Skip to main content

Immigration Centres

Volume 457: debated on Monday 19 February 2007

As a result of the effective use of detention, we have been able to deliver record removals of failed asylum seekers and deportations. Detention will always be for as short a time as possible and no longer than necessary.

Because of overcrowding in prisons, the Minister has adopted a policy of moving foreign national criminals from prisons into detention centres, which has caused tensions such as those that we saw at the time of the riots at Harmondsworth. Will she now openly admit that that failed policy has been a complete disaster?

May I tell the hon. Gentleman that delivering additional detention capacity will help us to manage better the overall speed with which we can deal with all types of immigration detainees? It is important to remember that the vast majority of detainees pass through detention in a matter of weeks, if not days. However, detention is often prolonged by individuals with no right to be here refusing to leave voluntarily and frustrating our attempts to remove them. They can leave voluntarily at any point.