17 July 2014, The Tablet

Life on the periphery

by Sarah Teather

As the number of would-be settlers in detention soars to nearly 800, the MP chairing an inquiry into British immigration policy describes how she became convinced it is unfit for purpose My first advice surgery as a newly elected MP is one I will never forget. It was, for me, a kind of conversion experience, turning my sense of reality upside down. There were at least 50 people waiting for me that cold Friday night.One by one, they filed in and emptied out on to the table in front of me plastic bags full of dog-eared correspondence with the Home Office, some stretching back a decade or more, and with it glimpses of lives held in limbo. In broken English – accents I had not yet learned to decipher – I heard snippets of trauma and desperation I have never forgotten. Rape, tortu
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