Senior Tory MP blames Home Office for small boats crisis

·2-min read

Failures at the Home Office are to blame for the small boats crisis, a senior Tory MP has said.

Sir Bob Neill criticised Suella Braverman’s planned immigration reforms for focusing too heavily on the law rather than tackling the asylum backlog.

People who cross the English Channel are not going through the tribunals system quickly enough because of a lack of resources, the chair of the Justice Select Committee suggested.

The Illegal Migration Bill would change the law so people who risk the journey from France are detained and then promptly removed, either to their home country or a safe third country such as Rwanda.

The plan to send migrants to the east African nation – a policy ruled lawful by High Court judges – has so far been stalled by legal action and no flights have taken off.

Asked on GB News whether the reforms in the Bill will work, Sir Bob said: “I’m not convinced they will. A lot of the emphasis has been put on changing the law and on legislative solutions.

“I don’t think that’s where the issue lies. The real problem is that the system doesn’t work efficiently enough. We’re not getting a system where people who come in, potentially unlawfully, are being sent through the immigration tribunal and asylum system quickly enough.

“Administrative failures of the Home Office are to blame. That’s happened under successive home secretaries going back over years. The Home Office is not efficient. Changing legal tests won’t matter if you haven’t got enough people to do the investigations. I would put more resources into that. ”

MPs backed the Home Secretary’s Bill by 289 votes to 230 in the Commons last week.

Although the legislation cleared the lower chamber, it will face a stiff test in the Lords when it undergoes further scrutiny.

Critics of the legislation have dismissed it as unworkable, while right-wing Conservative MPs believe it does not go far enough.

Others on the liberal wing of the party, including former prime minister Theresa May and former leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith, want greater protections for minors and victims of human trafficking.

Ministers have already given in to some demands to avoid potential revolts, with a series of Government amendments approved in the Commons.

The Government has been unable to say whether the legislation complies with the European Convention on Human Rights.

The Refugee Council and Barnardo’s estimated the Bill could lead to the detention of nearly 15,000 lone migrant children over the next three years.

More than 5,500 people have arrived in the UK after crossing the Channel this year, according to Government figures.