House will be grateful to the Minister for managing, just about, to get through that presentation. I have one question and one request for him. My question is about the progress of the Psychoactive Substances Bill. He mentioned that it would be enacted in the new year but it seems to have become a bit stranded in the House of Commons, and I wonder whether he has any more detail than that.

My request relates to a completely different matter. It comes from a conversation with colleagues just outside the Chamber during the previous debate. Next time the Minister does one of his amazing walks for charity, can he tell us, as we would like to support him? I do not know whether he is going to the North Pole or the South Pole over Christmas. I prefer to think of him sitting by a fire with a big box of chocolates but I do not think that is quite his style. However, we are so impressed by what he does during recesses, when most of us slob about, that we would at least like to support him in that way.

Lord Colwyn (Con): My Lords, my remarks will be brief. I ask my noble friend, who has responsibility for steering the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 (Temporary Class Drug) (No. 3) Order 2015 through your Lordships’ House, whether the Government have kept to their undertaking to ensure that the Psychoactive Substances Bill does not infringe the rights of UK herbal practitioners to supply unlicensed herbal medicines, as permitted under paragraphs (2), (6) and (9) of Regulation 3 of the Human Medicines Regulations 2012, No. 1916, dated 14 August 2012.

In an answer to the noble Lord, Lord Hunt, in July this year, my noble friend wrote:

“The Bill team is working with the … (Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulation Agency) to make sure that the Bill does not criminalise activities in relation to medicinal products which are currently lawful under medicines legislation. This includes the activity that Michael McIntyre refers to—namely herbal medicines that do not hold a … (Traditional Herbal Registration) but are prescribed by herbal practitioners on a named patient basis”.

I ask my noble friend whether the current draft of the Bill ensures the continued rights of UK herbalists to

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supply unlicensed herbal medicines on a named-patient basis, as he promised. If the legal highs Bill were enacted without making provision for herbal practitioners, it would mean that their work was criminalised, which of course would be an unmitigated disaster.

Lord Kennedy of Southwark (Lab): My Lords, I support the order before the House. As the noble Lord, Lord Bates, said, it would be in effect for a maximum of 12 months, by which time a decision would be made on whether MPA should be subject to a permanent ban. I shall not attempt to pronounce the name in full but will stick with the abbreviation. I am sure that the noble Lord will come back on the points made by the noble Lord, Lord Colwyn.

I echo the comments of the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, in respect of the work, and the walks, that the noble Lord does in the recesses. I will leave it there.

Lord Bates: I am very grateful. I should perhaps explain to the House that the reason for my slight struggle was that I was not only trying to pronounce those words but, at the same time, was feeling the symptoms that I was reading out of an abnormally fast heart rate, anxiety, a panic attack, perspiration, headaches and nausea. My inability to pronounce the medical terms was due to my having to pause slightly to compose myself. I am grateful for the patience of the House.

I shall deal with where we are with the Psychoactive Substances Bill. We expect the Bill to reach its Commons Report stage and Third Reading early in the new year, and I hope noble Lords’ consideration of Commons amendments will follow shortly after that. Explanatory notes on the Commons amendments will be published in the usual way once the Bill leaves the Commons. The noble Lord, Lord Rosser, and the noble Baroness, Lady Meacher, among others, will have seen letters from the Policing Minister detailing the government amendments made at the Commons Committee stage.

Schedule 1 to the Bill lists substances exempted from the scope of the Bill. Medicinal products as defined by the Human Medicines Regulations 2012 are included in that list. The definition of medical products, as in regulation, includes herbal medicines. Therefore, herbal medicines covered by the regulations are excluded from the scope of that Bill. I hope that offers some reassurance to my noble friend Lord Colwyn and clarifies the communication that I had with the noble Lord, Lord Hunt.

The Chief Whip is here, so I need to be on my best behaviour, but let me just say that I have no plans to engage in further walks over the Christmas period. I will be back on duty for the Immigration Bill on 11 January as required. However, I am very grateful for the kind words that have been said. We heard about the tremendous work being done by many charitable bodies this Christmas. I was thinking in particular of the Red Cross walk this year, which managed to raise more than £90,000 for its work in China and the UK. It is a tremendous privilege for us all, I know, to do anything that we can to support the many people who at times such as this are helping and caring for those in greatest need in our country and on our planet.

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Finally, the Bill will go through Report and Third Reading early in the new year. That completes the business before us and I commend the order to the House. I join others in wishing noble Lords on all sides of the House a very merry Christmas.

Motion agreed.


Moved by Lord Taylor of Holbeach

That the House do now adjourn.

4.41 pm

Lord Taylor of Holbeach (Con): My Lords, we are at the stage now where I beg to move that the House do now adjourn. By custom, we pay tribute to all those who have helped this House over the past 12 months. Before I start, I should like to thank my colleagues in the usual channels. The working of the usual channels is not supposed to be revealed to anybody but those who take part in them. None the less, I think everybody knows that the relationships we have—the noble Lord, Lord Bassam, the noble Lord, Lord Newby, and the noble and learned Lord, Lord Hope—are very important to the way this House runs. They are very civilised, and we always have the opportunity of talking about things frankly. I am very grateful for the way that they support us.

There has been quite a change since we were last here. The geography of the House has changed. My deputy is no longer my deputy, but is still a good friend, which is good for the House, if I might say so.

It is customary to also thank all those who support us in our task as Chief Whips and support the Leader of the House. We are very fortunate in our private office; we are all supported by extremely intelligent and bright people, whose company is a pleasure. They all work extremely hard. If people think that we work hard, it is nothing compared to the work that the professional staff supporting us put in.

This is also an opportunity for us to recognise those long-serving members of the staff of the House who have retired or are shortly due to retire.

Before I do that, I pay tribute to Shorayne Fairweather who sadly died in September this year after a short period of illness. Shorayne joined the House of Lords Library in January 2001 as an assistant librarian, and was promoted in 2007 to reference services librarian. She managed the enquiries desks in the Queen’s Room and in the Millbank Library. A number of noble Lords will have known her well. Shorayne had an enthusiasm for sport, an unfailing sense of humour and an infectious laugh. She will be missed by her colleagues and Members alike, and our thoughts are with her family at this time.

Tom McCarthy retired as conservator from the Parliamentary Archives in August this year. Tom joined the House of Lords after being transferred from the British Library. He was flattered to be handpicked—or so he thought. After six weeks, he discovered that his good fortune had been due to other people declining the position. I understand that Tom was very much of

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the opinion that this was their loss and his gain. His only regret seems to be that he had not joined the House of Lords earlier in his career.

Joan Bakker retired in September after nine years as a housekeeper. She was a quiet yet conscientious member of the team and in the last few months was responsible for the Robing Room and the Royal Gallery. She will not be taking it easy in her retirement and is volunteering in her local schools, reading to children. I hope this is at least a respite from the early morning starts that she had to make to be here before we all arrived.

Myrtle Celaire worked as a housekeeper for 19 years until her retirement in February. She cleaned the room that I occupied in the Home Office. She was always the first to arrive and the last to leave and particularly enjoyed the additional duties that came with the occasion of State Opening. I am sure that, over the years, that there were many noble Lords whom Myrtle helped with their robes or missing buttons. Her lively spirit and conversation have made a lasting impression on those she worked with. I hope that over the last few months she has been able to enjoy spending more time with her nine grandchildren.

All that remains is to wish all Members and staff of the House a restful and enjoyable Christmas. I beg to move that the House do now adjourn, and look forward to the supporting speeches to that Motion from my colleagues.

Lord Bassam of Brighton (Lab): My Lords, I pay tribute to the gracious comments from the noble Lord, Lord Taylor of Holbeach, whose company in the usual channels I greatly enjoy and for whom I have a great deal of affection and respect. It is always difficult praising the Government Chief Whip because there is the worry that too much praise will lead to them being reshuffled and I would not want that to happen, so I will draw those comments to a close.

I also pay tribute to my noble friend Lord Newby, with whom I have many fruitful and useful conversations, sometimes of a conspiratorial nature. Colleagues around the House will appreciate why. I thank the Cross-Benchers for the important work that they do. I know that the noble and learned Lord, Lord Hope, is carrying on the fine traditions left to him by the noble Lord, Lord Laming.

As the Chief Whip said, this is a time of year when we should reflect and give thanks to people for the hard work that they do on behalf of the House. The House would not work if it were not for the doorkeepers, the attendants, the clerks, the cooks, the bar staff, the cleaners, the conservators, the technicians, the police, the librarians, the researchers and many others. As he rightly said, we would not operate as Front-Benchers terribly well if we did not have professional and dedicated staff of our own. Our own Labour Lords group is a brilliant team. Its members have had the disappointment of being on the bad end of a general election this year, and I pay tribute to their professionalism and the determination with which they have carried out their duties since and for the high-quality work they do. That has enabled us to be a very effective Lords Opposition, but a constructive one nevertheless.

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I have a number of colleagues to whom I want to draw particular attention in paying tributes. I know some of them better than others, but all of them have given great service to your Lordships’ House. The first is Mr Dick Edwards, who retired in July having joined the doorkeeper cadre in 2002. Prior to that, Dick completed a full career in the Metropolitan Police, and part of his service was spent in the coroner’s office. On occasions when he and his colleagues knew that new police constables were paying their first visit to the mortuary, they would lay on the slabs, cover themselves with white sheets and suddenly sit up. Needless to say, from their point of view it had the desired effect—humour at its best. In October, Dick and his wife, June, flew to Australia where they have a daughter and grandchildren who live on the outskirts of Sydney, so after a great deal of touring, they will all spend the festive period together. “When will Dick return?” you may ask As yet, he has not booked a return flight, but I am told that as he is a season ticket holder at Arsenal Football Club, he will return to see them lift the Premier League trophy; that could be some time off. Anyway, that is what he thinks, apparently. As a Brighton & Hove Albion fan, I hope to obstruct Arsenal’s path next year.

Mr Tony Hanlon joined the doorkeepers cadre in 2006. Prior to joining the House, Tony completed a full career in the London Fire Brigade. On one occasion, Tony and his crew were called out to a fire at an elderly lady’s house. Tony and his colleagues rescued the lady. However, she refused to leave without her budgie, so Tony re-entered the house to rescue the said budgie and, as they say, everyone lived happily ever after. After those excitements, Tony now lives quietly in Harrow with his wife, Heather.

Mr Dave Stollery retired in September as a Senior Doorkeeper. Dave joined the Doorkeepers in October 1996. Prior to that, Dave completed a full military career in the Royal Marines. Indeed, he was the first person to be appointed the corps sergeant major of the Royal Marines. It is said that during the World Cup in 1966, Dave was on jungle warfare training. On the day of the final, he and another marine were sent out as sentries down a track away from the main base. Not wishing to miss this most patriotic of moments in the cup final, he managed to tune his radio into the World Service, which was covering the game. History does not record if doing that blew his cover, but of course we all know that the match had a successful result. Dave lives in Norfolk with his wife Shirley in a house he designed and built himself. On retirement from his military career and his service in your Lordships’ House, Dave had given in total to us as a nation more than 50 years’ loyal service, something that I think very few in public service would be able to celebrate.

Finally, I want to pay tribute to Jackie Mouzouros. She retires this Christmas Recess having served as a doorkeeper since February 2000. On joining the House, Jackie was a judicial doorkeeper, and along with her colleagues she helped to ensure that all cases heard by the Law Lords went smoothly. Nothing was too much trouble for her and this was greatly appreciated by the Law Lords. On the formation of the Supreme Court, Jackie declined the option to move with the Law

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Lords and she joined the rest of the doorkeepers. She has been a much valued member of the team and the traits and good habits that she developed while working with the Law Lords have continued to give great service to your Lordships’ House. I know that Jackie will be greatly missed by her colleagues, but as she lives only in Pimlico, we hope that she comes and visits all her friends on a regular basis.

Staff tributes are very important and we know that we would be the poorer without the good quality staff we have. Like the noble Lord, Lord Taylor of Holbeach, I wish all in your Lordships’ House a very merry Christmas and a happy new year. I hope that everyone celebrates and gets some rest over what is a pleasantly lengthy vacation from the arduous task of scrutinising our business.

Lord Newby (LD): My Lords, I start by echoing that last sentiment of the noble Lord, Lord Bassam, and the comments of the noble Lord, Lord Taylor, about the importance of the smooth running of the usual channels. It is, of course, somewhat strange, having spent a very happy time as co-conspirator with the noble Lord, Lord Taylor, to be now spending a certain amount of time, with mixed success, planning his and his colleagues’ downfall. It is, however, a source of continuing pleasure to work with the noble Lord, and indeed with the noble Lord, Lord Bassam, and the noble and learned Lord, Lord Hope, in such a civilised way, even though we often disagree on matters of great importance to the country. However we manage to do it in what I suspect most people would think of as in the best traditions of the House of Lords.

I, too, am paying tribute to several staff who have served your Lordships’ House very well. Zulmiro Trigo, known to her colleagues and your Lordships as Zizzi, started in the House of Lords in September 1997 as a member of the service team. She worked in all areas, including the Home Room, Attlee Room, Cholmondeley Room and Terrace, the Peers’ Dining Room and Gift Shop. She retired in April and is now enjoying life between Portugal and UK with her husband Umberto who also retired in April.

Umberto himself joined the House in November 1999 and worked as a waiter in banqueting in all areas, including the Attlee Room, the Cholmondeley Room and Terrace, and also the River Room. We wish them both very well.

Oye Acolatse joined the House in January 1993 as a junior chef working in the main kitchen. She worked in all areas and then specialised in the very busy pastry section for a number of years working as chef de partie—and winning the department’s employee of the year award in 2007. She was promoted to lead the section as sous chef in 2008 and decided to retire in April this year after 22 years’ valued service to the House to spend time with family and friends.

Biagio Lammoglia joined the House in June 1993 as the manager of the Peers’ Dining Room, the Peers’ Guest Room and Bishops’ Bar. He was a House of Lords institution. He was a valued member of the senior catering and retail services management team and shared his many years of experience in other areas of the department, as well as running a tight ship in the Principal Floor outlets.

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As a new Member to your Lordships’ House, I was rather in awe and dread of Biagio because I felt that I probably already had broken, or was about to break, one or more of the rules of protocol in the Peers’ Guest or Dining Room. Of course, when I did, Biagio was always far too polite to point it out. But my sense of foreboding never completely disappeared. Biagio retired in July this year and is now spending time between Italy and the UK with family and friends.

James—Jim—Donoghue joined Lords Hansard in December 1984, having previously worked as a reporter in the law courts and Commons Hansard, and, after 31 years, retired in May. When live television broadcasting of the Lords began in January 1985, he was the first ever Hansard reporter to appear on television.

Jim still recalls an alarming encounter he had in the Chamber with Lord Denning, the recently retired Master of the Rolls. During the passage of the Education (Corporal Punishment) Bill, Lord Denning raised the legal definition of “battery”, and said:

“We have to go to the common law to know what is battery. The least touching of another person is a battery. So I just have to put my hand on the shoulder of the Hansard writer, like this, and I would be guilty of a battery”.—[Official Report, 4/6/85; col. 622.]

Jim was the Hansard writer in question, and vividly remembers the force that Lord Denning used to make his point; fortunately, no lawsuit resulted.

Jim was an assistant editor on his retirement and said at his retirement party that he would miss the chimes of Big Ben on the quarters and on the hour, the beauty and serenity of Westminster Hall, and listening to the parliamentary choir through the Hansard office window as it rehearsed. He also shared that he would not miss annual appraisals, Thursday debates—which seemed to go on for ever—or waiting for the lift to the third floor, West Front. He calculated that during the 31 years he worked here, he spent eight months waiting for it. We certainly have sympathy with some of those sentiments!

Since retiring, Jim has been indulging his passions for travel and good food and wine, and spent four months in Greece. Jim’s hard work, passion for detail and rich grammatical knowledge are a big loss to the Hansard team, and he is sorely missed.

I have read out several tributes but the qualities of the staff to whom I have just referred apply to all the staff in your Lordships’ House and we wish them a peaceful Christmas and happy new year.

Lord Hope of Craighead (CB): My Lords, on behalf of the Cross Bench group, I associate myself with the very well-earned tributes that have been expressed by other Members of the House.

I add a personal word of thanks to the noble Lords, Lord Taylor of Holbeach, Lord Bassam of Brighton and Lord Newby, for the welcome they have given me as the newest member of the rather special group—the usual channels—of which I have not been a member before.

It is a privilege for me to take part in this important tradition, when the House quite rightly takes a moment to express its gratitude to the many staff who have served us so well over so many years. My appreciation of what the staff do for us goes back to when I first

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entered the House 20 years ago last February. I can look back to my 13 years as a Lord of Appeal in Ordinary, and to the excellent and devoted service we received on the Committee Corridor from our own dedicated team of doorkeepers, one of the last of whom was Jackie Mouzouros, to whom the noble Lord, Lord Bassam, has just referred. They were with us when we sat in the Committee Rooms and they were with us, too, when we came into the Chamber on Wednesday mornings to deliver our judgments. I still recall their call “Counsel”, when the door opened and the lawyers were admitted to the presence of the Law Lords in the Committee Room, and their equally impressive call, “Clear the Bar”, when the day’s hearing was over. They added a dignity and sense of order to our proceedings which we could not possibly have achieved without their assistance.

It has been another very busy year for us in this House. We have had to work very hard, continuing to hold the Government to account through a wide variety of questions and debates and through our widely respected Select Committee structure. All this has been achieved during a period of continued financial constraint. More has had to be done with no increase in our resources. It is a real achievement, and a tribute to the dedication and resilience of our staff, that we have all continued to enjoy such a seamless service from them.

We have also seen a number of new Members introduced on all our Benches. It is always a real pleasure to hear the tributes paid in maiden speeches to the kindness of the staff and all the help they give new Members in coming to terms with their new surroundings. We know that those words of thanks are not empty, and that the tributes are expressions of gratitude sincerely meant. I believe that we are very fortunate, and that it is entirely appropriate that the staff should be recognised in this way this afternoon.

I should like to mention two former members of staff who have served the House in different, but equally important, roles. First, I mention Lenny Lenaghan, who served as a doorkeeper here for 15 years. Lenny joined the House after a 30-year career in the Metropolitan Police, which included a period as part of the police force that protects us here in the Palace of Westminster. I shall always remember an incident one afternoon when he spotted me, seated just outside the Bar of the House, in need—I am ashamed to say—of being kept awake. He thrust an Order Paper into my hand, which I still have, on which he had written in capital letters the words, “The TV camera will have you on it”. When I apologised to him the next morning for falling asleep, he replied, “Just thinking deeply, my Lord”. This was typical of the firm but tactful way in which he kept us all in order. Lenny retired as one of the four senior doorkeepers in July this year, and we wish him and his wife, June, a very long and happy retirement.

Next, I should like to mention Gail Munden. Gail joined the House in June 1998 as a temporary personal secretary to the noble and learned Lord, Lord Steyn, and myself on the Law Lords’ corridor. We both thought very highly of her and were delighted when she was made permanent in July 2000. In 2006, as the plans for the transfer of the judicial function of the

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House of Lords to the Supreme Court were being put in place, she was faced—like others, including Jackie Mouzouros—with a very difficult decision: should she move, or should she stay? Gail decided to stay here and accept a position that was then on offer in the office of the Clerk of the Parliaments. This proved a very happy choice as, shortly afterwards, she was promoted to senior personal secretary. She remained in this post, where she made many friends, until her recent retirement in October. Gail is a trustee of the

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Archer Community Centre, a community building near where she lives in Essex. The building was recently saved from a state of disrepair by Gail and other volunteers, and I understand she intends to continue to devote much of her time to that project in her retirement. We wish her well.

I end by adding my own thanks to all the staff and wishing them, and all noble Lords, a very happy Christmas.

House adjourned at 5.05 pm.