Debate on Small Boat Crossings

Diane Abbott Labour, Hackney North and Stoke Newington

Is there any truth in the reports that the Government want to have asylum seekers processed offshore in countries such as Gambia? Has any such country actually agreed to this? Does the Secretary of State accept that having people processed hundreds or thousands of miles away might meet the letter of our obligations to asylum seekers but certainly does not meet the spirit?

Priti Patel The Secretary of State for the Home Department

I absolutely disagree with the right hon. Lady’s question. Had she read the new plan for immigration—the policy statement published for the benefit of all Members in March 2021—she would know that this Government are considering all options for outsourcing processing and for removing people with no legal basis to be in our country. I completely recognise that she disagrees with the policies of this Government—[Interruption.] It matters not which countries. We will continue to discuss this with a range of countries, because I, as Home Secretary, and this Government are determined to fix the decades-long problem of a very broken asylum system. Frankly, under successive Labour Governments there were mass failures to remove people with no legal basis to be in the country.

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