‘If you come here illegally, you will not be able to stay’: Sunak pledges to stop small boat crossings


The prime minister is set to announce new laws to clamp down on migrant crossings – telling those who arrive on small boats: “If you come here illegally, you will not be able to stay.”

Speaking to the Sunday Express, Rishi Sunak said he and senior aides at the Home Office have drawn up new laws to stop lawyers using the right to family life and legislation created to combat modern slavery to stop their clients being deported.

“I have made the issue of illegal migration one of my top five priorities – pledging to stop the boats once and for all,” he said.

“Illegal migration is not fair on British taxpayers, it is not fair on those who come here legally and it is not right that criminal gangs should be allowed to continue their immoral trade.

“I’m determined to deliver on my promise to stop the boats.

“So make no mistake, if you come here illegally, you will not be able to stay.”

Meanwhile, Home Secretary Suella Braverman wrote in the Sun on Sunday: “Enough is enough. The British people want this solved. They’re sick of tough talk and inadequate action. We must stop the boats.

“That’s why myself and the prime minister have been working flat out to bring forward necessary and effective laws which will tackle this problem, once and for all,” Ms Braverman wrote.

25/10/2022. London, United Kingdom. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak meets Secretary of State for the Home Department Suella Braverman.
Pic:UK Government
Rishi Sunak and Suella Braverman. Pic: UK government

“It has to be that if you come here illegally you will be detained and swiftly removed. Our laws will be simple in their intention and practice – the only route to the UK will be a safe and legal route.

“So far, Labour has opposed every effort to bring a stop to illegal migration. They are not serious about tackling the issue that is only becoming ever more serious and allows criminal gangs to exploit vulnerable people.

“The prime minister and I will do whatever it takes. You can judge us by our actions.”

A new law that aims to reduce the number of small boats crossing the Channel is expected to be announced on Tuesday.

The legislation is expected to ban asylum claims from migrants who travelled to the UK on small boats.

The law would give powers to the home secretary to remove anyone who arrives on a small boat “as soon as reasonably practicable” to Rwanda or a “safe third country”.

Read more:
Rishi Sunak plans to ban Channel migrants from appealing deportation

Arrivals would be prevented from claiming asylum while in the UK and stopped from returning once removed.

Ms Braverman is expected to unveil the plan on Tuesday after Mr Sunak made “stopping the boats” one of his five priorities.

The pair are also due to travel to Paris on Friday for talks with French President Emmanuel Macron.

Christina Marriott, executive director of strategy at the Red Cross, called the legislation “extremely concerning”.

“The Home Office knows from its own research that this will also do little to prevent people risking their lives to seek safety,” she said.

“Again and again, we hear from people that they have no prior knowledge of the UK’s asylum system, so making it harsher is not an effective strategy.”

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A Sky News team has witnessed chaotic scenes in Calais

Sonya Sceats, chief executive at Freedom from Torture, called the proposals “vindictive and dysfunctional”.

“This legislation will do nothing to reduce the number of deaths in the Channel or the chaos and incompetence that blights our asylum system, nor will it guarantee sanctuary for those who need it,” she said.

“Instead, it will lead to more torture survivors being unfairly denied protection and potentially removed to Rwanda.”

Read more:
PM set to launch crackdown on asylum seeker backlog with questionnaire
Migrants waiting to cross the Channel not deterred by recent deaths

Home Office figures show 2,950 migrants have crossed the Channel in 2023 so far.

The government’s most recent policy aimed to prevent migrants from coming to the UK has been mired in controversy.

The Rwanda scheme is subject to several legal challenges. No flights taking migrants to the country have departed.

Migration is likely to be one of the subjects under discussion on Sophy Ridge of Sunday this morning at 8.30am. Among Sophy’s guests are the Northern Ireland Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris and Labour’s Jonathan Ashworth, the shadow work and pensions secretary.

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