Channel crossings

Enforce the borders, stop the boats, save lives

Rishi Sunak has failed in his pledge to ‘Stop the Boats’, and the £480 million deal he signed with France in March is nothing more than a gargantuan waste of money. In fact, the French have intercepted fewer migrants in the Channel this year than they did in 2022. If the Prime Minister is truly committed to stopping the boats he must look to Australia and not France for inspiration. It is ten years this summer since Australia solved its own small boat problem. It did so with determination, courage and a refusal to be cowed by howls of outrage from those who champion a borderless world.  The people smugglers will be

Tories fight over Illegal Migration Bill

The Illegal Migration Bill is back this afternoon for ‘ping pong’ – the final stage of its legislative passage where MPs and peers bat amendments between their respective chambers until a compromise is found. There were 20 such amendments for the government to deal with and there is still a chance that some key Conservatives might rebel tonight. Ministers want to overturn 15 changes. Two of the loudest critics are, inconveniently, former home secretaries Two of the loudest critics are, inconveniently, former home secretaries. Theresa May has criticised the Bill throughout its passage and it is still not clear whether she will vote with the government or rebel tonight. She

The Illegal Migration Bill will define the next election

The government’s Illegal Migration Bill is finally here. Speaking in the House of Commons on Tuesday lunchtime, the Home Secretary unveiled plans to swiftly remove nearly everyone who arrives in the UK via small boats. Suella Braverman said the legislation was necessary as the current asylum laws are not ‘fit for purpose’ adding that public patience ‘has run out’ among the ‘law-abiding patriotic majority’. So, what powers does the new bill grant the government? First, it includes a legal duty on the home secretary to detain and remove those who arrive illegally. The government, too, will have the power to detain asylum seekers for up to 28 days ‘without bail

Liz Truss is a liberal. So how will she approach immigration?

Should Tories already be feeling buyer’s remorse over their new leader? It has been only 20 days since Boris Johnson, a liberal who pretended to be a populist, was replaced by Liz Truss, a liberal who doesn’t pretend to be anything other than a liberal. Whereas Johnson’s was a patrician liberalism with a keen sense of public opinion, Truss is an economic liberal with a swot’s enthusiasm and a swot’s grasp of human instincts. In short, the Tories have swapped a lazy dissembler for an ardent geek. It’s not all they’ve swapped. The communitarian shift that began under Theresa May has been set in reverse and libertarianism has regained the

Will Britain welcome Ukrainian refugees?

Immigration used to be the most-discussed issue in British politics. It gets less attention these days, for reasons too varied to go into here. But even though some voters have been focused on other things, there have been significant changes. Some have been good. Others bad. And the bad ones are about to collide with the Ukrainian crisis. The positive bits of the immigration story have mainly been around regulated, economically-driven migration. Britain’s post-EU migration regime is, well, not as bad as it could have been. It’s not as easy as it was for EU nationals to come here to work, but it’s a bit easier for non-EU nationals to

Priti Patel and the progressive language police

There was an exchange in the House of Commons on Thursday afternoon that ought to be a scandal but won’t. It ought to be a scandal because it involves a Cabinet minister undertaking to do something that, in any other context, would bring waves of condemnation from across the House. It won’t because the scandalous thing the minister pledged to do is endorsed by Good People with Good Intentions and could only be decried by Bad People with Bad Intentions. The minister was Priti Patel and she was being questioned about the deaths of 27 migrants who attempted to enter Britain via the English Channel. The SNP’s Brendan O’Hara said

Talk tough and do nothing: The abject failure of Patel’s migrant strategy

It is somehow fitting that during an Olympic Games a department of Her Majesty’s government is busy smashing records. In the very week that a man ran the 400 metre hurdles at the Tokyo Olympics in a previously unthinkable time of sub-46 seconds, the Home Office presided over the arrival of 482 irregular migrants on the south coast of England in a single day. That easily broke a previous record of 430, set on 19 July or ‘freedom day’. Startled observers of the cross-Channel chaos are now pondering whether the 500 barrier could even be exceeded one day this summer. That the Norwegian hurdler Karsten Warholm’s record represented astounding success, while