Skip to main content

Deportation of Foreign Criminals

Volume 560: debated on Monday 25 March 2013

15. What assessment she has made of trends in the number of foreign criminals who have been deported since June 2010. (149421)

The UK Border Agency removed over 4,500 foreign national offenders in 2012, and have removed over 11,000 foreign national criminals since June 2010. There has been an increase in the number of appeals being lodged against deportation, which is why we implemented changes in the immigration rules last July to prevent criminals facing deportation from abusing the Human Rights Act.

The fact is that this Government are deporting 900 fewer foreign criminals a year than the previous Labour Government did. Why is this Government’s performance so poor?

If the hon. Gentleman had listened to my previous answer, he would know that there has been a significant increase in the number of appeals lodged by criminals; in 2012, the figure increased by 1,000. That is exactly why we have strengthened the ability to remove criminals by implementing changes in the immigration rules, and to ensure that that is enforced by tribunals. My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary has made it clear that we will take powers in primary legislation to do so.

Jamaicans and Nigerians make up a disproportionately large number of the foreign nationals in our jails. What assistance is my hon. Friend providing to the Secretary of State for Justice in negotiating compulsory prisoner transfer agreements with these two countries, and what progress is being made?

My hon. Friend will be pleased to know that the Nigerian Parliament has passed the legislation required to implement compulsory prisoner transfer, which means that in due course we will be able compulsorily to move prisoners to Nigeria, which I am sure he will welcome.

Might the trend in this area not be rather better if the Home Secretary had followed the advice of our hon. Friend the Member for Esher and Walton (Mr Raab), rather than that of others who have been consistently wrong?

I do not agree with my hon. Friend. The amendment proposed by our hon. Friend the Member for Esher and Walton would in our judgment have made it more difficult to deport foreign national offenders, rather than easier. That is why the Government will look at introducing amendments to primary legislation, when we have a suitable legislative vehicle, to implement the commitments that my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary made to the House.