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Migration bill: Tories say Rishi Sunak will toughen deportation powers

Migration bill: Tories say Rishi Sunak will toughen deportation powers

A group of Conservative MPs say they have reached a deal with Rishi Sunak's government to toughen up new rules for removing migrants.

A source close to the MPs said the Illegal Migration Bill would be changed to allow the home secretary to ignore European judges in certain situations.

Conservative MP Danny Kruger, who was among those leading the calls, said he was "grateful to the prime minister and the home secretary for their work".

Downing Street has declined to comment.

The legislation, set out last month by Home Secretary Suella Braverman, would prevent anyone entering the UK illegally from claiming asylum.

It is central to Mr Sunak's pledge to stop small boats crossing the English Channel, but has provoked outrage among charities and opposition parties, who say it breaches international law.

Some Conservative MPs, however, believe it does not go far enough and tabled a series of changes to the bill.

Last month, some of those MPs withdrew their proposals in Parliament after immigration minister Robert Jenrick said he would engage with those who have concerns.

Now Tory MPs say the government will make changes to the bill, which is due to go through its final parliamentary stages next week.

A source close to the MPs said ministers had agreed to change the bill to give the home secretary powers to ignore injunctions from judges at the European Court of Human Rights - known as Rule 39 orders - under certain conditions.

The Strasbourg-based court, unpopular with the Tory right, blocked the removal of migrants to Rwanda last year, pending legal challenges.

The source suggested a second amendment will also require British judges to decide a deportation would cause "serious and irreversible harm" in order to stop it.

Mr Kruger said the British public "are fed up with London lawyers and Strasbourg judges getting in the way of a sensible migration policy".

He said he was "hopeful that the government will be able to deliver the prompt removals to Rwanda and other safe countries". This was needed, he said, "to stop the boats and lay the foundation of a fair and humane asylum system".

New powers

More than 45,000 people entered the UK via Channel crossings last year, up from about 300 in 2018.

Under the new bill, people removed from the UK would be blocked from returning or seeking British citizenship in future. Migrants will not get bail or be able to seek judicial review for the first 28 days of detention.

It will also place a legal duty on the home secretary to detain and remove those arriving in the UK illegally, to Rwanda or a "safe" third country - this will take legal precedence over someone's right to claim asylum.

In a letter to MPs following publication of the bill, Ms Braverman conceded there is a "more (than) 50% chance" the bill is incompatible with international law.

It is expected to come up against opposition in the House of Lords, and subsequently expected to face a wave of legal challenges, whilst opposition parties have dismissed it as unworkable.


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