RISHI Sunak has vowed to tackle the Channel crossings crisis as a priority in his first 100 days if he becomes PM.
The Tory leadership contender today unveils a ten-point plan to take back control of the UK’s borders as he declares the system “broken”.Rishi Sunak has vowed to get tough on illegal immigration[/caption]
The former Chancellor is understood not to have ruled out withdrawing from the European Convention of Human Rights — if there is no other solution to the migrants problem.
Mr Sunak last night said: “It must stop — and if I am Prime Minister I will stop it.”
Writing in this paper today, he adds: “People are tired of seeing small boats arrive in this country with the authorities appearing helpless to stop them.
“I know Sun on Sunday readers are patriotic, generous people who want to help those who play by the rules and need our assistance.
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“But they are rightly baffled as to why the Government can’t stop the boats drifting on to Britain’s beaches hour by hour.”
The major policy intervention is seen as an attempt by Mr Sunak to make up ground on No10 frontrunner Liz Truss.
It comes ahead of a crunch week as the pair go head to head in a series of TV showdowns and hustings, including The Sun and TalkTV debate on Tuesday evening.
Mr Sunak, whose resignation from government triggered the toppling of Boris Johnson, promises to do whatever is necessary to tackle illegal migration — including pulling out of the ECHR.
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But the first step will be to push ahead with how the ECHR is interpreted and applied in the UK, a stance outlined by Justice Secretary Dominic Raab last month.
A British Bill of Rights aims to ensure courts cannot interpret laws that were never intended by Parliament and prevent trivial human rights claims.
And in one of his first acts as PM, Mr Sunak will redefine and tighten the legal definition of who qualifies for asylum laws.
The test for protection will be more in line with the Refugee Convention than the interpretation of the ECHR to try to prevent those who enter illegally from staying here.
It would mean enhanced powers being brought in to tag, detain and monitor illegal migrants, including foreign offenders.
Plans will also include giving Parliament control over the number of refugees who are allowed in via safe and legal routes.
Mr Sunak will also press for urgent face-to-face talks with French President Emmanuel Macron to find a mutual solution to the small boats crossings.
He will attempt to strike a returns agreement with both countries jointly investing in schemes to stop smuggling routes.
A Small Boats Taskforce will be established. It will incorporate military expertise and use the resources of the National Crime Agency and intelligence capabilities to stop trafficking in its early stages.
Mr Sunak, who has already backed the Rwanda policy in the campaign, will also pursue additional deals with other countries.
Home Secretary Priti Patel signed the initial £120million deal with the East African country but it has been bogged down in legal challenges.
In a radical move, Mr Sunak will move to give migration a more prominent role in the UK’s foreign policy objectives.
Assessments will be made on the Government’s foreign aid outlay, trade deal terms and visa options for countries unwilling to cooperate in taking back their own citizens.
A crackdown is also planned on government spending for housing asylum-seekers in hotels.
Earlier this year, the bill stood at £4.7million a day.
Cruise ships may be used to house the growing numbers.
More case workers will also be hired, with performance incentives to hit a target of 80 per cent of asylum claims being settled within six months.
The new Illegal Migration Taskforce will also be asked to find out why asylum approval rates here are higher than other European countries.
Companies and individuals who fail to check the immigration status of workers, or use illegal staff, face greater fines and even the threat of jail sentences.
Immigration enforcement bodies will be given more cash to carry out more raids and site visits to target those who should not be in the UK.
Greater data sharing will make it easier to identify those who are here illegally.
And work will be commissioned to bring about more fundamental reform at both the Home Office and Border Force.
Mr Sunak, launching his blueprint, said: “Our immigration system is broken.
“Whether you believe migration should be high or low, we can all agree it should be legal and controlled.
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“The system is chaotic, with law-abiding citizens seeing boats full of illegal immigrants coming from the safe country of France with our sailors and coastguards seemingly powerless to stop them.
“It must stop — and if I am Prime Minister I will stop it.”Rishi Sunak says the current immigration system is ‘chaotic’[/caption]