HOME AFFAIRS – DEMOCRACY AND ASYLUM – 27 June 2005

Dr Julian Lewis: At the end of his statement, the Home Secretary [Charles Clarke] said that when Zimbabwe eventually became a democracy it would be possible for all Zimbabweans to return. Given that that is his position, will the Government's stance be that we will fast-track the return of all people claiming asylum from countries that are recognised to be democracies already? That, surely, would maximise the time available and speed up the process whereby serious cases of people claiming asylum from dictatorships could be processed quickly and justly.

[Mr Clarke: We take exactly the stance that the hon. Gentleman suggests. Obviously it is much easier to remove people to places that are democracies, because all the various issues with which the courts would rightly be concerned must be addressed. If, however, the hon. Gentleman would like a seminar on the specific issues on a country-by-country basis, I should be delighted to give it to him.]