London politics latest LIVE: Rishi Sunak vows to remove channel migrants ‘within weeks’ under boats plan
Rishi Sunak vowed migrants arriving in the UK illegally would be removed "within weeks" as he gave a press conference on the Government’s controversial new proposals to crack down on small boat Channel crossings.
The plans, unveiled by Home Secretary Suella Braverman in the Commons on Tuesday afternoon, would remove and ban asylum seekers from re-entry if they arrive in the UK through unauthorised means.
Mr Sunak, who visited Dover in Kent earlier on Tuesday, said: “We are introducing legislation to make clear that if you come here illegally, you can’t claim asylum. You can’t benefit from our modern slavery protection. You can’t make serious human rights claims and you can’t stay.
“We will detain those who come here illegally and then remove them in weeks, either to their own country if it is safe to do so, or to a safe third country like Rwanda. And once you are removed, you will be banned – as you are in America and Australia – from ever re-entering our country.”
Describing the move as “tough” but “necessary and fair”, he added: “And this legislation will be retrospective. If you come on a small boat today, the measures in this bill will apply to you.”
The Government is likely to face legal challenges over the Illegal Migration Bill, amid allegations that it is not compliant with the UK’s commitments under the European Convention on Human Rights.
But Ms Braverman told MPs it would “betray” voters not to clamp down on the crossings, and claimed she was “confident” the bill would not breach international law, despite its “legal complexities”.
Critics have warned the proposals are “unworkable” and will leave thousands of migrants in limbo by banning them from ever claiming British citizenship.
But speaking during a visit to a Home Office joint control centre in Dover on Tuesday, Mr Rishi Sunak said “we’ve got to somehow break the cycle” of criminal gangs involved in migrant Channel crossings.
UN refugee agency ‘deeply concerned’ about UK asylum plans
18:33 , Josh Salisbury
The UN Refugee Agency has said it is “profoundly concerned” by the asylum bill.
In a statement, it called for the Goverment to find more “humane” ways to stop Channel crossings, and stressed there was no requirement under international law for asylum seekers to claim in the first safe country they reach.
“The legislation, if passed, would amount to an asylum ban – extinguishing the right to seek refugee protection in the United Kingdom for those who arrive irregularly, no matter how genuine and compelling their claim may be, and with no consideration of their individual circumstances,” it said.
“We urge the Government, and all MPs and Peers, to reconsider the Bill and instead pursue more humane and practical policy solutions.”
Sunak insists claims will be processed in ‘matter of days or weeks'
18:17 , Josh Salisbury
Rishi Sunak has insisted that the new bill would mean resolving claims within weeks, if not days.
He said: “Part of the problem we have got at the moment is people can frustrate the system because they can make one claim and then down the line they can make another claim, and then another claim.
“More than 70% of people who we detained pending a removal then filed a modern slavery claim. When we told people they were going to go to Rwanda, two-thirds of them claimed modern slavery towards the end of a process.
“We can't have a system like that which can be taken advantage of."
Mr Sunak said the Bill would ensure people make all their claims at the start of their asylum process and it would be processed in a “matter of days or weeks".
Sunak says UK would not have to leave European Convention on Human Rights for bill
18:11 , Josh Salisbury
Rishi Sunak said he did not think the UK would have to leave the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) if the Illegal Migration Bill is passed.
The Prime Minister told a press briefing: “We don't believe it is necessary to leave the ECHR.
“We believe we are acting in compliance with it and meeting our international obligations.
“And also, as I said, meeting our obligations to the British public to have control over our borders and ensure it is them and their elected government that is in control of whom is coming here.
“I believe we are acting entirely rightly and correctly in that regard."
Mr Sunak said he and the Home Secretary had worked “long and hard" to design legislation that is “tough, that is novel, that is ambitious, but that is in compliance with our international obligations".
Sunak insists bill is lawful: ‘We’re up for the fight'
18:02 , Josh Salisbury
Asked about the possiblity of legal challenges to the bill, Mr Sunak says: “Of course we’re up for the fight. We wouldn’t be standing here if we weren’t.
“But we’re actually confident we’re going to win.”
He says: “We believe it is lawful, that we are acting in compliance with our international obligations, and we’re also meeting our obligations to the British public to make sure they have control over their borders and it is them and their elected representatives who are deciding who comes here.”
He adds: “If challenged, we will fight that hard because we believe we’re doing the right thing and it’s in compliance with our international obligations.”
Sunak refuses to comment on Sue Gray partygate report
17:56 , Josh Salisbury
Away from migrant crossings, Rishi Sunak declines to say whether he still has faith in the integrity of Sue Gray's partygate report, amid her plans to join Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer's office.
The Prime Minister tells the press conference: “On Sue Gray, as you know, the Cabinet Office is reviewing the circumstances of her departure. I'm not going to pre-empt their findings so I'm not going to comment further on that situation.”
‘Nothing compassionate about allowing people to drown in Channel,’ says Sunak
17:53 , Josh Salisbury
Asked by ITV’s Robert Peston how the bill squares up to “British traditions” of compassion, Mr Sunak says this country has welcomed almost 500,000 people since 2015.
He says: “What’s not compassionate is to allow the current sitution to persist. There’s nothing compassionate about allowing vulnerable people to perish in the Channel.
“We had a stark reminder of that just a few weeks ago off the coast of Italy, where over 50 people died, including children.”
He adds: “There’s nothing compassionate or fair about us not being able to help the truly most vulnerable around the world because our system is being overwhelmed by those jumping the queue and coming here illegally.”
Sunak vows he can deliver on promise to stop boat crossings
17:48 , Josh Salisbury
Mr Sunak is now taking questions from the media.
The BBC’s Chris Mason asks if he does not stop the boats by the next election, whether that means he will have failed.
Mr Sunak responds: “I wouldn’t be standing here if I didn’t think I could deliver on this promise ... I’ve spent a lot of time thinking long and hard on how to solve this problem.
“[The bill] will mean for the first time we will have a system whereby if people come here ilegally, they won’t be able to stay, they will be detained and they will be swiftly removed.”
Sunak: We must stop boats to help ‘genuine refugees'
17:44 , Josh Salisbury
Mr Sunak says this will always be a compassionate country, but that deterrence works in preventing illegal migration.
“This will always be a compassionate and generous country, it’s something we’re all rightly proud of ... But the current situation is neither moral nor sustainable. It cannot go on.
“It’s completely unfair to the British people who have opened their homes to genuine refugees that are now having to spend nearly £6m a day to put up illegal migrants in hotels.
“It’s unfair to people who come here legally to see others skipping the queue. And it’s devastatingly unfair on those who most need our help but can’t get it as our asylum system is being overwhelmed by those travelling illegally across the Channel.
“If we can’t stop the boats, our ability to help genuine refugees will be constrained in the future.”
Sunak: Bill will ‘take back control’ of UK borders
17:39 , Josh Salisbury
Mr Sunak sets out the key principles of the highly controversial bill.
Those who arrive using unauthorised means will be barred from claiming asylum, removed to their home country or another “safe, third” country, and then banned from re-entering the country.
“This is how we will break the model of the people smugglers,” he says. “This is how we will take back control of our borders.”
Sunak: ‘People must know if they come here illegally they will be removed'
17:36 , Josh Salisbury
Rishi Sunak has begun his press conference on the bill by saying: “My policy is very simple. It is this country and your government who should decide who comes here and not criminal gangs.”
He says the number entering in small boats has quadrupled in two years, and says those making the journey have travelled through safe European countries.
Mr Sunak says criminal gangs are continuing to bring people across the Channel because they can make what he calls “spurious” human rights claims.
“With 100 million people displaced around the world, if we do not deal with it now, the situation will just get worse and worse,” he claims.
Graham Brady latest Tory to stand down at next election
16:42 , Josh Salisbury
Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the powerful 1922 Committee of Tory backbenchers, has announced he will stand down at the next general election.
As chairman of the committee since 2010, except for a short time in 2019, he has overseen the election of three party leaders and prime ministers - Theresa May, Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak - as well as no-confidence votes in Mrs May and Boris Johnson.
Sir Graham was the one to amass letters of no confidence from disgruntled MPs, keeping the number a closely-guarded secret until the threshold to trigger a vote was reached.
The MP for Altrincham and Sale West in Greater Manchester since 1997 told The Messenger local paper that he was bringing “this fascinating and fulfilling chapter of my life to a close".
Sunak: ‘We have to break cycle’ of Channel crossings
16:21 , Josh Salisbury
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said “we've got to somehow break the cycle" of criminal gangs involved in migrant Channel crossings.
Visiting a Home Office joint control centre in Dover on Tuesday, he told staff: “What you do is incredibly important and the Home Secretary has just (been in) Parliament talking about it because we've got to somehow break the cycle of these criminal gangs, and you guys on the front line are doing that, and I'm very grateful to all of you for what you're doing."
Mr Sunak was shown around a control room where staff talked through how they use tracking radars and monitor movements in the Channel.
Large screens displayed footage of what would on a normal day show boats destined for the UK travelling in real time.
Staff told him that on busy days “we have to prioritise, we have to look in the boats and see if there are women and children in there”.
Home Secretary 'admits legislation likely at odds with ECHR’
15:02 , Lydia Chantler-Hicks
Suella Braverman told MPs it is more likely than not that her new legislation to halt small boat crossings is not compatible with the European Convention on Human Rights.
In a letter seen by the PA news agency, the Home Secretary allegedly wrote that she has made a statement under provisions of the Human Rights Act because her plans are “robust and novel”.
“This does not mean that the provisions in the Bill are incompatible with the convention rights, only that there is a more 50% chance that they may not be,” she reportedly wrote.
“We are testing the limits but remain confident that this Bill is compatible with international law.”
Amnesty International slams Government’s plans
15:00 , Lydia Chantler-Hicks
There is nothing “fair, humane or even practical” in the Government’s plans for new laws to tackle Channel crossings, human rights organisation Amnesty International said.
Steve Valdez-Symonds, the group’s refugee and migrant rights director, said: “Attempting to disqualify people’s asylum claims en masse regardless of the strength of their case is a shocking new low for the Government.
“There is nothing fair, humane or even practical in this plan, and it’s frankly chilling to see ministers trying to remove human rights protections for groups of people whom they’ve chosen to scapegoat for their own failures.
“People fleeing persecution and conflict will be irreparably harmed by these proposals, while the UK is setting an utterly terrible example to other countries around the world.”
He accused the Government of “callously using vulnerable people for its own political ends”.
He added: “Ministers need to focus on the real issue – which is the urgent need to fairly and efficiently decide asylum claims while urgently introducing accessible schemes, so people seeking asylum do not have to rely on people smugglers and dangerous journeys.”
Most of those held after crossing Channel referred as potential slavery victims
14:42 , Lydia Chantler-Hicks
The majority of people detained after crossing the Channel to the UK in recent years have been referred as potential victims of modern slavery.
Almost all of those who came under the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) while awaiting their return from the UK were subsequently released from detention, the Home Office said.
Research published by the department on Tuesday said that, where people were detained for return having crossed the Channel in 2021, almost three-quarters were referred under the NRM – a system which identifies potential victims of modern slavery and human trafficking so their case can be considered.
For the period between January and September 2022 it was lower, at two-thirds.
‘Wrong to say wanting to control borders is racist’ says Suella Braverman
14:29 , Lydia Chantler-Hicks
Home Secretary Suella Braverman said it was “irresponsible to suggest that someone who wants to control our borders… is racist”.
She was speaking after Labour’s Khalid Mahmood (Birmingham Perry Barr) said: “Isn’t the truth this: this is purely to deal with the political agenda that she has, to try and get the red wall votes, red wall seats, but she’s trying to do that at the expense of xenophobia and racism, and that is not conducive to our constituents and the country.”
Ms Braverman replied: “It’s irresponsible to suggest that someone who wants to control our borders, someone who wants to say that the numbers are out of control and we need a firm line, a compassionate line, but a firm line on migration, is racist.
“That is irresponsible, it’s wrong and it shouldn’t be put forward.”
UK must leave the ECHR if new Bill fails, says former Tory minister
14:14 , Lydia Chantler-Hicks
The UK must leave the European Convention on Human Rights if the new Bill aimed at tackling small boat crossings does not work, a Conservative former minister claimed.
Former levelling up secretary Simon Clarke told the Commons that immigration was a “top priority” for his constituents in Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland, and said tackling the issue would “demonstrate that the Government is listening to their priorities and making sure that this country is able to control our borders”.
He added: “That being the case, we all hope this legislation will succeed, but will she promise that if it is frustrated by the European Convention on Human Rights that we will commit to leave it? Because leave it we must, if in the end this legislation is forestalled.”
Suella Braverman said last year’s ruling by the European Court of Human Rights which grounded a flight to Rwanda was “deeply regrettable”.
She added: “We are addressing that particular issue in this Bill to avoid that scenario playing out again. But in our view this Bill complies with our international obligations and we must take these measures now promptly.”
Immigration detention capacity will be increased, says Suella Braverman
14:10 , Lydia Chantler-Hicks
Conservative former minister Kevin Foster asked the Home Secretary: “What reassurance has she got that we’ll actually be able to create the relevant amount of detention capacity, have the right removal capacity necessary, without impacting on other vital immigration removal work like the removal of foreign national offenders?”
Ms Braverman replied: “We will be rolling out a programme of increasing immigration detention capacity, and that is something on which we’re working intensively.”
Home Secretary refuses to comment on reports RAF Scampton will house migrants
13:51 , Lydia Chantler-Hicks
Home Secretary Suella Braverman would not be drawn on reports of RAF Scampton being used to house asylum seekers.
Conservative former minister Sir Edward Leigh (Gainsborough) said: “Although it’s been all over the press this morning, West Lindsey District Council has not still been informed officially that the Home Office is planning to place migrants in former RAF Scampton.
“Will the Home Secretary assure me that if she overrides our objections and places migrants here, that she will work closely with me and the council to ensure it is strictly temporary, and that in no way does this upset the best deal that’s ever come to north Lincolnshire?”
Ms Braverman said: “My right honourable friend the immigration minister is working intensively to secure bespoke and appropriate, and, importantly, sustainable, asylum accommodation around a range of locations within the United Kingdom.
“We are working with local authorities and Members of Parliament, we want to make the right decision for communities, and that’s why all dialogue is welcome.”
Dianne Abbott: ‘I won’t vote for plans that would have led to my parents being dumped in Rwanda’
13:43 , Lydia Chantler-Hicks
Labour’s Diane Abbott said she will never vote for legislation that “would have led to my parents being detained and dumped in Rwanda”.
The MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington told the lower chamber: “As the child of migrants, can I assure the Home Secretary how much I deplore her seeking to smear migrants as a whole as criminals and rapists?
“Can I also assure the House that I will never vote for legislation that would have led to my parents being detained and dumped in Rwanda, and can she tell the House … she talks about detention and deportation.
“Where is she going to detain these people? There is not the capacity to detain these numbers of people and in terms of deportation, the only arrangement we have is with Rwanda.
“Rwanda has told us they can only take 200 people. Her tone, her legislation, her proposed actions, are deplorable and unworkable, and even at this late stage can she reconsider?”
Home Secretary Suella Braverman said it is “wrong and frankly naive and inflammatory to conflate people who come here legitimately abiding by our laws and come here on a legal basis, and those who are coming here breaking our laws illegally and putting themselves and others at risk”.
Small boats have not ‘overwhelmed’ asylum system, says Home Affairs Select Committee chair
13:35 , Lydia Chantler-Hicks
The Home Affairs Select Committee found that small boats have not “overwhelmed” the asylum system as the Home Secretary claimed, Dame Diana Johnson said.
The Labour chairwoman of the committee said that in its report on Channel crossings published last summer “we found that small boats have not overwhelmed the asylum system as the Home Secretary is claiming today”.
She added: “The backlog has been allowed to grow since 2013 and is now over 160,000, and we said poor resourcing by successive governments of staff and technology in the asylum operations function of the Home Office has been a significant factor in its collapse.”
The Home Secretary replied: “I think it’s clear for everyone to see that our asylum system has been overwhelmed by unprecedented numbers of people arriving here and very high numbers being processed currently.”
Asylum system currently costs taxpayer £3bn a year, says Braverman
13:31 , Lydia Chantler-Hicks
The asylum system now costs the British taxpayer £3 billion a year, the Home Secretary said.
“The small boats problem is part of a larger global migration crisis. In the coming years, developed countries will face unprecedented levels with pressures from ever greater numbers of people leaving the developing world for places like the United Kingdom,” Suella Braverman told MPs.
“Unless we act today, the problem will be worse tomorrow and the problem is already unsustainable. People are dying in the Channel.
“The volume of illegal arrivals has overwhelmed our asylum system. The backlog has ballooned to over 160,000.
“The asylum system now costs the British taxpayer £3 billion a year. Since 2018, some 85,000 people illegally entered the United Kingdom by small boat, 45,000 of them in 2022 alone, all travelled through multiple safe countries in which they could and should have claimed asylum.”
Government would ‘betray’ public by not responding to ‘waves of illegal migrants’ - Home Secretary
13:30 , Lydia Chantler-Hicks
Suella Braverman has said the Government would “betray the will of the people we were elected to serve” if it did not respond to “waves of illegal migrants breaching our borders”.
The Home Secretary told the Commons: “Now, the United Kingdom must always support the world’s most vulnerable. Since 2015, we have given sanctuary to nearly half a million people.
“These include 150,000 people from Hong Kong, 160,000 people from Ukraine, 25,000 Afghans fleeing the Taliban. Indeed, my own parents decades ago found security and opportunity in this country, something for which my family is eternally grateful.
“Crucially, these are decisions supported by the British people precisely because they were decisions made by the British people and their elected representatives, not by the people smugglers and other criminals breaking into Britain on a daily basis.
“For a Government not to respond to waves of illegal migrants breaching our borders would be to betray the will of the people we were elected to serve.”
Rachel Reeves says Government’s proposal a ‘rehash’ of previous plan
13:23 , Lydia Chantler-Hicks
Senior Labour MP Rachel Reeves said the UK Government’s plan for tackling the small boats crisis looked to be a “rehash” of what had previously been proposed.
The shadow chancellor, asked about the Illegal Migration Bill after her speech at the MakeUK conference in Westminster, said: “We haven’t seen the detail of what the Government is planning to do yet.
“But it is absolutely crucial we do reduce the small boats crossing the Channel.
“It is incredibly dangerous and people are losing their lives, and it is not right that people cross here illegally who are coming from safe countries.”
She added: “It looks at the moment like it is a rehash of what they have previously announced.
“But … we do share the objective that we need to reduce the number of boats crossing the Channel.”
‘Unspeakable tragedy’ on Channel, Braverman says
13:10 , Miriam Burrell
Liberal Democrat MP Wendy Chamberlain said that it’s “shocking” there is no specific safe route for women and girls from Afghanistan to move to the UK.
She said the UK is an “outlier” in this regard.
Suella Braverman said “unspeakable tragedy is occuring on the Channel...because of global migration crisis”.
Labour MP asks where detained people will be kept
13:07 , Miriam Burrell
Labour MP Diane Abbott said as the child of migrants, she urges the Home Secretary to stop smearing migrants as “criminals and rapists”.
“Can I also assure the House I will never vote for legislation that would have led to my parents being detained and dumped in Rwanda,” Ms Abbott said.
“Can she tell the House, where is she going to detain these people?” she asked Suella Braverman.
Ms Bravermans replied by saying it’s “inflammatory to conflate” people who come to the UK legitimately and those who come illegally.
“I urge her to choose her words carefully,” she told Ms Abbott.
Small boats have not overwhelmed asylum system, MP says
13:03 , Miriam Burrell
Dame Diana Johnson said small boats have not overwhelmed the system, but poor resourcing by successive Govenments has been a significant factor in the collapse of the asylum system.
Home Secretary Suella Braverman said there are “unprecedented” numbers of migrants arriving.
She said the Prime Minister is meeting with France this week to discuss plans in detail.
‘Do not get into that flimsy dinghy’, Home Secretary pleads
12:59 , Miriam Burrell
Suella Braverman said deterrance is a key theme in the Government’s Illegal Migration Bill.
“We want to send the message loud and clearly, do not do it,” she said.
“Do not get into that flimsly dingy...because you will not be entitled to a life in the UK.”
Labour are ‘against deterring’ illegal migrants, Braverman claims
12:56 , Miriam Burrell
Suella Braverman said “stop the boats” didn’t even feature in Labour’s five key plans if elected.
“The British people know why,” she said. “Deep down the leader of the Opposition doesn’t want to stop the boats. Labour MPs would prefer to write letters to stop the removal of foreign national offenders.
She added: “Labour are against deterring people who would come here illegally.”
‘This bill is a con’, Labour claims
12:53 , Miriam Burrell
Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper said: “This bill isn’t a solution, it’s a con that risks making the chaos worse.
“Britain is better than this,” she told MPs.
But Home Secretary Suella Braverman hit back, saying she has “no idea” what Labour’s plan is to tackle illegal migration.
‘This bill makes things harder’, Shadow Home Secretary says
12:51 , Miriam Burrell
Yvette Cooper said the Home Secretary has already admitted the Rwanda plan is failing.
The Shadow Home Secretary said if the Government was serious, it would be working internationally to get a plan in place with Germany and France.
”Instead this bill makes this harder...expecting every other country to carry on.”
‘Deeply damaging chaos’, Labour says
12:48 , Miriam Burrell
Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper told the House of Commons that the asylum system is in “deeply damaging chaos” and “there’s no point ministers trying to blame anyone else”.
“The asylum seeker system is broken and they broke it,” she said, blaming the Government.
Annual cap on refugees to be introduced
12:46 , Miriam Burrell
The bill will introduce an annual cap on refugees that the UK houses through safe and legal routes, Suella Braverman said.
“The British people are famously a fair and patient people...but they’ve seen their country taken for a ride,” she said.
“This can and will not continue. This Conservative Prime Minister will act now to stop the boats.”
Bill blocks use of modern slavery rule among illegal entrants
12:44 , Miriam Burrell
“Modern slavery laws are being abused to block removals,” the Home Secretary said.
“We granted more than 50 per cent of asylum requests from citizens of Albania.
“This bill disqualifies illegal entrants from using the modern slavery rule.”
‘The farce of accommodating migrants in hotels'
12:42 , Miriam Burrell
Ms Braverman has listed all actions the Government has taken to crack down on illegal migration.
The Home Secretary mentioned recruiting over 700 new staff members within a small boat operations group, signing a deal with Albania and procuring accommodation on military land to “end the farce of accommodating migrants in hotels”.
Global migration crisis to worsen, Braverman says
12:40 , Miriam Burrell
The Home Secretary said not acting on small boat crossings “would be to betray the will of the people which we were elected to serve”.
Suella Braverman said small boats crossing are part of a wider migration crisis. Countries will face “unprecedented” numbers of immigrants, she said.
Bill fulfills Prime Minister’s promise, Home Secretary says
12:37 , Miriam Burrell
Suella Braverman said two months ago the Prime Minister made a promise to the British people, saying anyone entering illegally will face consequences.
“The Illgal Migration Bill will fulfill that promise,” she said in the House of Commons.
Downing St admits ‘novel’ elements to new bill
12:31 , Miriam Burrell
Downing Street said the package of measures was designed to work within international law but acknowledged there were “novel” elements.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “This is a policy, these are a package of measures that are designed to work within international law.
“We are confident they are robust but these are novel, these are new approaches that we are taking.”
PM tells Cabinet bill acts ‘within international law’
12:08 , Miriam Burrell
The Prime Minister has told Cabinet ministers that the Illegal Migration Bill acts within international law.
Holding a meeting at Downing Street this morning, he said unauthorised crossings in small boats last year cost the taxpayer around £3 billion in hotel accommodation.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “Once we have stopped the boats and taken these steps, then we will have the ability to agree more safe and legal routes.”
Asked if it would not make more sense to increase the routes first, he said: “Certainly we don’t think it is right to introduce those routes at a time when you don’t have clarity on the numbers coming into the country.”
Rishi Sunak to visit ‘frontline’ workers in Dover
11:58 , Miriam Burrell
Rishi Sunak will hold a press conference from Downing Street after visiting Dover as he sets out his new legislation.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said the visit will be to “frontline officers working on the ground to prevent crossings and respond to incidents in the Channel”.
Law Society to ‘look carefully’ at bill
11:46 , Miriam Burrell
The Law Society said it will “look carefully” at whether the UK will uphold its international obligations with the new bill.
President Lubna Shuja said: “As with all legislation our lens will be the rule of law and acess to justice. We are concerned neighter of these principles have featured in the Government’s framing of thebill prior to publishing it.
“We will be looking carefully at whether Britain will uphold its international obligations and whether the Home Office can deliver a fair and workable process.”
Our President, @lubnashuja responds to news that legislation to address the small boats issue is due to be published this week. pic.twitter.com/SMAGCTLkKX
— The Law Society (@TheLawSociety) March 7, 2023
What is expected today?
11:21 , Miriam Burrell
Home Secretary Suella Braverman has briefed Cabinet members on the Government’s new Illegal Migration Bill this morning.
She is set to unveil details of the new legislation in a statement to the House of Commons at 12.30pm.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is expected to hold a press conference on the plans early this evening after visiting a command centre in south-east England.
Policy hits wave of criticism
11:05 , Miriam Burrell
The new bill was engulfed in a growing wave of criticism on Monday with warnings it would fail.
Former Cabinet minister David Davis believes it will be “nip and tuck” whether a single person is deported under the new system before the next election.
Sir David Normington, former head of the Home Office, said the policy faced “very great” practical problems about where to detain migrants arriving by small boats for up to 28 days.
Meanwhile Science Secretary Michelle Donelan could not explain how an Iranian citizen fearing persecution could legally claims asylum in the UK.
Asylum system ‘overwhelmed’, Home Secretary says
10:42 , Miriam Burrell
The asylum system is being “overwhelmed” and “enough is enough”, the Home Secretary has said.
Suella Braverman said she had been working “flat out for months” with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to draw up the Illegal Migration Bill.
She said that last year more than 45,000 people crossed the Channel in small boats.
Almost £7 million a day is being spent on hotels to house people while their claims are processed.
“This Bill will mean that if you come here illegally, you will not be able to stay. You will be detained and removed to your home country if safe, or a safe third country, like Rwanda,” she said.
🗣️ “Enough is enough. We must stop the boats.”@SuellaBraverman, The Home Secretary. pic.twitter.com/Ni4nhuh44b
— Home Office (@ukhomeoffice) March 7, 2023
Cabinet meeting ahead of announcement
10:32 , Miriam Burrell
Cabinet ministers have met at No 10 Downing Street ahead of Suella Braverman’s statement in the House of Commons this afternoon.
Reaction to the legislation
10:27 , Miriam Burrell
The Refugee Council claims the Government’s plan will leave 45,000 people at risk of “destitution and homelessnes each year, stuck in limbo and facing long periods locked up in detention”.
The Immigration Services Union, which represents border staff, said the plans are “quite confusing” and do not seem “possible” without the Rwanda policy functioning.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer raised doubts about the legality and feasibility of the plans after the last attempt to get tough on migrants failed “to get us very far”.
The Government's plans shatter the UK’s long-standing commitment under the UN Refugee Convention to give people a fair hearing regardless of the path they have taken to reach our shores. They will simply add more cost and chaos to the system. https://t.co/FVxRCZpCZI
— Refugee Council 🧡 (@refugeecouncil) March 6, 2023
What is the Government’s Illegal Migration Bill?
10:18 , Miriam Burrell
Under the new law, the Government can remove and ban asylum seekers from re-entry if they arrive in the UK through unauthorised means.
A duty will be placed on the Home Secretary to remove “as soon as reasonably practicable” anyone who arrives on a small boat, either to Rwanda or a “safe third country”.
Arrivals will be prevented from claiming asylum while in the UK, with plans also to ban them from returning once removed.
Home Secretary Suella Braverman said last year more than 45,000 people made the “unsafe, unnecessary and illegal journey across the Channel”.