Peter Lilley, MP for Hitchin and Harpenden, yesterday challenged the Prime Minister to say how much the country has had to pay for Labour?s decision to allow bogus asylum seekers to claim benefits after Peter Lilley had removed their right to benefit. During Prime Minister?s Question Time, Mr. Lilley welcomed the government?s recent decision to restore his measures removing benefits from those who claim asylum well after they enter the country but pointed to the huge cost of five years of mistaken policy.
Peter Lilley said after the exchanges:
“Only now has Labour reinstated measures (which I first introduced when I was responsible for Social Security) to remove the right to benefits from those who enter Britain as businessmen, tourists or students, but subsequently claim asylum. When Labour came to power in 1997 they foolishly endorsed court moves to reintroduce the right to benefit. As a result the number of asylum seekers has doubled since then ? placing a huge burden on an already stretched social security budget.
“The Prime Minister failed to answer my direct question about the cost of his refusal to uphold my original reforms when he came to power in 1997. Instead he deliberately answered a different question. The government must acknowledge that its U-turns over asylum have created chaos, confusion and cost. If the present rate continues, 2.5 million immigrants will arrive in the UK in the next decade ? requiring us to build every year three times as many homes as there are in Hitchin and Harpenden. It is vital that the government gets a grip now.?