Home Secretary Suella Braverman has pledged to do “whatever it takes” to deal with the migrant crisis in the Channel amid calls for the indefinite detention of asylum seekers arriving in the UK illegally.
Ms Braverman said the numbers making the perilous crossing were “wholly unacceptable and unsustainable” and that ministers would “comprehensively tackle the small boats problem”.
She made her comments in a foreword to a report by the centre-right Centre for Policy Studies think tank which called for new laws barring migrants who enter illegally from ever settling in the UK.
In other measures, the report – co-authored by Theresa May’s former adviser Nick Timothy – recommended that ministers should legislate to make it impossible to claim asylum in the UK after travelling from a safe country.
It called for the overhaul of human rights laws – with the UK “if necessary” withdrawing from the European Convention on Human Rights – to allow detentions and offshoring the processing of asylum claims.
And it said ministers should be looking for deals with other countries to supplement the currently stalled plan to deport migrants to Rwanda for processing.
“The British public are fair-minded, tolerant and generous in spirit. But we are fed up with the continued flouting of our laws and immigration rules to game our asylum system,” she wrote.
“And we’ve had enough of the persistent abuse of human rights laws to thwart the removal of those with no right to be in the UK. This must end.
“Saying so is not xenophobic or anti-immigration. It is the reality acknowledged and felt by the vast majority of the British public. To pretend otherwise is to insult them.”
Mr Timothy said tackling the issue would require a “completely different approach” from government, addressing a series of interconnected public problems.
“If we are to stop the crossings, we will need to take immediate and bold action,” he said. “It is not something that can be fixed through gradual, incremental change.”
However an ex-Home Office minister has said the Government’s tough “rhetoric” on tackling illegal migrant crossings was not working.
It comes as immigration minister Robert Jenrick indicated at the weekend that barring people from safe countries such as Albania – from where there has been a recent upsurge in arrivals – from claiming asylum was among the measures being considered.
He said the Government was also looking to tighten the rules on student visas, particularly in relation to bringing family members with them while they studied in the UK.