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Suella Braverman: Tories face ‘electoral oblivion’ unless they get tough on illegal migration | Politics News

today06/12/2023

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Suella Braverman has claimed the Conservative Party faces “electoral oblivion in a matter of months” if its emergency legislation to tackle illegal migration isn’t tough enough.

The former home secretary welcomed Rishi Sunak’s pledge to introduce the new law, in a bid to keep the government’s plan to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda alive, after the Supreme Court ruled the scheme unlawful in November.

But she questioned why three weeks after the announcement, it had yet to come to parliament – saying MPs should be “prepared to sit over Christmas” to get the bill passed.

And she insisted the law must “reflect public fury” on the issue or risk seeing the Tories collapse at the next election.

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Ms Braverman, who was fired last month after controversial remarks on homelessness and protests, made the comments during her first appearance in the Commons following her ousting.

Focusing her speech on the “crisis” of “mass, uncontrolled, illegal migration” – particularly via small boats crossing the Channel – Ms Braverman claimed tens of thousands of “mostly young men – many with values and social mores at odds with our own” were “pouring” into the UK, with many not “genuine refugees but economic migrants”.

She said the numbers were “putting unsustainable pressure on public finances and public services, straining community cohesion, and jeopardising national security and public safety”.

“The British people understand all this,” added the former minister. “The question is, does their government? And will it now finally act to stop it?”

Ms Braverman, who served in cabinet for almost four years, “commended” Mr Sunak for dedicating more time to the issue than previous prime ministers, and said “some progress” had been made.

But, she added: “‘Crossings are down’ is not the same as ‘stopping the boats’.”

The former minister said her “deeper concern” was over what might be in the emergency legislation, which follows the government signing a new treaty with Rwanda in another attempt to reassure the Supreme Court that it is a safe country to send asylum seekers to.

She said: “Previous attempts have failed because they failed to address the root cause of the problem – expansive human rights laws, flowing from the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), replicated in Labour’s Human Rights Act, are being interpreted elastically by courts both domestic and foreign, to literally prevent our Rwanda plan from getting off the ground.”

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‘Rwanda plan won’t stop crossings’

Ms Braverman claimed such laws also meant there were foreign terrorists, rapists and paedophiles “who should have been removed but are released back into our communities where they reoffend because of their human rights”.

She said while she believed in leaving the ECHR and replacing the Human Rights Act with fresh legislation, that was a “debate for another day”.

But she insisted any new bill should “block off all routes of challenge” so flights to Rwanda can take off before the next election.

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The ex-minister also wanted the law to enable those who arrive via small boats to be detained until they are removed – suggesting “Nightingale style detention facilities” akin to the increased hospital capacity produced during COVID.

Ms Braverman added: “All of this comes down to a simple question: who governs Britain? Where does ultimate authority in the UK sit?

“Is it with the British people and their elected representatives in parliament? Or is it in the vague, shifting and unaccountable concept of ‘international law’.”

She said it was “now or never” to act, adding: “The Conservative Party faces electoral oblivion in a matter of months if we introduce yet another bill destined to fail.

“Do we fight for sovereignty or let our party die? I refuse to sit by and allow the trust that millions of people have put in us be discarded like an inconvenient detail.

“If we summon the political courage to do what is truly necessary, and fight for the interests of the British people, then I am confident that we will regain their support. And, if the prime minister leads that fight, he will have my total support.”



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