Dr Julian Lewis: Like the Home Secretary and many other Members of this House, I am the descendant of immigrants who came to this country legally. I am campaigning for more immigrants to be brought here legally who are at risk in Afghanistan.
What I cannot understand is how people who come here illegally – particularly those who, having done that, commit very serious crimes – cannot then be deported because they apparently have absolute rights conferred by various conventions. Most rights are capable of being overridden in extreme circumstances. If we are signed up to such conventions, is it not about time we reviewed them?
[The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Priti Patel): My right hon. Friend makes some important points. First, as a country we always stand by our international obligations when it comes to people who are fleeing persecution and in need of refuge. That is what the Nationality and Borders Bill does and why we are creating safe and legal routes. My right hon. Friend will be familiar with much of our work that has taken place thus far with, for example, British nationals overseas – people from Hong Kong – and the work that is taking place on Afghanistan.
The removal of people with no legal right to be in the United Kingdom and all rights exhausted is at the heart of the new plan for immigration and the Nationality and Borders Bill, because too many last-minute claims come through immigration courts and tribunals and prevent the Government from removing people who have no legal right to be here. They include foreign national offenders, including rapists and murderers – people who have committed awful and abhorrent crimes on the streets of the United Kingdom. I have to say it is quite telling that there is a great deal of lobbying from the Labour party to actually stand by many of these foreign national offenders and keep them in our country.]