Robert Jenrick

Why I resigned as immigration minister

Credit: Getty Images

This evening, Robert Jenrick resigned as immigration minister after disagreeing with the government’s plans to amend the Rwanda scheme. Here is his resignation letter in full:

Dear Prime Minister,

It is with great sadness that I write to tender my resignation as Minister for Immigration. I cannot continue in my position when I have such strong disagreements with the direction of the government’s policy on immigration.

As you know, I have been pushing for the strongest possible piece of emergency legislation to ensure that under the Rwanda policy we remove as many small boat arrivals, as swiftly as possible, to generate the greatest deterrent effect. This stems from my firmly held position that the small boats crisis is a national emergency that is doing untold damage to our country, and the only way we will be able to stop the boats completely is by urgently introducing a major new deterrent.

I have therefore consistently advocated for a clear piece of legislation that severely limits the opportunities for domestic and foreign courts to block or undermine the effectiveness of the policy. One of the great advantages of our unwritten constitution is the unfettered power of our sovereign parliament to create law, and that is a power we must take full advantage of. The government has a responsibility to place our vital national interests above highly contested interpretations of international law.

In the discussions on the proposed emergency legislation you have moved towards my position, for which I am grateful. Nevertheless, I am unable to take the currently proposed legislation through the Commons as I do not believe it provides us with the best possible chance of success. A Bill of the kind you are proposing is a triumph of hope over experience. The stakes for the country are too high for us not to pursue the stronger protections required to end the merry-go-round of legal challenges which risk paralysing the scheme and negating its intended deterrent.

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