DAILY MAIL COMMENT: Rishi's asylum plan starts to come together

DAILY MAIL COMMENT: Rishi’s asylum plan starts to come together

As the first asylum-seekers arrived at the Bibby Stockholm barge off the Dorset coast yesterday, there was a sense that the Government’s campaign to end the small boats crisis is at last starting to come together.

With initial health and safety concerns having been addressed, some 50 migrants who entered Britain illegally after crossing from France will live on board the customised vessel until their claims have been heard. There is capacity for 500, and there are two more in the pipeline.

Using the barges (along with three ex-military bases) will cut the eye-watering £6million daily cost of keeping asylum seekers in hotels. But that is only part of their significance.

Currently, migrants know that if they reach the beaches of Kent and Sussex, the chances of being sent back, or indeed being sent anywhere, are minuscule.

So if Rishi Sunak is to achieve his ambition of discouraging them, he must ensure that those whose claims fail are promptly removed. That is how to break the business model of the vile traffickers behind this dangerous trade.

If Rishi Sunak is to achieve his ambition of discouraging Channel migrants, he must ensure that those whose claims fail are promptly removed

As part of the wider strategy, Home Secretary Suella Braverman announced a major offensive yesterday against the crooked lawyers who help economic migrants fabricate stories of persecution to bolster bogus asylum claims.

Following a Daily Mail investigation (which Mrs Braverman commended) into these legal con men, a new taskforce is being set up to bring them to book.

Meanwhile, another important piece of the migration jigsaw – the Rwanda scheme – may soon come to fruition.

Although it was ruled unlawful by the Court of Appeal, government lawyers are confident the Supreme Court will endorse it when it passes final judgment in October.

And even if they do lose, ministers have a Plan B, which could involve sending Channel migrants to another African country or the remote British outpost of Ascension Island for assessment.

There are many hurdles still to negotiate but a coherent plan is developing. Labour, on the other hand, is as muddled and contradictory as ever.

Shadow ministers condemn the use of barges – but won’t commit to ending their use. They say their priority is to get the massive asylum claims backlog down – but don’t have a viable plan to make it happen.

For all their bluster, they offer no alternative. Come the election, this policy vacuum may yet cost Sir Keir Starmer dear.

Sir Keir slippery on oil

On another of the major issues of the day, the Labour leader continues to vacillate. In a newspaper article yesterday, Sir Keir described Just Stop Oil’s disruptive protests as ‘contemptible’.

Yet he continues to accept huge donations from the group’s main backer, green entrepreneur Dale Vince. Given his public repudiation of JSO’s methods, will he now give Mr Vince’s £1.5million back?

Fat chance! But at some point, this mealy-mouthed mugwump will have to get off the fence and tell us which side he’s really on.

In a newspaper article yesterday, Sir Keir Starmer described Just Stop Oil’s disruptive protests as ‘contemptible’

Lionesses roar on

After the agony of defeat for the English Roses in the Netball World Cup final, the Lionesses powered their way to the world football quarter-finals after a nail-biting win over Nigeria.

With the score at 0-0 after extra-time, they held their nerve in the penalty shoot-out, Chloe Kelly smashing home the winning kick at 69mph – faster than any goal scored in the Premier League last season.

So not only can our female players show the men how to stay calm under pressure, they can also teach them a thing or two about technique.

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