Suella Braverman has said the government’s plan to tackle the migrant Channel crossings crisis in the illegal migration bill is “compassionate but necessary and fair”.
The government’s new plan, revealed yesterday in the House of Commons, is designed to stop migrants entering the UK on small boats, after more than 45,000 crossed the Channel last year.
If passed, the home secretary said the legislation would mean last-minute judicial reviews “conducted late at night with no chance to make our case or even appeal decisions” are no longer allowed.
It would also see arrivals detained within the first 28 days without bail or judicial review. The majority of those who enter on “small boats” would then be unable to make claims to stop deportation until they have been returned to the country they came from or a “safe third country such as Rwanda”.
The Rwanda plan is currently stuck in the courts but the home secretary said if and when the deal is finally implemented there will be “considerable capacity” to allow potentially many thousands of people to be sent.
Those who arrive will also be banned from claiming UK settlement, citizenship or re-entering the UK if they are removed.
The bill has come under severe criticism from opposition MPs and refugee charities. Labour has described the bill as a “con”, arguing that it was no more likely to be successful than prior government efforts to tackle small boat migration across the Channel.
Amnesty International and the UN Refugee Agency added that the plans “amount to an asylum ban”.
Opponents of the legislation have also suggested that the plan does not comply with the UK’s legal obligations.
It comes after Suella Braverman told MPs yesterday that there was a more than 50 per cent chance that the new illegal migration bill may not comply with the European Convention on Human Rights.
A statement made by the home secretary on the first page of the published bill also details: “I am unable to make a statement that, in my view, the provisions of the illegal migration bill are compatible with the Convention rights, but the government nevertheless wishes the House to proceed with the bill”.
However, the home secretary told Sky News this morning: “We are not breaking the law and no government representative has said that we are breaking the law.
“In fact we have made it very clear that we believe we are in compliance with all of our international obligations, for example the Refugee Convention, the European Convention on Human Rights, other conventions to which we are subject.
“But what is important is that we do need to take compassionate but necessary and fair measures now because there are people who are dying to try and get here, they are breaking our laws, they are abusing the generosity of the British people.”
She also assured Sky News: “We are not breaking the law. We are very confident that our measures that we announced yesterday are in compliance with our international law obligations.
“But it is really important to know that we need to take action. The status quo is unacceptable. 45,000 people arrived here illegally, sometimes fatally so, last year on small boats.”