Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesperson Simon Hughes has slammed
the system of processing asylum applications.
He branded it “unsatisfactory” and called for a number of policy
reforms to be made.
Hughes was giving evidence to the House of Commons home affairs
committee, now chaired by former home office minister John
He highlighted the problems with accommodation and dispersal that
asylum seekers can encounter, saying that his “greatest concern”
was that people are sent to live in “inappropriate places”.
He criticised section 55 of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum
Act 2002, which denies asylum seekers support unless they make
their claims immediately, as “extremely damaging to individuals and
to social cohesion”.
He said it would push more people into the illegal economy, and
called for it to be repealed as soon as possible.
Hughes called the government’s plans to place asylum seekers in
transit processing centres outside the European Union while their
claims are decided as “cloud cuckoo-land” and said it was
“unacceptable to shuffle off our responsibilities to countries
hugely poorer than ours”.
Although Hughes said the responsibility of asylum should be shared,
he insisted that a “quota” system, as proposed by the
Conservatives, would not be viable because it is impossible to
determine how many people will apply for asylum.
Liberal Democrat policy is that asylum seekers should be allowed to
work to support themselves.