HC Deb 11 June 2002 vol 386 cc727-9
Mr. Speaker

I inform the House that I have selected the amendment in the name of the hon. Member for West Dorset (Mr. Letwin).

3.44 pm
The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. David Blunkett)

I beg to move, That the Order of 24th April (Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Bill (Programme)) (as amended by the Order of 9th May (Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Bill (Programme) (No. 2))) be varied as follows— Consideration and Third Reading (1) Paragraphs (5) to (7) of the Order of 24th April shall be omitted. (2) Proceedings on consideration and Third Reading shall be concluded in two days. (3) The proceedings on consideration shall be taken on each of the days as shown in the first column in the following Table and shall be taken in the order shown and each part of the proceedings shall (so far as not previously concluded) be brought to a conclusion at the time specified in the second column.

Proceedings Time for conclusion of proceedings
First day
New Clauses and new Schedules relating to accommodation centres; amendments relating to Clauses 14 to 36. 7.00 p.m.
New Clauses and new Schedules relating to appeals; amendments relating to Clause 65, Schedule 3, Clauses 66 to 84, Schedule 4, Clauses 85 to 96 and Schedules 5 and 6. 10.00 p.m.
Second day
Remaining new Clauses and new Schedules; amendments relating to Clauses 1 and 2, Schedule 1, Clauses 3 to 13, Schedule 2 and Clauses 37 to 64. 7.00 p.m.
Amendments relating to Clauses 97 to 132, Schedule 7 and Clauses 133 to 135: remaining proceedings. 9.00 p.m.
(4) The proceedings on Third Reading shall (so far as not previously concluded) be brought to a conclusion at Ten o'clock on the second day. (5) Sessional Order B (programming committees) made on 28th June 2001 shall not apply to proceedings on consideration and Third Reading.

Before I come to the programme motion, I put on record my appreciation of the way in which my hon. Friend the Member for Wallasey (Angela Eagle) led for the Government in the Committee that considered the Bill. I greatly appreciate what she did throughout the past year and thank her for her tremendous support.

We have a two-day debate before us and I hope that we shall take as little time as possible over the programme motion so that we can debate the issues that the timetable tackles. I hope that I can help to achieve that by setting an example. I want to draw some matters to the attention of those who are not familiar with what happened to the timings for this important and complicated measure.

On Second Reading, the Opposition appealed for extra time in Committee, and I said that I was willing to consider the matter with the Whips. I did that, and because of representations from Opposition Members in Committee that deferred three sessions of the 32 and a half hours allocated for our proceedings, we agreed that there should be an extra day. That was welcomed by hon. Members of all parties. Indeed, the hon. Member for Chesham and Amersham (Mrs. Gillan) said: I am grateful for the Minister's explanation and for the generous time available to scrutinise the Bill. The official Opposition have no objection and concur with the Government's proposal."—[Official Report, Standing Committee E, 30 April 2002; c. 105.] I was grateful for that comment because it clarified that the additional day allowed the Committee to consider many, if not all the major issues that were before us at the time.

On Second Reading, my hon. Friend the Member for Wallasey said in her summing up that we would table further amendments to deal with what is known as benefit shopping and the outcome of the Roth judgment. Everyone knew that further amendments had to be considered in the light of that. Two weeks ago, I said that there would be a further substantive amendment on the appeals process. Today, I am moving a programme motion that provides, not for the original one day that was allocated for Report and Third Reading, but for the two days that I personally requested so that the additional amendments could be properly scrutinised.

With the additional day in Committee, the two extra days for Report and Third Reading are proper and adequate. The timetable motion shares the time available between consideration of accommodation centres and of appeals in a way that enables hon. Members to have their voices heard and their anxieties raised and considered.

Simon Hughes (Southwark, North and Bermondsey)

When did Government policy on appeals change? Why did they table at the last minute their substantive amendment, which removes significant appeal rights from asylum seekers, but not from anyone else?

Mr. Blunkett

The hon. Gentleman, who was in his place for a large part of the Second Reading debate, will recall that I indicated that the Government would present the results of their further consideration of the appeals process to hon. Members. I regret that, through legal advice, I was unable to table the substantive amendment before the conclusion of our proceedings in Committee. Those proceedings were adjusted at the hon. Gentleman's specific request and I am therefore sure that he will understand that I have tried to deal with concerns by extending the debate on Report and Third Reading from one to two days and ensuring that the changes were tabled with sufficient notice for Opposition Members to understand and consider the proposals. I have tried to avoid detrimental consequences.

In the light of the information that I have given and the consideration that has been offered to the Opposition through sharing time for the different elements of the debate today and tomorrow, I simply move that we approve the timetable motion and agree to consider the issues as quickly as possible.

3.49 pm
Mr. Oliver Letwin (West Dorset)

I beg to move, as an amendment to the proposed motion, in line 3, leave out from 'be' to end and add 'supplemented as follows—

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