Friday, 1 Mar 2024

Suella: We’ll do whatever it takes if judges thwart plans to stop boats

The Home Secretary stopped short of declaring the Government should quit the European Convention on Human Rights.

But she warned yesterday that the Government will do “whatever it takes” if Strasbourg prevents the
UK from ending the Channel migrant crisis.

Mrs Braverman branded the European Court of Human Rights, which oversees and enforces the treaty, “interventionist” and a ­“politicised court”, accusing it of “thwarting” the first deportation flight to Rwanda.

The Home Secretary admitted key aspects of the Illegal Migration Bill – the Tory plan to end the small boats crisis – cannot be effective until migrants are deported to Rwanda.

Mrs Braverman, who declared her support for quitting the ECHR ­during the Conservative leadership race, said: “The Strasbourg court is a politicised court.

“It’s been expanding upon national sovereignty.

“Last year we saw very plainly how the Strasbourg court thwarted our attempts for flights to take off to Rwanda through an opaque last-­minute process which undermined the decisions of this government.”

Asked if she wanted the UK to quit the ECHR, she said: “My ­personal views are clear. As I said, it’s a politicised court. It’s interventionist. It’s treading on the territory of national sovereignty.

“But no one’s talking about ­leaving the ECHR right now. We are working to deliver our plan. We’ve enacted landmark legislation. We are confident in the lawfulness of our agreement with Rwanda.

“I’m confident in its lawfulness and we hope the Supreme Court agrees with us. And, pending that outcome, we will be doing whatever it takes to ensure that we can stop the boats.”

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Britain’s broken asylum system is costing taxpayers around £3.966billion a year in accommodation and support for migrants.

Around 50,000 migrants are ­currently in hotels, with the Government converting former military bases and barges into asylum accommodation.

The asylum seeker backlog has soared to a record high, with more than 175,000 people waiting for an initial decision on an application at the end of June.

Asked again if she supported leaving the ECHR if it meant the UK could end the small boats crisis, she replied: “It’s absolutely clear that if we’re thwarted in the courts, because of the ECHR, if we are thwarted in Strasbourg, we will do whatever it takes. The Prime Minister has been adamant about that. There must be no stone left unturned.

“The Prime Minister has made this pledge, this is not about trying to ­succeed, this is about succeeding on the pledge and stopping the boats.

“And if we are thwarted, whether it’s in the courts or by other forces, let’s remember we’re up against a multitude of forces whether it’s dodgy immigration lawyers, charities and NGOs and the Labour Party, all of whom want to stop us in delivering our mission, then we’ll have to do whatever it takes to ensure that we deliver on this pledge.”

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The Supreme Court is expected to rule on whether the Rwanda deportation scheme is legal by the beginning of December. The case itself is expected to be heard in October.

Home Office officials were stunned in June after the Court of Appeal ruled against the Government.

It concluded sending migrants to Kigali could lead to them being deported to their home countries.

Mrs Braverman added: “We will have to wait for the outcome of the litigation in the Supreme Court relating to our Rwanda partnerships before we can properly operationalise the main provisions of the Act.”

The Illegal Migration Bill gives ministers powers to detain anyone who enters the UK illegally and deport them to their home nation or a safe third country such as Rwanda.

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The first flight to the African country was grounded by an 11th-hour “pyjama injunction” issued by a judge from the European Court of Human Rights, which enforces the European Convention on Human Rights. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has resisted calls to leave the ECHR and the Government believes the Illegal Migration Bill will limit the influence of European judges by allowing ministers to ignore Section 39 orders.

During “small boats week” – when the Government made a series of announcements relating to the crisis – immigration minister Robert Jenrick, right, hinted the Tories could campaign to leave the ECHR if Strasbourg continued to block flights to Rwanda. He said: “We’ll do whatever is necessary ultimately, to defend our borders and to bring order to the asylum system.”

The Daily Express last year revealed even judges were shocked about the secrecy of the court’s ­decision-making process.

Judge Latif Huseynov was staggered to be informed of the decision not to identify the deciding judge, saying: “It was a public decision so the name of the judge should be published for transparency.” When we told Mr Huseynov about how even the Government – one of the parties involved in the case – did not know the judge’s identity, he reacted with: “Oh wow.”

The Express also confronted scores of judges over two days at the European Court of Human Rights in a bid to understand the veil of secrecy over the court’s decision to ground the flight to Rwanda in June last year. And the vast majority of them refused to speak about the decision.

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