Tory MP shames France amid 'woeful' asylum system failings
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Express.co.uk has learnt that under-fire minister Suella Braverman is pushing talks for alternatives to Rwanda with Paraguay at the most advanced stages. Other countries possibly in line for deals are understood to be Peru and Belize and there is another African country “also in the mix” a source has told this website.
It is understood that Ms Braverman agreed to go back to the Home Office after supporting Rishi Sunak in the leadership election on the basis that she would “have a free hand” to tackle illegal immigration, particularly the problem of the small boats in the Channel.
So far this year almost 40,000 have made the dangerous crossing from France with the help of organised criminal gangs.
The daily cost to the taxpayer for housing them in hotels is £6.8million.
A senior Whitehall source told the Daily Express: “We have other talks going on, Paraguay is the most advanced at the moment.
“We have to break the business model of the people traffickers and we can only do that if the people they are bringing over understand that their final destination will not be Britain.”
The Rwanda deportation deal was held up after a number of leftwing activist lawyers contested the plans to send illegal migrants to the East African country which hosted this year’s Commonwealth summit.
The final straw was when an unnamed judge in the Strasbourg based European Court of Human Rights ruled against the flights in a private hearing which heard no oral evidence.
The legal problems mean that it will not be until next year that the deportations to Rwanda can take place.
But deals with different countries will mean that new legal challenges will have to be made if activists want to stop the flights.
The source said: “Obviously Paraguay is a different country with different conditions and a different human rights record.
“It should be more difficult to challenge flights there.”
The move has been welcomed by Conservative backbench MPs who have been pressing for action to be taken.
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Red Wall MPs in particular have warned that failing to tackle the issue could lose them their seats.
Stoke on Trent North MP Jonathan Gullis said: “This is a terrific idea. We should be trying to do as many deals with as many countries as we can and get these planes off the ground.
“We should also be calling out these Labour-supporting lefty activist lawyers who are doing everything they can to stop us tackling this crisis.”
Bassetlaw MP Brendan Clarke-Smith said: “Offshore processing has the potential to break the business model of the criminal people-smuggling gangs and it’s truly shameful that the Opposition and their allies have done nothing but try to frustrate this from the very start. Partnerships with countries such as Rwanda and others are most welcome and will help us tackle illegal immigration.”
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Dudley North MP Marco Longhi added: “I would support any workable measures that would have the deterrent effect on illegal incursions onto U.K. soil.
“The whole point of being immediately removed to any other country is to put off people from trying in the first place. Crossings would then stop: come to the UK illegally? Go to …Tajikistan or wherever.”
On Wednesday Ms Braverman warned in the Commons that the UK is facing “an invasion” on its coast with thousands of migrants coming across the Channel.
She vowed to end the crisis and claimed that attempts to force her to resign over sharing unclassified documents with Tory MP Sir John Hayes were in reality coming from people who wanted to stop her taking back control of UK borders.
The Home Secretary has survived the week despite many predicting she would be sacked over the admission she shared documents six times from a private email address.
She also faced serious questions over a fire bomb attack and overcrowded conditions a migrant holding centre in Kent at Manston air force base.
Labour have been demanding answers on whether she ignored legal advice that residents there needed moving out.
She was also criticised by Sir Roger Gale, the Tory MP where the centre is based.
However, many Conservative MPs believe she is the only minister willing to tackle the issue of illegal migration.
Previously, she has backed leaving the jurisdiction of the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights.
One senior Conservative MP said: “Sunak must have been making the calculation that if he sacks Suella he will be getting letters asking for a leadership contest.”
A former minister added: “Politically she is unsackable for him.”
The revelation of the talks on new deportation deals has come as Sir Keir Starmer for the first time tackled Rishi Sunak on “the broken asylum system” in Prime Minister’s questions today.
Tory MPs admitted some disquiet that a strong subject for them had now become one where Labour felt it was able to attack.
Sir Keir accused Mr Sunak of “making a grubby deal” with Ms Braverman because her support in the leadership election was seen as crucial to Boris Johnson pulling out of the race.
He said: “No one on the Labour side of the House wants open borders. It is the Government who have lost control of our borders. Four Prime Ministers in five years and it is the same old, same old.
“The Prime Minister stands there and tries to pass the blame. If the asylum system is broken and his lot have been in power for 12 years, how can it be anyone’s fault but theirs?”
But Mr Sunak hit back: “He raises the question of what we are doing. We have increased the number of processing officials by 80 percent, and we are putting in an extra 500 by next March.
“If he really was serious about fixing this problem, he would acknowledge that we need to tackle the issue of people putting in spurious claims — spurious, repeated, last-minute claims — to frustrate the process.
“That is how we will tackle the system, so why, then, did he vote against the Nationality and Borders Act, which deals with it?”
The Home Office has declined to comment.
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