UK's Braverman: We'll do what it takes to tackle migrant issue

New proposals include UK 'if necessary' withdrawing from the European Convention on Human Rights

Home Secretary Suella Braverman leaves 10 Downing Street. Getty
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Amid calls for the indefinite detention of asylum seekers arriving in the UK illegally, Home Secretary Suella Braverman has pledged to do “whatever it takes” to deal with the migrant issue in the Channel.

The numbers making the perilous crossing were “wholly unacceptable and unsustainable”, said Ms Braverman.

She said that ministers would “comprehensively tackle the small boats problem”.

Ms Braverman made her comments in a foreword to a report by the centre-right Centre for Policy Studies think tank, which called for new laws barring migrants who enter illegally from ever settling in the UK.

While she said she did not necessarily agree with everything in the report, her contribution will be regarded as an indication that she is sympathetic to the thinking behind it.

In other measures, the report — co-authored by Theresa May’s former adviser Nick Timothy — recommended that ministers should to make it impossible to claim asylum in the UK after travelling from a safe country.

It called for the overhaul of rights laws — with the UK withdrawing from the European Convention on Human Rights "if necessary" — to allow detentions and processing asylum claims offshore.

And it said ministers should look for deals with other countries to supplement the currently stalled plan to deport migrants to Rwanda for processing.

Migrants at immigration processing centre in Manston - in pictures

Ms Braverman said calling for action on illegal migration was not “xenophobic or anti-immigration” and that she and UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak were committed to dealing with the issue.

“The British public are fair-minded, tolerant and generous in spirit," she wrote. "But we are fed up with the continued flouting of our laws and immigration rules to game our asylum system.

“And we’ve had enough of the persistent abuse of human rights laws to thwart the removal of those with no right to be in the UK. This must end.

“Saying so is not xenophobic or anti-immigration. It is the reality acknowledged and felt by the vast majority of the British public. To pretend otherwise is to insult them.

“The prime minister and I are committed to doing whatever it takes. We are finalising our plan, and we will deliver the operational and legislative changes necessary to comprehensively tackle this problem."

Migrant crossings on the English Channel surge amid heatwave - in pictures

Mr Timothy said tackling the issue would require a “completely different approach” from government, addressing a series of interconnected public problems.

“If we are to stop the crossings, we will need to take immediate and bold action,” he said. “It is not something that can be fixed through gradual, incremental change.”

Afghan migrant documents dangerous journey across Channel - video

Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick indicated at the weekend that barring people from safe countries such as Albania, from which there has been a recent surge in arrivals, claiming asylum was among the measures being considered.

Mr Jenrick said the government was also looking to tighten the rules on student visas, particularly in relation to bringing family members with them while they studied in the UK.

Updated: December 05, 2022, 12:01 AM