MPs have reacted with fury at the damning figures that show just one percent of more than 110,000 illegal immigrants have been removed from Britain in the past three years. Embattled PM Rishi Sunak won a crunch vote this week with a 44-strong majority in the Commons on his emergency draft to the Rwanda Bill.
The legislation is aimed at stopping the courts from blocking the removal of migrants to Rwanda after the Supreme Court previously ruled the plan was unworkable. No asylum seekers have taken off for Rwanda since the first flights were grounded last summer.
Around 110,000 migrants have arrived illegally in the UK since 2020, roughly the same as the population of Carlisle, but only around 1,000 have been succesfully removed.
Conservative MP Tom Hunt told The Sun: “This is clearly totally unacceptable and clearly underlines why we need a robust deterrent. We need the Rwanda policy working at scale fast, or we’re snookered.”
The Rwanda Bill is Rishi Sunak’s best chance he believes of putting a stop to people traffickers smuggling people across the Channel in illegal and dangerous small boats.
READ MORE… Rishi Sunak ‘of course’ open to Rwanda amendments, as Tory MPs make demands
Speaking today Mr Sunak said he was open to improving the plan on the table to satisfy some MPs in his party with concerns.
He said: “I’ve been very consistently clear, as have all ministers, if there are ways that the legislation can be improved, to be made even more effective – with a respectable legal argument and maintaining the participation of the Rwandans in the scheme – of course we would be open to that, who wouldn’t be?”
New immigration minister Michael Tomlinson revealed the return figures in the House of Commons, to which fellow Tory MP Lee Anderson asked if it was “acceptable”. Mr Tomlinson said “The numbers need to be significantly higher than they are.”
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Several Conservative MPs who rebelled by abstaining in Tuesday’s Commons vote said Mr Sunak had signalled he could consider “tightening” the Rwanda Bill.
But Mr Chalk said that while the Government is “willing to listen to sensible suggestions”, it must uphold “certain aspects” to ensure the UK remains within international law.
Appearing before Parliament’s Human Rights Committee on Wednesday, he said the Government is “committed” to remaining within the European Convention of Human Rights, which it does “so long as there is the ability of an individual to get before the court to advance their points, which might relate to their own specific circumstances”.
Alp Mehmet, chairman of Migration Watch UK said:”Such paltry levels of returns are a damning indictment of the government’s record on removals.
“It beggars belief that despite the agreement with Albania even the numbers being returned there is tiny. No wonder so many migrants continue to make their way here illegally. The evidence is clear that once here, the chances of being removed are slight.”
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