One of my pet loathings of parliamentarians is the techniques some of them use to avoid answering a question that could cause them embarrassment and stir anger among voters.
The latest example of this can be seen in a written answer to a question asked about the use of the European Convention on Human Rights to avoid legal removal from the UK.
Mr Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many deportations from the UK did not proceed as a consequence of the application of the provisions of (a) Article 3 and (b) Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights in each year since 2005; and if she will make a statement.
Damian Green: In responding to this question, we have assumed ‘deportations’ to mean ‘removals’.
The UK Border Agency does not record this information centrally. Providing a breakdown of specific reasons for removals not to be pursued, either at initial decision stage or following a successful appeal, can only be determined by investigating individual case files which would incur a disproportionate cost.
If this country takes immigration matters seriously then this is exactly the kind of information the Home
Office Department should be recording centrally. Perhaps there was a conscious decision made not to record this information centrally because it would highlight the systemic failures within the Home Department and the reveal the true extent of ECHR interference in Britain’s ability to determine who may reside here.
What is also interesting is the call for a statement has been completely ignored. Despite immigration being one of the top three issues for voters at the last election, the government has no interest in upholding our laws, dealing with offenders correctly or being held to account on the subject.
The Labour opposition do not care about this issue. After all, it was they who deliberately opened up this country’s borders in the first place to make the UK more multicultural and diverse. The Lib Dems want a world without borders run by the UN so they don’t care. So that leaves the mainstream media, who are now permanently asleep at the wheel and would not look at this issue unless it landed on their desk in the form of a press release; and bloggers increasingly embarrass the media by uncovering such an issue and probing at it until someone prominent adopts it as a problem in need of remedy – at which point the media arrives to present the story as their own exclusive.