After three days of speculation, Robert Jenrick has finally broken cover. In this morning’s Daily Telegraph he sets out in an 1,800-word article, the reasons why he resigned from government on Wednesday, why he thinks the Rwanda Bill will fail and what his broader concerns are about high levels of migration.
On Sunak’s flagship legislation, Jenrick expresses doubt that ministers will really use powers to ignore Strasbourg interim measures grounding flights. He writes that ‘the new Bill replicates the provisions under the section 55 of the Illegal Migration Act, which enables ministers to use their “discretion”, but in practice I know the instances this will be used is vanishingly rare, if ever.’
The Newark MP believes that the legal challenge avenue left open will render the Bill useless, arguing instead that the whole of the European Convention on Human Rights should be disapplied in the legislation. Just like his former boss Suella Braverman, he argues that the ECHR and existing asylum frameworks should be scrapped as ‘these treaties were designed for a different world.’
As for legal migration, he argues that the measures announced on Monday need to come in sooner than the spring to avoid a spike in migration in the months ahead, with further ‘significant’ new measures needed in the new year, including looking at university courses that are targeted at overseas students. Jenrick’s piece finishes with this prophecy:
There is no better example of the failed Westminster consensus over the last 30 years than the historically unprecedented levels of immigration that have been forced on voters against their wish. As we are seeing in election after election across Europe, immigration will be a defining issue of 21st century politics. The public’s patience has already snapped. Centre-Right parties across Europe have a choice: begin to deliver on the mainstream concerns of ordinary people when it comes to immigration, or face their red-hot fury at the ballot box.