G4S’ contract to run the Brook House immigration removal centre has been extended for another two years. This comes less than a year after undercover footage broadcast by the BBC’s Panorama showed detainees at Brook House subjected to verbally and physically abused, amid drug abuse and suicide attempts.
I wanted to know how much to aborted tender process cost the UK taxpayer and was there more than one bidder when the contract came up for renewal. The response I received was muddled. The minister continued to repeat the phrase ‘due diligence’ but was unable to give specifics to my points.
I am concerned that a company has been given the rights to continue to provide this service without the necessary safeguards to protect either the taxpayer or those using the service.
I have continued to press for the victims of the contaminated blood scandal – where people were given contaminated blood via the NHS during the 1970s and 80s – and we have secured another concession from the Government. Through our campaigning we have secured legal aid for those submitting evidence to the enquiry.
However, I wanted more details from the minister on if a cap would be in place. The minister said it was for the lawyers to decide what a reasonable level would be. I will continue to press for further details as we go forward as people need assurances that they will be supported through this difficult process.
Following the High Court ruling against the Parole Board that John Worboys should not be released, the Chair of the Parole Board – Nick Hardwick – resigned. I wanted to understand what the Secretary of State meant in his statement regarding rule 25.
This rule currently allows the Parole Board to keep the decision making process on granting parole secret. It is obvious that more transparency is needed and the public should know as many of the facts as possible behind the decisions taken to release a prisoner early.
I am sure the Government will produce more findings and reports on this technical, but important, rule and I will scrutinise it closely to ensure it meets the transparency we all expect from our public bodies.
It was announced by the Prime Minister that the Government will no longer be introducing its White Paper – which is a consultation document on proposed legislation – until October 2018.
This doesn’t leave very much time for Parliament to debate and amendment the legislation before leaving the EU. If the document is published in October this year the consultation will have to run for around 12 weeks, meaning that the Bill is produced until early 2019. The Government then has three months to get it through both the House of Commons and Lords before we leave the EU. This will no doubt be a contentious Bill and hopes of passing it within that tiny time frame is ridiculous.
As you can hear the rest of the Commons didn’t think it possible either.