HL Deb 11 February 1993 vol 542 cc839-63

House again in Committee.

[Amendments Nos. 19 and 19A not moved.]

Clause 6 [Protection of claimants from deportation etc.]:

Lord Bonham-Carter moved Amendment No. 20: Page 5, line 27, leave out from ("when") to ("he") in line 28 and insert ("any period to appeal, or to apply for leave to appeal, against any refusal has lapsed, or any appeal lodged has been finally determined,").

The noble Lord said: I shall not keep the Committee very long with this amendment, which in any ordinary circumstances I would scarcely need to move. However, in the context of this Bill, we have to move almost everything that seems to affect the rights of people who seek asylum. The amendment seeks to ensure the protection of an applicant during the time when he has applied for his status as a refugee to be recognised and he is awaiting a decision, and also during any appeal period or when an application for judicial review is sought.

It would seem absolutely obvious and inevitable that someone who had applied for judicial review for his right to remain in this country and to be recognised as a seeker for asylum, and hence a refugee, would not be deported. But odd though it may seem, that is not the case. It is because it is not the case that we want to insert the amendment into the Bill. Indeed, the previous Home Secretary is now appealing to the House of Lords after being found in contempt of court for removing an asylum seeker who came from Zaire while judicial review was being sought. I am sure that the noble Earl, Lord Ferrers, will tell us that it is quite unnecessary to accept the amendment because that kind of thing would never happen. The fact of the matter is that it has happened, but because it has happened and can happen again we feel it necessary to dot the 'i's and cross the 't's. I beg to move.

Earl Ferrers

The noble Lord, Lord Bonham-Carter, was agreeably brief. He said that it is important to move an amendment on everything in the Bill. If I may say so, I think that he is over-enthusiastic about that. He then went on to say that I would say that the amendment is unnecessary. He has taken the words out of my mouth. I was not going to be quite as abrupt as that, but as he has used those words I am bound to agree that that is so.

The Bill already makes provision in paragraphs 6, 7 and 8 of Schedule 2 to suspend any action to remove a person from the United Kingdom while his asylum appeal is pending. That is what the noble Lord wishes to do. It will allow a person who wants to appeal to remain here pending the determination of his appeal. Under the Bill, in most cases that person has 10 working days in which to make his appeal after his initial application has been rejected.

There are some people who accept the decision and who indicate immediately that they do not wish to appeal. I suggest to the Committee that it is perfectly reasonable that such a person should be removed forthwith. If the amendment were to be accepted he would then have to stay in this country for a further 10 days. The Bill would prevent him from being sent back. That person would have to stay here for 10 days, probably in detention and to his own disadvantage and at considerable public expense. I do not believe that that is what the noble Lord, Lord Bonham-Carter, wants or what the Committee wants. The point that the noble Lord wishes to protect is actually protected.

Lord Bonham-Carter

I am glad of the assurance that there is protection and that the present Home Secretary will not find himself in the position of his predecessor, who is now appealing to the House of Lords because of doing precisely what I am seeking to prevent. I would like an assurance from the noble Earl that the situation that has occurred with the gentleman from Zaire who was deported while a judicial review was being undertaken cannot occur under this Bill. Can the noble Earl assure me that that is genuinely the case? We shall come later to the question of 10 days because we regard that as far too short a time in which the whole process can take place. It is the subject of another amendment later on.

I want to be given an assurance that the situation which now exists as regards the gentleman from Zaire who was deported while a judicial review was taking place is now covered by the present Bill. In those circumstances I shall be happy to withdraw the amendment standing in my name.

Earl Ferrers

It would be quite wrong to begin equating the provisions of a Bill with a particular case that may be in train at any one time. The case to which the noble Lord refers is the subject of judicial review and has nothing to do with this matter.

Lord Bonham-Carter

I may have misunderstood the noble Earl. The point I am making is that if someone is appealing under judicial review and in his status as a refugee—he is seeking asylum—he can be deported, that seems to be an atrocious state of affairs. I am trying to make certain that people who are exercising their legitimate legal rights to appeal against the decision to deport cannot be deported while that process is taking place.

Earl Ferrers

If the noble Lord looks at Schedule 2, paragraphs 6 to 8, he will see that there is the ability to suspend any action to remove a person from the United Kingdom while his asylum appeal is pending. What the noble Lord is concerned with in this amendment is to ensure that where a person is appealing he should be allowed to stay. If the noble Lord's amendment were agreed to, one would be obliged to retain for 10 days a person who did not want to appeal. That is an absurdity.

The point which the noble Lord is concerned about is met because there is the ability to suspend the action. The Bill prevents anyone with an appeal pending from being removed. As a matter of practice, we would not normally remove a person who is seeking judicial review. The amendment which the noble Lord has moved refers only to appeals. It does not apply to judicial review. I can assure him that one would not normally remove a person who is seeking judicial review.

Lord Bonham-Carter

I am interested in what the noble Earl has said and I shall read it very carefully. Perhaps we shall have to come back to this matter at Report stage, if necessary. I am now prepared to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 6 agreed to.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey moved Amendment No. 21: After Clause 6, insert the following new clause: ("Refusal of leave to enter at port of entry.1971 c. 77 .—(1) The Immigration Act 1971 shall be amended as follows. (2) In section 13(3) at end there shall be inserted— or unless he was refused leave at a port of entry under circumstances where he had already been given leave to be in the United Kingdom either indefinitely or for a given period and where that person was in the latter case returning to the United Kingdom within the period for which the original leave had been given.".").

The noble Lord said: I am sorry that this amendment has to take the form of a new clause. That is necessary because the whole of the asylum procedures which are introduced or altered in this Bill refer to applications from those who are already in this country at the port of entry. We are concerned here with the removal of the right of appeal from a very large number of potential asylum seekers. This amendment is concerned with the removal of the right of appeal from those who are not in the country at the time for very good reason.

There are two kinds of people whom we believe should retain their right of appeal; namely, those who are residents and who are returning to this country and those who have limited leave to be here and who are returning during the currency of that limited period. I do not need to make this into a complicated issue. These two groups of people who may for quite legitimate reasons wish to leave the country during their period of residence or of permitted and limited right to remain here should have the same right of appeal as those who are already in this country. I very much hope that the Government will see the logic of this measure and agree to the amendment. I beg to move.

Earl Ferrers

As the noble Lord has explained, Section 13(3) of the Immigration Act 1971 permits a person who is the holder of a current entry clearance or work permit and who is refused leave to enter the United Kingdom to exercise his or her right of appeal before removal. The reason for this is that these people will have had to satisfy us before they set out that they had fulfilled the requirements of the Immigration Rules before they received the entry clearance or the work permit. In other words, their examination has already taken place while they were abroad. As a result there is a presumption that they will be given leave to enter. The Immigration Rules make it clear that leave to enter will be refused only in exceptional cases such as if the entry clearance was obtained by fraud, if there has been a change in circumstances or if refusal is justified on such grounds as the person's criminal record or because it would be conducive to the public good. In these cases, where a person appears at the point of entry having obtained an entry clearance before embarking, there is a presumption that leave to enter will be granted. It is right, therefore, that when on the very exceptional occasions that happens and the person is refused admittance, he should be allowed to appeal against that refusal before he is removed from the United Kingdom.

The amendment would extend this privilege to a person who had previously had indefinite leave to remain or who had previously had a limited leave and who sought to return again within the period for which the leave to enter or remain had been granted. There can be no presumption that such people will be given leave to re-enter, and I cannot see why the special privilege of an appeal before removal should be extended to them. As with any other passenger who does not possess an entry clearance, the immigration officer will have to conduct a full examination at the port and will have to be satisfied that all the requirements of the Immigration Rules are met. If they are not, leave to enter should be refused and, as with other passengers, removal should take place before that refusal is appealed. Equally, of course, there is no presumption that a passenger will be refused.

One can take as an example the tourist who comes to this country and who is given leave to enter for six months. He may spend three weeks in the Lake District having a lovely holiday and then go to the Continent. When he leaves this country, his leave to enter terminates. If, after his holiday on the Continent, he wishes to return to this country to collect his suits which he might have had made, he will then apply for leave to enter. He will almost certainly have it granted for a further six-month period, but he will be in exactly the same position as when he first entered. The immigration officer will have to satisfy himself that that person qualifies under the rules.

A six-month leave to enter means that a person has a right to stay for six months—not that he can go in and out of the country like a shuttlecock for six months. One must remember that all visitors can come to the United Kingdom unless there is a reason to believe that they are not coming as visitors—in other words, that such a person is a student, might take employment or be a burden on the state.

The noble Lord, Lord McIntosh, referred to the right of appeal for asylum seekers, but this amendment would not affect asylum seekers. All asylum seekers who are refused entry at a port will have a right of appeal in the United Kingdom under Clause 8(1).

9 p.m.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

If I was wrong about the right of appeal, I apologise, but the rest of the Minister's answer seems quite extraordinary. If somebody comes to this country as a visitor (or for whatever reason) and is given six months' right to be in this country, are the Government now saying that, if that person has occasion to leave the country during that six-month period and to return during the currency of the permitted visit, everything is up for grabs again and that person may have to persuade immigration officers all over again of his or her right to be in this country? I find that extraordinary.

Is this a country with fortress barriers around it? Is there something contaminating about visiting the Republic of Ireland, France, Denmark or wherever during the period of a visit to this country? What about a person who has the right to visit this country for six months in order to visit older or younger members of his family and who then wishes to take advantage of that visit to visit other members of the family in, say, other parts of Europe? We are talking about people who have a perfectly genuine right to be in this country. We are talking about people who are resident here and who go abroad and are returning, and those who are returning within the currency of a limited leave.

I said that I apologised about referring to the right of appeal but, on reflection, I am not so sure about that. After all, Clause 10 is all about the denial of the right to appeal and paragraph (b) would deprive all these people of their appeal rights, so perhaps it is relevant to our consideration of this amendment.

The idea that someone coming to this country with six months' leave to be here is not allowed to leave the country for any period during that six months without being subject to interrogation and the risk of that leave being terminated in the middle seems quite extraordinary. I wonder whether, on reflection, the Minister will wish to adhere to that view.

Earl Ferrers

The noble Lord, Lord McIntosh, says that this is a most terrible departure and that people who come to this country will no longer be allowed to go abroad. There is nothing new in that. It happens at the moment. A person's leave to enter lapses when he or she goes abroad. That person must then qualify to come back whether or not the return is in the period of the original leave. That has always been the case. I have already explained it to the noble Lord as best I can. He said that a person has a right to be here, and that is perfectly true. That person has a right to be here for a period of up to six months. Once he leaves and goes abroad, that right to be here ceases. Whether he stays here for three weeks or three months, once he goes abroad that right ceases. All that such a person has to do is to reapply when he or she re-enters the country.

I can reassure the noble Lord that all visitors can come to the United Kingdom unless there is reason to believe that they are not coming as visitors—in other words, that they are using the application to be a visitor to masquerade the fact that they are students or taking employment. There is nothing new. The noble Lord is making a mountain out of a molehill.

Lord Bonham-Carter

The fact that it is not new does not make it less bad. The fact that a person can have the right to come here for six months but if he or she then leaves the right is lost is not made more rational or more sensible by the fact that it is happening already. Perhaps one might use the Bill to improve things a little, but it seems beyond the Government's imagination to realise that anything could be improved. If one is given the right to be here for six months and then goes to Paris for three days, it seems very odd that one will not be allowed in again —that one would have to reapply. It is absolutely dotty.

Earl Ferrers

The noble Lord is using curious words. He says, "If you have gone abroad, you are not allowed to come in again"—

Lord Bonham-Carter

One has to apply.

Earl Ferrers

Of course one has to apply but that does not mean that one is not allowed to come in. All that one has to do is to say, "Look, I want to come as a visitor", and one will be allowed in as a visitor.

Baroness Seear

Where is the "of course" about it? Why does such a person "of course" have to apply? If the Minister has said that a person can come in for six months, I do not see any "of course" about having to ask again. The burden of proof is on the Government to explain why, having said that a person can be here, they then say that that person cannot be here. If it is going to be automatic, what is the point of making anyone ask?

Earl Ferrers

Because it might not be automatic because the person might not be a genuine applicant. I have tried to explain it. I know that the noble Lord, Lord Bonham-Carter, sometimes finds it very difficult to understand these minutiae, but the fact is that any visitor will be given the right to enter unless there is a reason why he should not be given that right—and I have explained those reasons. What that person is given is the right to enter and to stay for up to six months. Once he leaves that is the end of that, and then he can apply again. If he goes over to Calais for a bit of duty-free shopping and then comes back, he will say to the immigration officer, "I have had leave to stay here for six months but I have slipped over to Calais and have come back again and now I want to stay as a visitor", and he will then, of course, be given leave.

Baroness Hamwee

We heard earlier in the debate of the welcome appointment of extra immigration officers. How much time does it take an immigration officer to consider whether the motives of someone who has gone abroad to Calais for a duty-free shopping trip or whatever may have changed?

Earl Ferrers

I do not think that, in the case which I have described and which is uppermost in the Committee's mind, the time taken would be very long.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

Let us suppose that I were the accounting officer responsible for the immigration service and I had to reply to the questions of the National Audit Office or the Public Accounts Committee. If I said, as the Minister has just done, that those who have permission to be here for a period of six months and who go across to Calais for a duty-free trip will be re-examined, I should have a pretty poor case to put to anyone who was seeking value for money from the immigration service.

This is patently nonsense. It is absolutely clear that permission to be in this country for a period of, say, six months means permission to be in this country for six months. There is nothing that a trip to Calais, Copenhagen or Madrid can affect. It is a waste of immigration officers' time to be involved in issuing re-entry permits to people in those circumstances.

Indeed, it is worse than that because they will do that only to people with black faces. That is what will in fact happen.

Earl Ferrers

The noble Lord cannot get away with that. There is no foundation whatsoever for him to say that. If that is the basis of his amendment, it takes on a very different hue indeed.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

I am sorry to say that, if that is the basis of the Government's response to my amendment, it is quite unsuitable. I suggest to the Minister that there is a perfectly decent and honourable way of getting round the matter which he has not suggested; namely, to say that, when those who are in this country for a period of six months leave this country, they should be given a stamp showing that they are entitled to go abroad and come back without question during that period. I have not heard the Minister suggest that as a solution, but it would certainly save immigration officers' time and prevent the discrimination which I am convinced will occur between one kind of person and another.

I remind the Minister that we are talking about two kinds of people only: those who are resident in this country and have a right of residence here and those who have the legal right to be here for a period of up to, say, six months and who return to this country during that period. They are not sneaking into the country. There is no reason why they should be subject to extra controls. They have a right to be in this country just as you and I have.

I am profoundly dissatisfied with the reasons given by the Minister for opposing the amendment. As regards my second category, I am not satisfied that the appeal procedures have not been taken away unjustly. I shall return to this matter when we come to Clause 10 on Tuesday of next week. However, in the meantime I shall consider the best form in which to pursue the matter because I can assure the Minister that it will be pursued. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 7 [Curtailment of leave to enter or remain]:

[Amendment No. 22 not moved.]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey moved Amendment No. 23: Page 5, line 40, at end insert (" provided that the leave is of six months or less duration.").

The noble Lord said: With this amendment we come to Clause 7 which in some ways is one of the most objectionable clauses in the whole Bill. In some ways it is related to the issues that we have just been debating, although perhaps "debating" is not the correct word. It provides that, if those people who have leave to come to this country then apply for asylum, they may find that their existing and valid leave to be in this country may be curtailed. The Secretary of State may: by notice in writing give to the person concurrently with the notice under paragraph (b) above"— that is, the notice of rejection of appeal— curtail the duration of the leave". That is an extraordinary proposal which is not in any way justified by the identified problems with asylum seeking in this country. It is a gratuitous addition to the Bill which should be removed altogether.

In accordance with the way in which we normally treat these matters, we shall seek to find improvements in the wording of the Bill and, if necessary, make minor adjustments to the wording before we decide whether the principle that appears to be so objectionable should be questioned in our consideration of the Bill.

Amendment No. 23 is a modest amendment. We do not propose to remove the provisions of Clause 7(1); we propose that the curtailment power given to the Secretary of State by that clause should be restricted to those who have leave of six months or less. I do not know, because I have no way of knowing, what proportion of people who are affected by the clause will have permission to be in this country for six months or less. All I know is that the idea of curtailing the leave of those who have permission to be in this country for six months or less merely because they apply for asylum while in this country is—I shall not go as far as the noble Lord, Lord Tebbit, and call it a foul abomination—contrary to natural justice. I beg to move.

9.15 p.m.

Earl Russell

I must apologise to the Committee and to the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh, for not being in my place when the amendment was moved. The thinking behind the clause seems to be that an asylum application which has been rejected is likely to have been made in bad faith. That is not necessarily the case. One could perfectly well imagine, for example, an application for asylum from, shall we say, East Germany or Romania made early in 1989 in good faith which, nevertheless, was not accepted because it was out of date by the time it came to be adjudicated upon.

I do not see what useful purpose is served by insisting that people who are students in this country should be unable to finish their courses because the Home Secretary has not looked with favour upon their claims for asylum. The whole clause is unnecessary. I hope that the amendment will be looked upon with favour.

Lord Renton

I find some difficulty with the amendment. We are dealing with people who have come here with a claim for asylum. They have the opportunity of having their claim considered by the Home Secretary. If the claim is rejected, whether the person should be given an opportunity to stay longer should not depend upon whether original permission to stay was of any particular duration. There could be cases where someone had obtained permission for a longer period of stay, and had done that rather meretriciously. It may then be found that his claim for asylum is not well-founded.

In those circumstances, I do not see why that person should be given a greater privilege than a person who had been given permission to stay for only six months or less. I do not see the logic of that. So I shall be surprised if my noble friend the Minister felt that he could accept the amendment.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

The noble Lord is bad for my health. This is the second time in one day that I have had to challenge his interpretation of the wording of legislation, and I do not like it. I venture to suggest that he is wrong. First, this part of Clause 7 does not refer to those who have already applied for asylum. They have limited leave under the 1971 Immigration Act and that is not asylum. Secondly, there is no question here of them applying for an extension of their leave. We are saying that if the duration of their leave is six months or less, they should be excluded from the curtailment provisions. I suggest that on both those aspects the noble Lord's interpretation of the amendment is mistaken.

Lord Renton

I shall answer the noble Lord as calmly as I can. I do not see how he can say that the provision does not apply to those who have applied for asylum because Clause 7(1) (a)—that comes into this—refers to: the United Kingdom's obligations under the Convention". We are dealing here with the convention relating to the status of refugees—people applying for asylum. From the terms of the clause as drafted, I should have thought that it was plain that we are dealing here with people who think that they have a claim for asylum. It certainly includes them.

Earl Russell

Perhaps I could help the noble Lord, Lord Renton, a little. In Clause 7 we are dealing with people who have a perfectly ordinary leave to be here for a purpose which we must presume to be legitimate since the Secretary of State has allowed it, who then apply for asylum and their application is refused. I tried to argue that the refusal of asylum to the claimant, in some of the cases I mentioned, need not imply any bad faith on the part of the applicant. In any case, it does not affect the good faith of the initial claim to be here, which is now curtailed under this Bill because he happens to have appealed for asylum while enjoying it.

I was interested that the noble Lord, Lord Renton, used the word "meretritious". A failed application and a meretritious application are not necessarily the same. If I may offer the noble Lord an analogy, in a common law criminal trial the defendant goes into the box, swears his innocence, and is convicted. We do not prosecute that defendant for perjury, and I think that is good. It is the same sort of construction for which we are asking on behalf of asylum seekers. We are asking for those who apply for asylum and have the ill fortune to be refused not to be labelled meretritious or perjurous but to continue to enjoy those rights which had been perfectly legally granted. I hope that that is of some help to the noble Lord.

Lord Renton

I did not say that it was always a meretritious claim. I said that it might be one. That is quite different. We must see what my noble friend will say, but I think that the words are neither necessary nor, indeed, justifiable.

Earl Ferrers

The noble Earl, Lord Russell, referred to a person who has a perfectly normal leave to remain here and while here asks for asylum. The noble Earl said that that does not affect their good faith in originally being here. I think that that was the noble Earl's expression.

The fact is that the great majority of those who claim asylum after entering the United Kingdom are people who have obtained leave to enter as visitors. It often becomes clear that seeking asylum was really their intention from the start and that they have no intention of leaving at the end of their purported visit. It would make no sense at all to provide, as we are doing in the Bill, for accelerated determination of claims for asylum and of any appeal against refusal, but then to permit an applicant to stay here for several more months in order to complete his supposed holiday.

We envisage that most of the people who will be dealt with under the provisions of Clause 7 will be visitors of that kind. But it would be wrong to exclude, as Amendment No. 23 would do, the possibility of using those powers against anyone who had a longer leave. For example, if a person has come here as a university student and has leave to remain here for three or four years, but it becomes quite clear that he has dropped out of his studies and then he claims asylum, there is no reason at all why that kind of person should then expect to be allowed to stay here for the balance of his original leave which he has then ceased to take part in.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

Is the Minister telling us that there is no way under existing immigration rules whereby somebody who is here for, say, an academic course and who ceases to take part in that course—and therefore ceases to be eligible—cannot have his presence in this country curtailed? I cannot believe that the existing rules do not already allow curtailment of his presence in this country when the reason for it has expired without adding the provisions of Clause 7 of the Bill.

Earl Ferrers

If the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh, had been able to exert the patience for which he is renowned, he would have heard me say that I recognise his anxiety that a person who is here lawfully should not put himself in jeopardy of removal simply by making a claim for asylum which is then refused.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey


Earl Ferrers

Yes, exactly. That was the point that I was coming to when the noble Lord interrupted me. I assure the Committee that the provision will not work in that way. For example, let us suppose that a student who is here on a long course hears of sudden changes in his country which cause him to be frightened. He claims asylum. If his application is refused, he will be permitted to complete his studies, provided that he continues to meet the requirements of the rules relating to students.

I was trying to draw a distinction between that kind of person and a person who claims to come here as a visitor or student and then claims asylum when we know that the real reason for him coming in the first place was to claim asylum and not to be a visitor or a student. For example, if a student drops out of his studies, claims asylum and his claim is rejected, there is no reason why he should be allowed to stay.

Lord Bonham-Carter

Surely, the important point is his reason for claiming asylum. That is the crucial point.

Earl Ferrers

The crucial point is why he came here in the first place. If he is here as a student and is carrying out his student responsibilities properly and then claims asylum which, for various reasons, is rejected, he will be allowed to stay. However, let us suppose that a person says he is here as a student in order to gain entry to this country. He then claims asylum, which is rejected. It is then discovered that he has not bothered to attend his courses—did the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh, make an interjection? I did not hear him.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

I am glad to make an interjection. I can only describe the sound that I made as a non-verbal expression of disbelief. The Minister has not denied my earlier assertion that there are adequate provisions in existing legislation for removing those who are here under false pretences. That is what he was referring to in his latest speech.

If people are here claiming to be students who are not students and not attending their courses, their permission to be here can be curtailed. It can be curtailed without the provisions of Clause 7.

What the Minister has said was very interesting. I shall not pursue the amendment to a Division because although he does not realise it, in effect the Minister has already yielded a large part of the argument. We shall find a way to bring forward an appropriate amendment at a later stage.

The Minister cannot claim, and has not yet attempted to claim, that those who are here under false pretences, whether or not for the purpose of seeking asylum, cannot be expelled by curtailment procedures which already exist.

Earl Ferrers

That never came into our discussions. We are discussing whether a person whose claim for asylum is rejected and who is then found to be here under false pretences should be allowed to remain here.

If you ask for asylum, you do so because you think you will be persecuted in your own country. If that appeal is rejected, you are no longer an asylum applicant. The authorities are then entitled to ask what that person is doing here. It may be found then that he has come to the country as a student but is not continuing with his studies. The position is perfectly clear and the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh, is barking up the wrong tree.

Baroness Seear

I am not clear about a great deal of this; but there is one point in particular I should like to raise with the Minister. Let us suppose that this chap has stopped attending his courses. According to the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh, he can be turfed out because of that.

Let us suppose further that while he is misbehaving in that way, he claims asylum but that claim is based on a dramatic change in his own country which means that it will be extremely dangerous for him to go home. Does his non-fulfilment of the conditions of the permission he was given to enter the country—that is, to attend university —invalidate his claim to asylum which otherwise would have been a genuine claim because of the dangers he would now face if he returned to his own country? Is the noble Earl saying that such a student's misbehaviour at university cancels all rights to make a claim for asylum and to be judged on the genuineness of his need for asylum?

9.30 p.m.

Earl Ferrers

I did not mean to imply that. A person may be in this country when he discovers that the conditions in his own country are going from bad to worse and that a holocaust has occurred. The person may then consider he will face terrible persecution if he returns to his own country. He can apply for asylum and his case will be considered. He may well be granted asylum. However, he may not be granted asylum. Then the officials will examine his case. They will discover, for example, that he is at university and he is pursuing a five-year course in the hope of becoming a doctor. In those circumstances he will probably be allowed to stay in this country. If, on the other hand, they discover the person is not attending his course, they will then ask him why he entered the country. If he says that he is a student but he has not attended his course for the past year, the officials may conclude that the person masqueraded as a student to enter the country and then apply for asylum. If such a claim for asylum is rejected, I cannot think there is any point in that person continuing to masquerade as a student.

The noble Lord, Lord McIntosh, said such bogus people can be deported under the present rules. It is perfectly true that leave can be curtailed, but that is a long and protracted process and it often involves successive rights of appeal against, first, curtailment and then against deportation. For that process to be initiated officials must know the person has done something wrong. Often that comes only to light when he makes an application for asylum.

Earl Russell

The noble Earl made a comment which may be helpful to the Committee. He used the example of a student who had dropped out of university. I have not recorded his exact words but I believe he suggested that curtailment of leave to remain in this country might not occur in the case of a bona fide student who was continuing his studies. If that is correct, and if the noble Earl were prepared to write that into the Bill, it could be helpful. However, there is another area where there is deep disagreement. It concerns the point raised by my noble friend Lord Bonham-Carter on whether we should be concerned with the genuineness of the reason for which a person first obtained entry or with the genuineness of the reason which led the person to claim asylum.

When I was 18 I hitch-hiked around France with a friend who first came to this country at the age of five as a refugee. She came in August 1939. She has told me that to this day she cannot pass through Aachen Station without being sick. I understand that that person claimed to be taking a holiday when she arrived in this country. That, however, was not her intention. I cannot see what was wrong with that.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

I am sorry to have to tell the noble Earl that the amendment would not deal with the problem of his friend because it would still permit curtailment for those who seek leave to enter the country as a visitor but who are really seeking asylum. The amendment is not as far-reaching as he would like.

Earl Russell

I was merely answering what the Minister had said.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

I am grateful for that. Clause 7, as it stands, does not limit the Secretary of State's powers or the reasons he gives for curtailment of leave. Those powers still exist under existing legislation. We do not need this provision to achieve that purpose. The Minister revealed the core of this matter in his previous intervention when he said what is wrong with the existing provisions—I am paraphrasing his remarks—is that they can take too long with the various rights of appeal. He said that, generally speaking, the existing provisions are inconvenient. However, I accept that those are words that he would never use.

I persist in my view that what the Minister said has revealed the inconsistency, short-sightedness and, to some extent, prejudice behind the Government's thinking. There is ample reason for me to beg leave to withdraw the amendment and return to the matter at a later stage. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Baroness Mallalieu moved Amendment No. 24: Page 5, line 41, leave out subsection (2).

The noble Baroness said: I rise to move the amendment tabled in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Mishcon. The purpose of the amendment is to preserve the existing rights of appeal against curtailment. The absence of a right of appeal against the removal of an existing right is particularly objectionable. It is hard to see what possible justification there can be for changing the existing law, as this part of the Bill does, to remove the protection of an appeal to an independent adjudicator for a person whose lawful stay in the United Kingdom has been curtailed. The seriousness of the decision to curtail leave is apparent from the fact that it could lead directly to deportation and detention under Clause 7(4). The amendment would also mean that there would be a right of appeal under the Bill against the asylum refusal under Clause 8(2).

It is essential that the protection of an appeal against the curtailment of leave should remain. Otherwise the person could only appeal against deportation should the Home Office make a deportation decision. It must surely be wrong in principle that a person who has abided by his or her conditions of stay and has done nothing unlawful should be faced not only with the stigma of deportation but the very real practical difficulties that may result from it merely because he or she has applied for asylum. There must surely also be a right of appeal against curtailment.

The amendment, in effect, also makes it clear that such a right of appeal should extend not only to the justification for the curtailment itself—not merely to whether the applicant falls within the terms of the United Nations convention relating to the status of refugees—but also to whether the curtailment decision is in itself merited.

For example, a student would have the right to argue at such an appeal that the curtailment was wrong and that he or she still fits into the immigration rules as a student and should continue to have leave on that basis despite a refused asylum application. There will be many instances where, for example, a student still intends to leave the United Kingdom at the end of a course of study, even where it may not be possible for him or her to return to his or her country of origin. There may be connections with another country to which it is possible to go. Alternatively, during the appeal period the situation in the country of origin may either become safe or become very much worse. In either case, on either ground, an appeal might be successful.

It is surely important that people should have that right of appeal and be able to put their case forward to avoid not only the stigma of deportation but its practical difficulties when there is no justification for it.

At the Report stage of the previous Bill in another place, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary said: If a student appeals, due to the refusal of his asylum claim, he can at the same time appeal against the curtailment of his leave as a student".—[Official Report, Commons, 21/1/92; col. 272.] If the Home Office believed then that an appeal right could continue to exist without negating the provisions of the Bill I ask the Minister to say when he replies to the amendment what arguments have now convinced the Government that it is right to remove that right of appeal. It must surely be basically unjust and unjustifiable to cut short leave which has been granted without any right of appeal or redress or even explaining why that is being done in this way in this Bill. I beg to move.

Lord Renton

At first sight I find the position very confusing. We are dealing with very fine distinctions. We have to compare curtailment of leave already granted under Clause 7(1) with the appeal against variation of leave under Section 14 of the 1971 Act; and appeal to a special adjudicator under Clause 8(2) against variation or refusal to vary under Clause 8(2) of the Bill.

Those are very fine distinctions indeed. To that extent I believe that it is a good thing that the noble Baroness has moved her amendment, if only so that we can bring to our own minds that there is a fine distinction and hear what the Government have to say about it.

Having heard the discussions on the previous amendment, which dealt with what happens under Clause 7(1), I believe prima facie that the Government have the right idea about making a distinction. But of course I shall be interested to hear what further argument my noble friend puts forward in favour of making that distinction.

Earl Ferrers

I had hoped that I should be able to satisfy my noble friend. Nothing is more important than satisfying that, although it is equally important to satisfy the noble Baroness, Lady Mallalieu. There may be a misunderstanding. We are not removing a right of appeal. We are expediting the process. The power to curtail the leave of a person who no longer qualifies to stay here is not in fact new. The power exists under the 1971 Act and the current Immigration Rules. But it is a power which is rarely used because it is a protracted and cumbersome way of seeking to ensure a person's departure.

Let us consider the position. At present when leave is curtailed, a person has a right of appeal under Section 14(1) of the 1971 Act. He appeals. If the adjudicator turns down his appeal, the person can then appeal to the tribunal. If the tribunal also turns down his appeal, he is obliged to leave the country. But he may not leave the country. If he still refuses to leave the country, he must be served with a notice of a decision to make a deportation order against him. He then has a right of appeal against that decision. If he then goes to the adjudicator, and if the adjudicator turns down his appeal, he can then appeal to the tribunal. It is therefore quite possible for a person to spin out the whole process to absurd lengths.

In Clause 7 we seek to create a much quicker procedure. There will be no separate right of appeal against the curtailment decision and the deportation order. At the same time that the asylum claim is refused and the leave is curtailed, the applicant will be served with a notice of intention to deport him. He will then be able to appeal against that decision under Clause 8(3) of the Bill. Then he will be able to argue all the merits of his case on that appeal.

We are therefore creating a workable system which will enable people who have no further claim to remain here to be removed in a reasonable time, but at the same time ensuring that there is a proper safeguard against the possibility of removing people unfairly. I believe that the noble Baroness will realise that she was in error in saying that we are removing the right of appeal. We are not. There is a right of appeal but that long, protracted process will take place in one period of time.

Baroness Mallalieu

I cannot accept the way in which the noble Earl described the intention behind this clause of the Bill as merely expediting the process. In effect, what it is doing is truncating the process by taking out a number of the present stages which means, as I said when I outlined my reasons for moving this amendment, that it is not until the last ditch that there is any right of appeal at all. For example, to take an analogy from my own area, it is as though the criminal field were clogged up with appeals in the Court of Appeal. Adopting this procedure, the noble Earl would be removing the Court of Appeal so that one would have to go to the last stage, the House of Lords, before one had any rights.

It cannot be right, for the reasons that I have already outlined, that it is not until the notice of deportation is served that someone has the opportunity to present their case. I am profoundly unhappy with the explanation that the Minister gave. I see the difficulty of the fine distinction and I am grateful for the limited assistance which the noble Lord, Lord Renton, felt able to give to what I said.

I shall certainly look at what the Minister said, but his answer is unsatisfactory. Although I beg leave to withdraw the amendment at this stage, it is one to which we shall undoubtedly have to return.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

9.45 p.m.

Baroness Mallalieu moved Amendment No. 25: Page 6, line 8, after ("order") insert ("if there are reasonable grounds to believe that the person will not report to an immigration officer at an appointed time;").

The noble Baroness said: Subsection (4) of Clause 7 is another unnecessary provision as the Home Secretary already has the power under Schedule 3 of the 1971 Act to detain a person against whom a decision to deport has been made. There is no need for that to be repeated in the Bill.

The amendment would do no more than this: it would provide for bail to be granted as the norm for asylum seekers who are appealing against deportation unless the immigration officials could provide a reasonable ground for detention. What, I ask, could be more reasonable than that? It would also put the onus on the immigration officer to show the grounds for detention and he or she would have to justify that in any appeal. It would simply go some way towards importing the presumption of bail which is provided for the citizens of this country in the Bail Act 1976 to immigration detainees as well. It would also help to ensure that detainees had some idea of why they were being detained and the possibility of applying for bail.

The detention of asylum seekers is surely something which must concern us all because many of those people will already have suffered a great deal in the country from which they have fled. Sometimes they have been under arrest or detained there. They may have been tortured or in other ways traumatised by their experiences. They have fled that country and come to this country where they believe that they are safe, only to find themselves detained here. The information that has been provided by the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture shows the effect of detention on some asylum seekers to be serious.

The provision, which does no more than provide bail facilities for them unless there are reasons for thinking that they will not turn up, is vital. I beg to move.

Lord Renton

I do not believe that there is merit in the amendment. Like my noble friend on the Front Bench, many years ago I had to consider whether there should be a deportation order and had to advise the Home Secretary of the day whether or not he should sign a deportation order. One was always conscious that if the person were not detained he would get lost in our huge community. This is too easy a country in which to get lost. It is well known that there are always a great many people who are here illegally. For some of them the period of permission to remain has expired. There are various kinds of illegality. They do not all do what it is hoped under the amendment the person who has had a deportation order made against him will do. They do not report to the immigration officer at an appointed time. That really is a hostage to fortune. It is too big a risk for the Government to take.

Lord Bonham-Carter

The noble Lord has expressed in his inimitable fashion the philosophy which lies behind the Bill and which we touched on in the Second Reading. The philosophy behind the Bill as expressed by the noble Lord is to prevent abuse. I should have thought that the philosophy behind a sound Bill would be: let people in who are in danger of persecution. I would prefer to let one or two abusers in rather than consign one or two people to abuse, persecution, torture and death. That is the difference between the noble Lord, Lord Renton, and me. That is the difference between his opposition to the clause and my support for it.

Earl Ferrers

That is a fairly fundamental difference. The noble Lord, Lord Bonham-Carter, says that he would rather have a few people in who should not come in rather than reject a few people who ought not to be rejected. Nobody wants to reject anyone who ought to stay. But if the noble Lord were to follow that line of thinking, he would find that the number of people who ride into this country on the backs of that kind of argument would be even greater than it is at the moment. The noble Lord cannot pretend that people do not abuse the system. They do. We are trying to stop those people abusing the system but allow the genuine applicant to come through.

The noble Lord, Lord McIntosh, smiles and "putters" away on the Bench. But he must know that there are plenty of people abusing the system. That is the reason it is necessary to tighten up.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

I am directly challenged. The number of people who have been convicted of abusing the system in that way is 27.

Earl Ferrers

That is not so. The noble Lord knows perfectly well that that was the number of people convicted of social security frauds. It is not the number of people who come in. Can the noble Lord therefore explain to me why, when 6,000 people are invited to apply to say why they are in this country, only 1,500 turn up? What happens to the others? They do not bother because they find it more convenient not to do so. I cannot express strongly enough the fact that if one is to have a system—there has to be a system of immigration control—it has to be one that is adhered to and not abused.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

I was asked a direct question and I respond. Neither the Minister nor I can tell why 6,000 people who were invited to attend did not attend. But I can suggest other reasons than that they are abusing the system. For example, they could well have left the country already. There are many reasons other than abuse why people should not pursue claims for asylum. The Minister has no better information than I do. It is an unknowable statistic.

Lord Renton

I hope that the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh, who I realise is sometimes as sensitive as any of us, would not take it amiss if I were to say that if he were in the position of my noble friend Lord Ferrers at the Home Office at the moment, he would not use the argument that he uses now.

Lord Bonham-Carter

The argument cannot be confuted. It is hypothetical to the last degree. What the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh, would be doing if he were in the position of the noble Earl, Lord Ferrers, is open to any amount of speculation. The argument does not stand up for one moment.

Earl Ferrers

After that altercation, perhaps I can continue with my speech. I was trying to help the Committee; but, understandably, your Lordships prefer to be sidetracked.

Amendment No. 25 seeks to say that a person can only be detained if there are reasonable grounds for assuming that he will not comply with other restrictions requiring him to report to an immigration officer. That is essentially what happens at the moment in immigration cases when detention is considered. It will continue to be so under Clause 7 of the Bill. The power to detain will only be exercised if we do not think that the person will keep in touch and that a failure to detain will frustrate the intention to enforce departure.

It is perfectly obvious that detention is not undertaken lightly. It has an obvious impact on the individual concerned. It also happens to be extremely costly and it is generally undesirable for the department to tie up limited accommodation unnecessarily. But it must remain an option for those relatively few cases where we have reason to believe that an applicant will not co-operate or comply with other restrictions that may be placed upon him. It is reasonable to have that provision in the Bill.

Baroness Mallalieu

I must be naive. I had fondly thought that this was an amendment which would commend itself to the noble Earl. Re-reading this part of the Bill with the hindsight of his interpretation of it, what he has just told us the Bill says is not what I understand it to mean.

The proposed amendment does no more than say what the noble Earl requires; that is, that if there are reasonable grounds for believing that somebody will not turn up or will disappear into the community, then he can be detained. No one is quarrelling with that; no one is seeking to allow people who clearly intend to abscond, to do so. Where that is apparent, it would be right to detain them. That is what the amendment does. It does no more.

I am pleased to hear the noble Earl say that where there are no such fears, somebody will be permitted to retain his liberty. Frankly, that is not what the clause at present says. It is for that reason that the amendment attempted to spell it out. If the noble Earl intends that to be the meaning, I hope that he will give consideration to the amendment between now and the next stage of the Bill and seek himself to clarify the position. At this stage, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Baroness Mallalieu moved Amendment No. 26: Page 6, line 11, at end insert: (" (5) Any decision to detain and the grounds therefor must be given to the person detained in writing and in a language which he understands.").

The noble Baroness said: I hope that I am not naive in moving Amendment No. 26. It is intended to provide for some information in relation to detention to be given to those who are detained—those who are seeking asylum—which they can understand. One of the most common problems that seems to arise is that those who are detained later ask their advisers what is going on because they do not know why they are being detained and what steps are open to them. This modest provision seeks to make that clearer to them. I hope that it will commend itself to the Minister.

Lord Renton

For once, I find myself in agreement with the Front Bench opposite. It may be that it is something that already happens. If it is part of primary or secondary legislation, or a matter of practice and direction, the amendment will not be necessary. I hope that it is something that is already done. If there is no authority for doing it, then there may be an advantage in having something on the lines of the amendment.

Earl Ferrers

I start to get worried when my noble friend agrees with the Front Bench opposite. I shall try to be not too despairing. I fully concur with the view that applicants should be informed about the processes that are affecting them, particularly where a matter as serious as detention is concerned. However, I am not convinced that such a requirement needs to be placed on the face of the Bill.

Perhaps I can tell your Lordships what happens. Applicants who are to be detained are notified in person by the detaining immigration officer in any language which they can understand and by an interpreter, if necessary. We shall certainly give consideration to whether any new written notice is needed more fully to reflect the procedures under the present legislation.

It is impracticable to expect notices to be available in every conceivable language. There are hundreds of different languages, including 50 different forms of Chinese. Many countries—for instance, in Africa—have dialects which are almost as different as languages. It would be difficult to provide written material in every language. However, we shall certainly see that they are informed of what is happening in a language which they understand. I shall certainly consider the matter.

10 p.m.

Lord Renton

I appreciate the difficulty of producing it in writing. I see several difficulties in that. Calligraphy varies enormously even within the same language. My noble friend mentioned Chinese. Some of the people concerned may well be illiterate. For them it would be an even greater mystery. I am glad that my noble friend has given a sympathetic reply. I realise that he will have to consider that there are practical difficulties in putting it into writing.

Baroness Mallalieu

I am grateful to the noble Earl for what he said in relation to the amendment. I hope that, notwithstanding the difficulties which we can readily see in relation to having a large number of prepared texts showing the reasons for the detention and indeed the appeal procedure, he may give consideration to having certain of the more commonly required ones prepared. I am grateful to him for indicating that at the very least an interpreter will be available. That will go some way certainly towards dealing with the problem of those who may speak unusual dialects. No doubt arrangements can be made for them. I am grateful to the Minister for saying he will look at this matter again and for what he has agreed so far. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 7 agreed to.

Clause 8 [Appeals to special adjudicator]:

[Amendments Nos. 27 to 29 not moved.]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey moved Amendment No. 30: Page 6, line 16, at end insert ("or on the ground that if removed from the United Kingdom he would be required to go to a country where he has a well-founded fear of persecution on grounds of race, religion, nationality, political opinions or membership of a particular social group.").

The noble Lord said: In rising to move Amendment No. 30, I should like to speak also to Amendments Nos. 34, 36, 38 and 105. With these amendments we move to Clause 8 and to Schedule 2, Clause 8 being concerned with the whole issue of appeals to the special adjudicator. I apologise to the Committee but I am bound to return in considering these matters to the subject that we first discussed on Tuesday afternoon, which is the question of the United Kingdom's obligations under the 1951 United Nations Convention.

The amendments are designed to widen the grounds on which an appeal can be brought. In all these amendments we have used the phrase: on the ground that if removed from the United Kingdom he would be required to go to a country where he has a well-founded fear of persecution on grounds of race, religion, nationality, political opinions or membership of a particular social group". The problem with the 1951 convention—I pay all tribute to those who formulated it, because it was a remarkable achievement of its time—is that Article 33 only prevents states from sending refugees to a country where their life or freedom will be threatened. There is not any express provision in the convention prohibiting the return of persons to a country where they would be at risk of a form of persecution that does not involve a threat to life or liberty.

We know only too well from experience of the past 40 years that there are many forms of persecution other than threats to life or liberty. In the literal sense, infringement of life or liberty does not include torture. It does not include economic deprivation or starvation. It does not include many of the ways in which those in positions of authority or in positions of power without authority in countries where there is no established rule of law can prosecute persecution—I cannot bear that phrase.

The restrictive nature of the proposed right of appeal which is provided in the subsections of Clause 8 is reinforced by the provisions of the draft asylum rules which we have already discussed. They restrict the grant of asylum to those who are able to establish a threat to their life or freedom. Indeed, the current rules on asylum entitle a person to asylum on the basis that he has a well-founded fear of persecution for reasons in the convention. In those provisions it is necessary to prove a threat to life or liberty. We are saying that Article 33 is significantly more restrictive. The proposed asylum rules are significantly more restrictive than the provisions we wish to see as spelt out in our amendments.

Perhaps I may give some examples, although it is a very difficult thing to do. The essence of many of these cases is that persecution takes place in secret. Nevertheless, we may consider the example of a woman seeking to establish that she is likely to be the victim of intimidation by systematic rape or similar abuse if returned to her own country.

We have all read the newspapers in the past few weeks about the former Yugoslavia. We all know that there has been a form of oppression by systematic, deliberate rape of women of one nationality or religion by men of another nationality or religion. It does not come within Article 33 of the 1951 convention and it does not affect life or liberty. Nobody dies and nobody is detained as a result, but it is clearly persecution in any sense in which we would understand it.

Another example may be that of a man who seeks to establish that his family home or other property would be burnt down or otherwise destroyed in the event of his returning to the country. Again, nobody who has read the newspapers in recent weeks and months could deny that that is exactly what has been happening. I can stick to Yugoslavia or talk about Nagorno Karabakh or Somalia. There are many places where it is well known to all of us that this form of persecution takes place. It is not covered by Article 33 of the 1951 convention and it does not form a part of the right to appeal to a special adjudicator under Clause 8(1) of the Bill.

As regards a person seeking to establish that he will be the victim of any form of torture or other ill-treatment falling short of a threat to his life, I hardly need start to spell out the reality. It is well known that that is happening in many parts of the world. It is well known that if only people could get to a port of entry here they would put forward what would appear to any reasonable person to be a justifiable application for asylum. Article 33 of the 1951 Convention on Human Rights, with all its virtues, does not cover that and appeals under those circumstances to a special adjudicator would not be allowed.

All of these amendments appear to us to conform to what ordinary decent people would consider to be the kind of persecution from which we, as a civilised country, would wish to protect them if we could. I beg to move.

Lord Renton

The wise and high-minded principles stated in these three amendments in full are taken from the Convention on the Status of Refugees which, under the Bill, the Government and officials acting on their behalf are bound to observe and so are those who hear appeals. Frankly, we do not need to write them into the statute because the obligation is already there. Indeed, at the very point in the clause at which the amendment is to be inserted there is a reference to the United Kingdom's obligations under the Convention". Those obligations are stated in the amendments. I do not think that we need the amendments, especially when it is suggested that exactly the same words should be used in three places in one clause. That is most unusual. I do not think that we need to set it all out here.

Earl Ferrers

I am bound to say that I agree with my noble friend Lord Renton. These amendments would entitle a person to appeal against a refusal of asylum not only on the grounds that his removal would be contrary to our obligations under the 1951 convention but also on the ground that, if he was removed, he would have to go to a country where he has a well-founded fear of persecution. It seems superfluous and confusing to provide for that alternative ground of appeal.

Let us examine what happens. The asylum system is intended to protect the life and freedom of refugees. That is its whole point. When a person claims asylum, there are in essence two questions to be decided. The first is, does he have a well-founded fear of persecution on the grounds of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion? If the answer to that question is "yes", he is a refugee as defined in Article 1 of the 1951 convention. If he is a refugee, the second question is whether, if he were required to leave this country he would have to go to a country where his life or freedom would be threatened on account of one of these factors. If the answer to that second question is also "yes", then his removal would be contrary to the United Kingdom's obligations under Article 33 of the convention. Those are the issues to which those who are responsible for determining asylum claims and the authorities who are responsible for deciding asylum appeals must address their minds. Those are the issues which are covered by the grounds of appeal set out in Clause 8.

The amendments would be confusing and they are unnecessary. Clause 8, as drafted, permits any appeal to be considered in the full context of the convention. The amendments would merely confuse that.

Lord Renton

I said that the same words would be repeated three times, but what I meant is that they would be inserted four times altogether in one clause. We really cannot have that.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

I do not think that that is a problem. They would be inserted four times in the clause and once in the schedule, so the noble Lord is underestimating our persistence. There is no difference between spelling out the occasions when an appeal should be considered in the way that we have and spelling it out in the way that the Bill does, which is in terms of the convention. That is repeated many times in the Bill—and quite properly, in my view.

Our concern with these amendments is that Article 33 of the convention is inadequate for this purpose even if there is a threat to "life and liberty", which, if I may go back even further to 1945, were considered then in almost Rooseveltian terms. Perhaps I should go back to the Declaration of Independence and to the concept of "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness". Those phrases, however, are not adequate to reflect and represent the horrors which cause people to present themselves at our ports of entry.

I did not hear the Minister confirm the interpretation of the noble Lord, Lord Renton. Although this is not a matter on which I wish to seek the opinion of the Committee, it is certainly not a matter on which I can undertake to withdraw altogether. It may be a matter to which we shall wish to return at a later stage. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendments Nos. 31 to 38 not moved.]

[Amendment No. 39 had been withdrawn from the Marshalled List.]

Clause 8 agreed to.

10.15 p.m.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey moved Amendment No. 90: After Schedule 1, insert the following new schedule: