Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Home Affairs, Alistair Carmichael, has today called for greater independent inspections for asylum accommodation, as supported by the British Red Cross, in light of the latest ruling of unlawful behaviour by the government. Mr Carmichael raised concerns in Parliament about the need for real independent inspections, as the report from a past inspection in February continues to sit with the Home Office for publication.
Speaking in the House, Mr Carmichael said:
“The British Red Cross in their recent report made a recommendation that the Home Office should introduce a formal, independent inspection regime for asylum accommodation with publicly available reports, in order to better monitor the quality and effectiveness of support provided and improve transparency and accountability for decisions. Surely in the Home Office’s own interests, that would be preferable to a status quo where they are left to mark their own homework or to be called out by the courts?”
Responding for the government, Chris Philp MP said:
“Well, we don’t mark our own homework, we are very widely inspected, in fact there was an inspection by the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigrations just a few months ago, into Napier.”
Reacting after the exchange, Mr Carmichael said:
“If Chris Philp is not marking his own homework then he is effectively saying that the dog has eaten it. The inspection Mr Philp refers to happened in February. The full report is complete. It has not been published, however, because it is sitting with the Home Office. Independent inspections should not be dependent on when the Home Office decides it can handle the embarrassment.
“We know that the final report is likely to be embarrassing for the Home Office because the initial findings in March – long before this latest ruling of unlawful behaviour – were already damning. Words like “filthy”, “unworkable” and “decrepit” hardly suggested that all was well – small wonder then that they are following the familiar Home Office approach of denial and obstruction. Sunlight is the best disinfectant for this grimy affair – it is time for real independent inspections.”