Lib Dems press government on LGBT asylum seekers
A House of Lords debate yesterday focused on LGBT asylum seekers – but answers were not forthcoming from the government to questions put by Lib Dem peers.
Lord Scriven asked,
To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many people claiming asylum in the last year did so on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity; and of those, how many have been granted asylum.
For the government, Baroness Williams of Trafford responded:
My Lords, the Home Office does not publish statistics on the basis of asylum claims or the decisions arising from them. This is true for claims relating to gender and sexual identity. The Home Office is considering how data from its casework database may be assured and used to provide such information to a sufficiently accurate standard.
Lord Scriven pressed further:
My Lords, I thank the Minister for that Answer, but those who sit on the Home Office strategic engagement group, set up after the Vine report in June 2014, will be surprised by it. At the last meeting, in September of this year, a senior civil servant said that the only reason that the statistics have not yet been published is because they are waiting for authority from the Minister. Which is wrong: the Answer from the Dispatch Box or the civil servant, who says that they will be published with the authority of the Minister?
Former Lib Dem candidate for Mayor of London, Lord Paddick, challenged the government over its refusal to give any information about what is happening on this issue:
My Lords, can the Minister explain how this House can hold the Government to account if they refuse to publish the figures?
Another Lib Dem peer, Baroness Barker offered a variation on the theme,
My Lords, the department has been sitting on this information for two years. In that time, how many LGBT people have claimed asylum on the basis of their sexual orientation and how many of them have been denied?
But alas, the Minister again avoided answering:
My Lords, as I said, those data are not published, so I cannot give the noble Baroness an answer at this time.