'Strip the Home Office of Power in Asylum Cases'; FORMER IMMIGRATION MINISTER CALLS FOR INDEPENDENT PANEL TO RESTORE CONFIDENCE

The Evening Standard (London, England), April 5, 2004 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

'Strip the Home Office of Power in Asylum Cases'; FORMER IMMIGRATION MINISTER CALLS FOR INDEPENDENT PANEL TO RESTORE CONFIDENCE


Byline: PAUL WAUGH

THE HOME Office should be stripped of its powers to decide asylum cases and the job given to an independent body to restore public confidence in the system, a former Immigration Minister urged today.

In an interview with the Evening Standard, Barbara Roche, MP for Hornsey and Wood Green, said there was a need for radical change to persuade voters that the Government was treating their concerns seriously.

Other reforms could include an independent source of statistics to boost the credibility of official figures and a streamlining of the post of Immigration Minister to focus solely on migration and asylum, she said. Her remarks came as Tony Blair prepared for an emergency Downing Street summit on immmigration tomorrow in a bid to defuse the crisis that has engulfed him since Beverley Hughes quit as Immigration minister last week.

The Home Office faced fresh criticism today amid reports that officials had deliberately avoided arresting illegal-immigrants over fears that they would claim asylum and ruin Mr Blair's attempts to get the figures down. Ms Hughes was forced to quit when it emerged that she had misled the public over allegations that Romanian migrant scams were being ignored by the Immigration and Nationality Department.

Commenting for the first time on the affair, Ms Roche said that the resignation of her predecessor as Immigration Minister underlined the need for a fundamental shake-up in the Home Office. "I felt extremely sorry for Bev, watching it unfold the way it did. I think she is a very, very decent person.

But it is a tough job at the best of times," she said.

Ms Roche, who left the Government last summer, said one major reform that could transform the situation would be to take asylum decisions out of the hands of the Home Office's much criticised Immigration and Nationality Department.

The IND handles 80,000 asylum applications a year and any appeals go to an immigration tribunal and then a further appeal tribunal if disputes are unresolved.

Ms Roche favours Britain following Canada and Denmark, which have an independent body rather than civil servants determining most of their claims.

"We should make the whole system independent of Government from the beginning," she said. "You could have decisions made independently, quasi-judicially, then that would be good for both applicants and for the public as it would boost confidence in the system.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

'Strip the Home Office of Power in Asylum Cases'; FORMER IMMIGRATION MINISTER CALLS FOR INDEPENDENT PANEL TO RESTORE CONFIDENCE
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?