The Bishop of Southwark received the following written answer on 1st December 2022:
The Lord Bishop of Southwark asked His Majesty’s Government, following the publication of figures by the Refugee Council on 14 October, how many applications for asylum have not had an initial decision reached for more than five years; and what factors have led to delays of that length.
Lord Murray of Blidworth (Con): The Home Office is unable to state how many applications for asylum have not had an initial decision reached for more than five years because the Home Office does not publish this information.
The Bishop of St Albans asked a question about the need for better communication with local communities and support organisations when housing asylum seekers on 15th November 2022:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, of course we are delighted at the hard work that the people at Manston are putting into this, but there is a very serious problem indeed. Just a few days ago, I had an email from one of my clergy who said that, during the week, large numbers of asylum seekers were moved in, without any warning to the local authority or local partners, and it has caused chaos. That means not only that we do not have the statutory support in place but that voluntary groups such as churches, which are trying to offer support, simply have no warning. Will he go back to his officials? We simply need to get the communication right and we will all work with the Government and other partners to try to solve this very difficult, agonising problem.
The Bishop of Durham asked a question about the future use of the Manston immigration facility, and whether children would be detained there, during a debate on the accommodation and safeguarding of migrants on 9th November 2022:
The Lord Bishop of Durham: How will His Majesty’s Government ensure that Manston will now remain a 24-hour facility only, in a way that can be scaled up if necessary, and that no children are detained there at all—or, at least, are not detained with adults who they do not know?
The Lord Bishop of Durham received the following written answers on 2nd November 2022:
The Lord Bishop of Durham asked His Majesty’s Government what is the estimated cost of reopening (1) the Campsfield House immigration removal centre in Kidlington, Oxfordshire, and (2) the Haslar immigration removal centre in Gosport, Hampshire.
Lord Murray of Blidworth (Con): As set out in the Prior Information Notice published on 21 September, the current estimated operating costs for Campsfield and Haslar immigration removal centres (IRC) for the lifetime of the 8 year contract will be £170 million and £229 million respectively. In addition to the operating costs, there are also costs associated with the refurbishment and new build of the sites.
The Lord Archbishop of York asked a question during a debate on the government’s Rwanda Asylum Partnership on 19th October 2022:
The Lord Archbishop of York: My Lords, the UK’s population, about 67 million, is five times that of Rwanda at about 13 million. Yet Rwanda, which is a country far poorer than us, as has already been pointed out, hosts one refugee for every 90 people whereas the figure here is one refugee for every 500 people. I do not think I can put my hand on my heart and say that the UK is doing its bit in a global crisis. I wonder whether the Minister would like to say what we are going to do to play our part in taking refugees here.
It is a deeply regrettable moment for us as a nation that the government is pursuing a policy that intends to transport asylum seekers to another country thousands of miles away, before and without considering their claim to asylum in the UK.
We have a rich history of providing sanctuary to those around the world fleeing war and persecution, and it is intolerable to see us abdicate both our moral responsibility and commitment to international law. This week, all of the 26 bishops of the Church of England who serve in the House of Lords signed a letter voicing our alarm over the government’s plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda.
All of the Lords Spiritual signed a letter to The Times voicing alarm about the Government’s plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda. They wrote:
Whether or not the first deportation flight leaves Britain today for Rwanda, this policy should shame us as a nation. Rwanda is a brave country recovering from catastrophic genocide. The shame is our own, because our Christian heritage should inspire us to treat asylum seekers with compassion, fairness and justice, as we have for centuries. Those to be deported to Rwanda have had no chance to appeal, or reunite with family in Britain. They have had no consideration of their asylum claim, recognition of their medical or other needs, or any attempt to understand their predicament.
The Bishop of Durham received the following written answer on 9th June 2022:
The Lord Bishop of Durham asked Her Majesty’s Government:
when they will publish the terms of reference for the Monitoring Committee, which was referred to in the Memorandum of Understanding with the government of the Republic of Rwanda for the provision of an asylum partnership arrangement; and when the Monitoring Committee will be operational.
whether individuals have been appointed to the Monitoring Committee that was set out in the Memorandum of Understanding with the government of the Republic of Rwanda for the provision of an asylum partnership arrangement.
whether co-chairs have been appointed to the Joint Committee that was to be established “without delay” after the asylum partnership arrangement with the government of the Republic of Rwanda came into effect.
The Bishop of Southwark received the following written answers on 26th May 2022:
The Lord Bishop of Southwark asked Her Majesty’s Government:
in respect of paragraph 9.1.2 of the Memorandum of Understanding with the government of Rwanda for an asylum partnership arrangement signed in Kigali on 13 April, what equivalent standard applies in Rwanda for the Home Office requirement that interpreters are members of the Institute of Translating and Interpreting, The Chartered Institute of Linguists, or if with a company, then the latter is a member of the Association of Translation Companies.