Clause 29 - Article 1(A)(2):well-founded fear

Part of Nationality and Borders Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 5:13 pm ar 26 Hydref 2021.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Tom Pursglove Tom Pursglove Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Ministry of Justice and Home Office) 5:13, 26 Hydref 2021

On the concerns around LGBTQ+ individuals, we have acknowledged that it may be more difficult to prove such claims compared with individuals making applications based on other convention reasons. We already have specific asylum policy instruction on considering such claims, which sets out in detail how caseworkers should fully investigate the key issues through a focused, professional and sensitive approach to questioning. As part of the operationalisation of the programme, we will seek to update the training and guidance provided to decision makers. That will concentrate on interviews, to ensure that they are sufficiently detailed to enable claimants to meet the standard. I hope that gives the hon. Member some reassurance. I will of course write to him on his earlier point.

The second element of the test—whether the claimant would be persecuted if returned to their country of origin or their country of former habitual residence—remains at the reasonable degree of likelihood standard of proof. The subjective element—the future fear—is naturally harder for the claimant to demonstrate. Consequently, a lower standard of proof is appropriate.

Responses to the public consultation as well as recent reports from non-governmental organisations have warned of the effects that the clause will have on those with certain protected characteristics, including those with LGBT+ claims. The Committee should be assured that we have considered that carefully, and there are several ways in which we will ensure that such individuals are not disadvantaged by the change. It is worth reflecting on the points I made and the explanation I set out in response to the hon. Member’s intervention. In the light of those points, I hope he will agree to withdraw the amendment.