The misery of the Kindertransport children

On the night of 9 November 1938, across Germany and Austria, Jews were attacked and their synagogues and businesses set on fire. In the days that followed Kristallnacht, a scheme was put in place to save children from Nazi persecution. Known as the Kindertransport, it would, over the following ten months, bring 10,000 children to the UK.  The Kindertransport – the word refers both to the means of transport and to the overarching programme – has always been regarded as a symbol of British generosity towards those in peril and seeking asylum. But it was all rather more complicated, as Andrea Hammel sets out to show. There have been innumerable

Rishi risks another asylum outcry

With the likelihood of a deal on the Northern Ireland Protocol fading this week, a new issue has emerged to enrage the Tory right: fresh plans to cut tackle the asylum backlog. Asylum seekers will no longer be subjected to face-to-face interviews, with more than 12,000 migrants from five countries having their claims assessed on paper instead. These five countries – Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, Eritrea and Yemen – have the highest asylum success rate. Asylum seekers will have 20 days to fill in and return the fast-track official forms. Officials expect 95 per cent of applicants to be given leave to remain for at least five years, although those who fail

Prince Charles is playing with fire

Charles is a prince on a perilous path. It’s a well-trodden one that is proving more problematic the closer he gets to having a crown placed on his head. He has opinions, who doesn’t. He wants to share them, like the rest of us. His decades long predicament is that he occupies a privileged position which should limit his ability to hold forth. His once private – and not denied – belief that the government’s plan to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda is ‘appalling’ is not the consensus view. A man teetering on the edge of inheriting a unifying role as Head of the Nation has entered a divisive debate

How to fix Britain’s broken asylum system

Asylum is often seen as a simple morality tale—the generous spirited are in favour of it, the hard-hearted against. And we certainly read plenty of high moral dudgeon directed at the Home Office’s pedestrian response to the Ukraine refugee crisis. Much of that criticism was deserved. The lack of preparedness and then the inability to adapt quickly under pressure and allow in anyone with a Ukrainian passport, especially those with relatives here, while sorting out the bureaucracy once they arrived, was indeed dismaying. But the tale relayed for almost a week from almost every media outlet—from the BBC via the Telegraph and Spectator to the New Statesman and Observer/Guardian—of a

Priti Patel is running out of excuses for the Channel migrant crisis

When immigration minister Chris Philp announced last summer that he was in the process of agreeing a ‘new operational plan’ with his French counterparts to stop the cross-Channel traffic in irregular migrants, it seemed as though the government was finally getting a grip on the crisis. In a statement to camera he declared:  ‘We had a very constructive meeting with our French colleagues in Paris this morning. We have reaffirmed our unshakeable shared commitment to making sure this route of crossing the Channel is made unviable…we have worked on a joint operational plan, with the objective in mind of completely cutting this route. We’re going to work at pace in the

Can Priti Patel’s asylum shake-up help Britain take back control?

Every Home Secretary is forced to confront the cold political realities of the office. What they set out to deliver – strengthening countermeasures in the aftermath of a terror attack, say, or taking steps to tackle a spike in violent crime – tends to be supported by swathes of the public at large. But though they can enjoy that currency of quiet public support, Home Secretaries of both major parties must then do battle ‘inside the Beltway’ with a vociferous legal and human rights establishment – and other vested interests ­– which seek to dilute their policy responses to the challenge of the day. To use a term of art,