Robert Jenrick resigns as Immigration Minister over new Rwanda treaty

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Immigration minister Robert Jenrick has resigned over the Government’s latest immigration bill, stating that the draft bill doesn’t ‘go far enough.’

Following the defeat of the government’s Rwanda policy in the Supreme Court around safety concerns for asylum seekers sent to Rwanda, the Home Office drafted legislation stating Rwanda to be safe country.

The Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Draft Bill, which was introduced to the commons last night, sets out plans to disapply sections of the Human Rights Act and establish legislative sovereignty over international law but does not go so far as to withdraw from the European Convention Human Rights.

(Source: Robert Jenrick MP, X)

In his resignation letter Mr. Jenrick stated: “I refuse to be yet another politician who makes promises on immigration to the British public but does not keep them.

“This package must be implemented immediately via an emergency rules’ change and accompanied by significant additional reforms at the start of next year to ensure we meet the 2019 manifesto commitment that every single Conservative MP was elected upon.

“The consequences for housing, public services, economic productivity, welfare reform, community cohesion and, more fundamentally, for trust in democratic politics are all too serious for this totemic issue to be anything other than a primary focus for the government.”

He goes on to highlight the successes the government made on immigration while he was in post but said, “we said that we would stop the boats altogether.”

“That is what the public rightly demands and expects of us. We must truly mean that we will do ‘whatever it takes’ to deliver this commitment when we say so.

“This emergency legislation is the last opportunity to prove this, but in its current drafting it does not go far enough.”

His resignation followed an intervention by former Suella Braverman in the commons earlier that day in which she said:  “Previous attempts have failed because they failed to address the root cause of the problem – expansive human rights laws, flowing from the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), replicated in Labour’s Human Rights Act, are being interpreted elastically by courts both domestic and foreign, to literally prevent our Rwanda plan from getting off the ground.”

Speaking with BBC radio the former Home Secretary expressed her frustrations with the new law saying: “I’m very concerned that the bill on the table will allow a merry-go-round of legal claims and litigation.

“The reality is, and the solid truth is, that it won’t work, and it will not stop the boats.”

The prime minster tried to reassure the public and the party that the new draft bill will work speaking at a press conference this afternoon: “We have blocked all the ways that illegal migrants will try and stay … we have set the bar so high that it will be vanishingly rare to meet it.”

The Supreme Court highlighted a myriad of international and domestic legalisation that contributed to their decision to rule against the Rwanda policy, of which was our membership of the ECHR.

Mark Elliot, Professor of Public law and Chair of the Faculty of Law at the University of Cambridge, said in his blog that though this bill excludes most scopes for domestic legal challenges it does not wholly exclude them.

He stated: “Clause 4 leaves open the door for challenging removal decisions on the basis of ‘compelling evidence relating specifically to the person’s particular individual circumstances’ but not on the grounds that Rwanda is ‘not a safe country in general’ or that it might breach the non-refoulement principle.”

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