My question to the Minister at Justice and the Home Office querying how the Government’s Nationality and Borders Bill, unamended, would tackle people smuggling.
If the legislation is carried in the way the Minister wishes, what impact will it have on the awful, vile trade through small boats? Will it stop it? Is there a danger that the UK courts will overturn the intent?
Tom Pursglove, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Ministry of Justice and Home Office):
The measures in the Bill are significant. We have recognised—the Home Secretary has consistently recognised this and I recognise it as the Minister responsible for tackling illegal immigration—that the asylum system in this country is currently broken. The length of time it takes to process claims is unacceptable and we need to improve the situation. The Government’s intention is clearly stated: to improve the way we process claims. We expect individuals who seek to claim asylum in this country to comply with the requirements, but of course safety nets are in place, for good reasons, so that it will be taken appropriately into account if people cannot meet the deadlines. We believe that progressing on the basis of processing claims more quickly and removing those with no right to be here will make quite a significant difference. Importantly, it is also about the work that we do not just with our nearest neighbours in, for example, France and Belgium—that collaboration is important and is delivering results, and we want to secure a returns agreement that will help to build on that—but further upstream in removing those with no right to be here back to source countries.