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Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 July, 2003, 14:18 GMT 15:18 UK
Asylum in committee
Photo of the headquarters of the Home Office Immigration, Nationality and Asylum Department in Croyden
The Home Affairs Committee gets behind the asylum issue

BBC Parliament presented a special day of programming in conjunction with BBC One's Asylum Day.

The channel devoted nearly 12 hours of airtime to the Home Affairs Committee's inquiry into Asylum and Immigration.

The inquiry was launched in February to consider the following:-

Home Affairs Committee members
John Denham, chairman, Southampton, Itchen (Labour)
Janet Andersen, Rossendale & Darwen (Labour)
David Cameron, Witney (Conservative)
James Clappison, Hertsmere (Conservative)
Claire Curtis-Thomas, Crosby (Labour)
Janet Dean, Burton (Labour)
Gwyn Prosser, Dover (Labour)
Bob Russell, Colchester (Liberal Democrats)
Marsha Singh, Bradford West, Labour
David Winnick, Walsall North (Labour)
Ann Widdecombe, Maidstone & The Weald (Conservative)

  • The reasons for increases in asylum applications in the past 10 years

  • Whether asylum applications are dealt with adequately and fairly at the moment and why a backlog has occured.

  • Whether the support provided by the National Asylum Support Network is adequate.

  • Whether detention is used appropriately for asylum applicants.

  • The effects on the management of asylum applications of changes made in the National Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 and the prime minister's pledge to halve the number of asylum seekers by September 2003.


    BBC Parliament broadcast the six meetings to date:-

    Meeting from Thursday 8 May: to set up the inquiry with the Minister of State for the Home Office, Beverley Hughes MP, presenting evidence.

    Meeting from Tuesday 13 May: with evidence from the Director of Social Services at Kent County Council, Peter Gilroy, and two writers on the subject of terrorism and asylum, respectively, Martin Howe QC and Harriet Sargeant.

    Meeting from Tuesday 20 May: with contributions from Amnesty International, the United Nations Commission for Refugees and the independent think tank Demos.

    Meeting from Thursday 5 June: with the Immigration Advisory Service, the Law Society and the Refugee Council.

    Meeting from Thursday 17 June: with an appearance by the Shadow Home Secretary Oliver Letwin, MP.

    Into the autumn

    The Committee will meet again after the summer recess to resume its inquiry.

    The first evidence session is set for Tuesday 9 September, when a panel of former asylum seekers will put their cases.

    Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Home and Legal Affairs Simon Hughes MP is due to appear on Tuesday 16 September.

    And Home Office Minister of State Beverley Hughes MP will wind up the hearings on Tuesday 21 October.

    You can follow proceedings on BBC Parliament on Channel 45 on Freeview and Channel 508 on Sky and cable.


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