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08th Mar 2023

The Tories have no intention of solving the migrant crisis – here’s why

Jack Peat

Their headline-grabbing, blame-shifting legislation will serve only to kick the can down the road

The Conservatives have introduced a law that they “know will never become law” by unveiling an Illegal Migration Bill that – by their own admission – will likely breach the European Convention on Human Rights, a barrister has told PoliticsJOE.

Suella Braverman unveiled government plans to curtail the growing number of small boat crossings to parliament yesterday, saying anyone who arrives in the country via unauthorised means will no longer be able to claim asylum in the UK.

The toughening of existing rules means instead they would only be eligible for asylum in a “safe” third country, such as Rwanda. Furthermore, they would receive a lifetime ban on citizenship or re-entry to the UK and could potentially be jailed for up to 28 days without recourse for bail or judicial review.

The plans have raised a number of questions over how they might work in practice, with the opposition questioning what will happen to migrants after they are detained for 28 days.

But there are also significant question marks over whether the legislation has any hope of ever being approved given that there is a ‘more than 50 per cent chance’ that it could fall foul of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Written on the face of the Illegal Migration Bill is an astonishing admission by the home secretary that the Bill may be incompatible with the law.

It has led to one barrister telling PoliticsJOE that the government has no interest in their plans succeeding at all.

“The Conservatives are introducing a law that they know will never become law”, he said, adding that the real purpose of the bill is simply to “shift the blame for illegal immigration from the Home Secretary to whichever campaign group challenges the bill” in a bid to relieve themselves from taking any meaningful action.

It chimes with newspaper coverage of the move ahead of the debate.

Yesterday, The Express splashed ‘Back Law To Stop Boats… Or Betray Britain’ on its front pages and quoted the home secretary in the piece saying: “Labour and others who oppose these measures are betraying hard-working Brits up and down the country – they don’t have any answers themselves but they will still seek to block us in Parliament”.

She also doubled down on the ‘betrayal’ rhetoric in parliament, saying:

“There are 100 million people around the world who could qualify for protection under our current laws. Let’s be clear. They are coming here.”

It has led one Twitter user to suggest, like the aforementioned barrister, that the plans are indeed un-implementable.

“But it gives latitude to Government Ministers to blame absolutely everybody for stopping their much needed policies. From lefty lawyers to the ECHR, from Starmer to NGOs, from Meghan Markle to James O’Brien. A perpetual grievance machine that can get cranked when needed.”

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