Suella: Britain needs to override human rights laws and start Rwanda f lights
SUELLA Braverman led demands yesterday by furious Conservatives for Britain to override human rights laws in order to launch deportations to Rwanda.
Tory MPs insist more far-reaching action is needed than Rishi Sunak’s proposal of a new treaty with the east African nation.
Recently sacked home secretary Mrs Braverman urged the Government to pass ‘emergency legislation’ in the wake of the Supreme Court’s verdict that sending asylum seekers abroad was unlawful.
She said the ruling was ‘no surprise’ and that the justices could not be blamed given the ‘current state of the law’.
Her solution was to introduce a bill that would ‘block off’ as routes of ‘legal challenge’ both the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) – the basis of judgments by the Strasbourg court that grounded the first planned flight – and the Human Rights Act (HRA) that enshrined it in UK law.
Mrs Braverman posted: ‘This will give Parliament a clear choice – control illegal migration or explain to the British people why they should accept ever greater numbers of illegal arrivals settling here.
‘Those who, like me, believe that effective immigration control is vital must understand that they cannot have their cake and eat it. There is no chance of curbing illegal migration within the current legal framework. We must legislate or admit defeat.’
Her bombshell resignation letter to the Prime Minister on Tuesday claimed they had agreed on this approach and that it would involve ‘notwithstanding clauses’.
It would mean a Bill stating deportations could take place regardless of any court judgments, existing laws or international treaty obligations stating otherwise.
Her approach of a stronger way forward than Mr Sunak’s Plan B was echoed by that of Neil O’Brien, who resigned as a junior health minister on Monday.
He said: ‘I am very sceptical that a tweaked treaty, or whatever, will make this deal work well enough, fast enough, and at such a scale as to deter the boats. We will just get bogged down in endless court cases.
‘Though overriding the HRA etc is quite strong medicine and not to be done lightly, we have (reasonably) tried the alternative route and it simply hasn’t worked. The PM was right to say we have to do “whatever it takes” – but it’s now clear that what it will “take” is more than a reheat of this or a new treaty.’
Former Cabinet minister Sir Simon Clarke warned that the Government’s response would be a ‘confidence issue’ for the PM.
In the Commons debate on tackling illegal migration, he backed Mr O’Brien’s suggestion as the ‘only tool’ now available.
‘We cannot keep relitigating this question to achieve what seems an ever-moving target in what the courts want us to achieve.
‘Our constituents sent us here with a very clear message – sort the small boats issue. Parliament has passed legislation to sort the issue.’
The New Conservative group, led by MPs Danny Kruger and Miriam Cates, said: ‘We are glad the PM is bringing forward emergency legislation but it will need more than a declaration that Rwanda is safe.
‘We can’t wait for ECHR to intervene, we must move to ensure this there is no opportunity for rightsbased claims against deportation.
‘The Bill must disapply the Human Rights Act and give effect to the policy “notwithstanding” the ECHR and Refugee Convention. It must restate the power of government to disregard interim rulings from Strasbourg.
We have no time left. This Bill, which must come to Parliament within weeks, must have everything in it to ensure that flights are in the air within months.’
Tory vice-chairman Lee Anderson said ministers should simply ‘put the planes in the air now and send them to Rwanda’.
He added: ‘It’s time for the Government to show real leadership. I think we should ignore the law and send them straight back the same day.’
But new Home Secretary James Cleverly resisted calls for the UK to pull out of the ECHR, telling backbenchers in the Commons: ‘I do not believe those things are necessary.’
He said the judgment made it clear it was ‘not just about the ECHR’ and there are ‘no silver bullets’.
Yet the PM claimed he was ‘prepared to change our laws and revisit those international relationships’ if they continue to frustrate his plans after the new treaty is agreed.
‘We must block off routes of challenge’
‘We should ignore law and send them back’