The Liberal Democrats have criticised the Conservative government following today's Supreme Court judgment, which found that five asylum seekers had been unlawfully detained. The Liberal Democrats are committed to making immigration detention an absolute last resort.
The judgment concerns five asylum seekers, each detained for more than a month in 2015. One was detained for 16 weeks, from 18 August to 8 December. The Supreme Court unanimously ruled that they were wrongfully detained, and that they are entitled to compensation.
The Liberal Democrat manifesto commits to making immigration detention an absolute last resort, introducing a 28-day time limit on detention and closing seven of the UK’s nine detention centres.
More than 24,000 people are put into detention centres each year, at a cost to the taxpayer of £90 million a year. On top of this, the Home Office had to pay out £8 million last year in compensation for 312 cases of wrongful detention.
Liberal Democrat Shadow Home Secretary Christine Jardine said:
“The Conservatives’ excessive use of immigration detention is inhumane, unnecessary and expensive – as this case demonstrates.
“Not only did the Home Office cause misery and waste money unlawfully detaining these people in the first place, they then wasted even more taxpayer money fighting this case all the way up to the Supreme Court. And now they’ll have to pay compensation too.
“The Liberal Democrats will put compassion and common sense at the heart of our immigration system by ending indefinite detention and making any detention an absolute last resort.
“We will build a brighter future where everyone is treated with dignity and respect, and where taxpayers’ money is not wasted defending unlawful Home Office actions.”