Suella Braverman backs proposal to detain and ban illegal immigrants entering Britain

Paper also suggests leaving European Convention on Human Rights, joining Russia and Belarus

The UK Home Secretary has written a foreword to a paper proposing new ways of cutting the number of migrants arriving in Britain. AFP
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Britain’s Home Secretary has embraced a report which proposes to remove any migrant who arrives illegally in Britain “within days” and bar them from ever settling in the country.

The paper, by right-wing think tank Centre for Policy Studies, also suggests leaving the European Convention on Human Rights, joining Russia and Belarus as the only countries on the continent who are not members.

Suella Braverman wrote a foreword to the document, which calls for resettlement schemes to bring about 20,000 people each year to the country “legally and safely”.

It argues that only refugees from countries such as Ukraine, Afghanistan and Hong Kong, or which have historical links to Britain, should be allowed to settle in the UK.

“But if you come to the country illegally we want to change the law so it says that you will never be allowed to settle in the UK,” report co-author Nick Timothy told Radio 4’s Today programme on Monday.

“And instead you will be detained and quite quickly given the choice between returning to your home country and going to Rwanda, or a country like Rwanda where we might strike a similar deal ... a few asylum claims will be processed there.”

Quick removals are not currently possible because of the European Convention on Human Rights, which has put the government’s Rwanda plan on hold, saying it must be proved that the African country is safe.

Mr Timothy admitted leaving the convention would put Britain in the same league as Russia and Belarus but he said the charter had changed since the UK helped draft it in the aftermath of the Second World War.

“It’s actually a living instrument, which is to say that it has changed with time," he said.

“People across Europe are starting to have these conversations. Denmark has negotiated a similar arrangement with Rwanda to the one UK has negotiated. So this is a conversation which is going on in interior ministries across Europe.

“The whole point is you have to break the incentive to travel and reduce the number of people coming here in this way.”

Home Secretary Suella Braverman appears before a parliamentary home affairs committee, answering questions about a migrant processing centre. PA

In the foreword Suella Braverman wrote she did not necessarily agree with everything in the report, but her contribution is considered generally sympathetic to the thinking behind it.

“I welcome it as a vital and necessary contribution to the policy debate about what can be done to tackle the crossings,” Ms Braverman wrote.

She said the numbers making the perilous crossing of the Channel were "wholly unacceptable and unsustainable" and that ministers would "comprehensively tackle the small boats problem".

The UK should strike a series of “offshoring” deals, in addition to the so-far unsuccessful Rwanda plan, to expatriate asylum seekers from Britain, those who back the plan say.

Ms Braverman has promised to “deliver the Rwanda partnership at scale”, adding “the Prime Minister and I are committed to doing whatever it takes”.

Updated: December 05, 2022, 10:35 AM
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