Asylum and Immigration — 2 Feb 2000
Oliver Letwin MP, West Dorset voted with the majority (No).
I beg to move,
That this House condemns the Government's failure to deal with the widespread abuse of the right to political asylum and its incompetent management of the Immigration and Nationality Directorate; notes that the number of asylum applications in 1999 exceeded 71,000, more than double the total inherited by the Government when it came to office, and that the backlog of unprocessed asylum applications has doubled over the past two years to a total of more than 100,000; further notes with great concern the Seventh Report of the Committee of Public Accounts (HC 130) about the Government's mismanagement of the Immigration and Nationality Directorate, and the fears of local authorities about the practical difficulties associated with the asylum seekers dispersal scheme; believes that the Government's 'soft touch' policy has helped bring about the current crisis; and calls upon the Government to take urgent action to reduce the backlog of unprocessed immigration and asylum applications, to put in place new and effective systems of enforcement and to ensure the integrity of the United Kingdom's immigration and asylum controls.
I beg to move, To leave out from "House" to the end of the Question, and to add instead thereof:
"believes that both the last Government and the present Government have failed to respond properly to the asylum, immigration and nationality demands made of this country; is aware of widespread discontent with the delays in processing immigration applications and that the number of unprocessed asylum applications has doubled over the previous two years to a total of over 100,000; takes very seriously the Seventh Report of the Committee of Public Accounts (HC 130), which criticises the Government's mismanagement of the Immigration and Nationality Directorate and the fears of local authorities about the practical difficulties associated with the asylum-seekers dispersal scheme; calls upon the Government, which has now been in office for over a thousand days, to take more effective and urgent action to reduce the backlog of unprocessed applications and to improve the effectiveness of decision-making; believes that the necessary staff should be employed immediately so that good-quality decisions can be made quickly, and that the interests of applicants and taxpayers alike can be met in a system which treats every applicant fairly; and supports the Commission
The PCS concluded that it
"firmly believes that unless the implementation of these provisions are accompanied by the investment of significant additional resources in the form of extra staff, further delays and backlogs are inevitable, jeopardising not only the viability of this particular strategy but the main aims of the Bill, in general."--[ Official Report, Special Standing Committee , 22 March 1999; c. 448-49.]
He described it, I regret to say, as "a losing battle." That is one of the problems. It is all very well hearing and dismissing appeals, but, after that, one does absolutely nothing. That means that the interests of genuine asylum applicants are not met and are damaged.
Question put, That the amendment be made:--
The House divided: Ayes 38, Noes 147.
Votes by party, red entries are votes against the majority for that party.
What is Tell? '+1 tell' means that in addition one member of that party was a teller for that division lobby.
What are Boths? An MP can vote both aye and no in the same division. The boths page explains this.
What is Turnout? This is measured against the total membership of the party at the time of the vote.
|Party||Majority (No)||Minority (Aye)||Both||Turnout|
|Con||142 (+2 tell)||0||0||89.4%|
|LDem||0||35 (+2 tell)||0||80.4%|