James Cleverly ‘frustrated’ with fixation on government’s Rwanda policy | James Cleverly #James #Cleverly #frustrated #fixation #governments #Rwanda #policy #James #Cleverly

James Cleverly has said he is frustrated with the fixation on the government’s Rwanda policy, saying it is not the “be all and end all” of plans to tackle illegal immigration.

The home secretary, who replaced Suella Braverman after she was sacked almost a fortnight ago, told the Times he had become frustrated with the focus on the Rwanda plan.

“My frustration is that we have allowed the narrative to be created that this was the be all and end all,” he said.

“The mission is to stop the boats. That’s the promise to the British people. Never lose sight of the mission. There are multiple methods. Don’t fixate on the methods. Focus on the mission.”

The Rwanda scheme has faced a series of legal hurdles since it was first announced in 2020, the latest of which came on Cleverly’s second day as home secretary, when the policy was ruled unlawful by the supreme court.

Despite the setbacks, the government has not dropped the idea.

Rishi Sunak has refused to rule out leaving the European convention on human rights (ECHR) and he is thought to be considering using emergency legislation to opt out of the convention on asylum cases in an effort to force through the Rwanda scheme.

While it was a UK court that dealt the latest legal blow to the legislation, Sunak’s Tories are keen to ensure the ECHR, and the European court of human rights that rules on it, will not prevent the policy being implemented.

The new home secretary struck a more measured tone on the ECHR in contrast to his predecessor. “My argument has always been that we need to modernise, update and reform,” he said.

“What some people, I fear, do is jump to their preferred solution and hang on to that really, really tightly and say this cannot be the right answer unless you do a particular thing.

“I do not want to do anything that might undermine the key cooperation we have with countries [who] are very wedded to the ECHR for understandable reasons.

“Nothing is cost free. Everything needs to be considered, the advantages and disadvantages.”

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Net migration to the UK reached a record 745,000 in the year to December 2022, according to revised estimates published by the Office for National Statistics on Thursday.

The data places migration levels at three times higher than before Brexit, despite a Conservative party 2019 manifesto pledge to bring overall numbers down.

Sunak is under pressure from Conservative MPs angered by the latest data on legal net migration. The former prime minister Boris Johnson became the latest Tory to pile pressure on the prime minister to act on immigration on Friday.

He said in his Daily Mail column the figures were “way, way too big” and that the minimum income for most migrant workers coming to the UK should rise to £40,000.

Senior Conservatives have said Sunak risks ripping up the Northern Ireland peace process if he blocks human rights laws so the UK can deport asylum seekers to Rwanda. He is under increasing pressure from right-leaning MPs and ministers to close off legal avenues to asylum seekers who have successfully challenged their removal to Rwanda.

#James #Cleverly #frustrated #fixation #governments #Rwanda #policy #James #Cleverly

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