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Volume 493: debated on Wednesday 3 June 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many scheduled deportations were cancelled in 2008. (276564)

Internal management information, which is unaudited data and is subject to change, indicates that there were around 1,000 occasions in 2008 where there was a need to reschedule removal directions for those who were subject to deportation orders. These data are centrally collated and are not broken down to account for the number of individuals they refer to or the reasons as to why removal directions were rescheduled.

The chief executive of the UK Border Agency has regularly written to the Home Affairs Select Committee in order to provide robust and accurate information on the deportation of foreign national criminals. She has explained that there are several issues which may cause deportation to be rescheduled. For example, there may be occasions when it is administratively cheaper or easier to reschedule a flight or last minute representations and judicial reviews launched by legal representatives or individual’s behaviour becomes unmanageably obstructive, including use of ‘dirty protests’, and when there are last minute documentation issues.

Much progress has been made to minimise the impact of these issues which is demonstrated in the continued record performance of the agency in deporting or removing foreign national prisoners, where nearly 5,400 were removed in 2008. As confirmed in the UK Border Agency’s 2009-10 business plan, it will continue to aim to deport or remove record numbers of foreign criminals in the forthcoming year.