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Foreign Criminals (Deportation)

Volume 569: debated on Monday 28 October 2013

The Immigration Bill will put the law on the side of the public, deporting criminals first and hearing appeals later wherever possible, and cutting the number of appeal routes available. Importantly, the Bill also addresses the abuse of the right to a family life under article 8 and upholds the view of Parliament that convicted criminals should be deported.

My constituents in Poole welcomed the deportation of Abu Qatada but want to be reassured that the changes in the Immigration Bill will ensure that the law is on the side of law-abiding people from now on.

I know that my hon. Friend spoke in the Second Reading debate on the Bill and underlined those points. I was closely involved in the deportation of Abu Qatada, an important success for this Government, which was not achieved by the previous Government. That case showed the number of appeals that are possible and the slowness of the process. That is why it is right that we tackle the number of appeals. Seventeen potential appeal routes are available. We want to reduce that to four and to cut down on the abuses of the system.

The changes in the Immigration Bill will mean that those who are caught trying to enter a sham marriage will be deported from this country. I wholly welcome that, but when the Minister eventually answered some questions from me three months late, he revealed that the number of occasions when a registrar has written to the Home Office under section 24 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 to notify it of significant concern about a possible sham marriage has risen dramatically since 2010. There are measures to deal with that in future, but why has that happened?

It is important to tackle sham marriages, and that is why the Bill has specific measures to address that. The Government are very focused on deporting those who should not be in this country. That is why we are taking the steps we are in the Bill.