Sacked home secretary Suella Braverman has been accused of wanting to do ‘what Putin and Xi do’ in her latest bid to ensure deportation flights to Rwanda can take off.
Mrs Braverman, dismissed during a reshuffle this week, has said the prime minister’s proposals to overcome the Supreme Court’s verdict that the Rwanda policy is unlawful and unlikely to succeed in removing asylum seekers before the next election.
She predicts Mr Sunak’s two-part plan would likely get bogged down in both domestic and European courts as she proposed introducing legislation that “excludes all avenues of legal challenge”.
In an article for The Daily Telegraph, Mrs Braverman said a ‘solution’ to the challenge of stopping migrants crossing the English Channel “demands of the government an end to self-deception and spin”.
“There must be no more magical thinking,” she writes. “Tinkering with a failed plan will not stop the boats.”
Mrs Braverman argues that “amending our agreement with Rwanda and converting it into a treaty, even with explicit obligations on non-refoulement, will not solve the fundamental issue”.
Instead, she proposes that ministers address concerns raised by the five senior judges about Rwanda’s asylum and legal system by “embedding UK observers and independent reviewers of asylum decisions”.
New legislation should be laid in Westminster to “exclude all avenues of legal challenge” so that international obligations, such as the Human Rights Act and the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), are “disapplied by way of clear ‘notwithstanding clauses’”, she said.
The right-wing Conservative also suggested Parliament sit over Christmas to ensure the new emergency law can be passed before next year. The Fareham MP said a new treaty with Rwanda would “still require going back through the courts”, a process that she predicted could take at least a year.
And even a victory in domestic courts would only mean the “saga would simply relocate to Strasbourg where the European court would take its time deciding if it liked our laws”, she added.
“That is why the plan outlined by the PM will not yield flights to Rwanda before an election if Plan B is simply a tweaked version of the failed Plan A,” said the former Home Office chief.
Her proposals were quickly met with criticism, even from her own party, as the Conservatives continue to be divided by her hardline approach.
MP Ashford for Damian Green wrote on X on Thursday evening: “The second test is the most unconservative statement I have ever heard from a Conservative politician. Giving the state the explicit power to override every legal constraint is what Putin and Xi do. We absolutely cannot go there.”
Mr Sunak’s response to the Supreme Court judgment on Wednesday saw him announce that his administration plans to lay down emergency legislation to have Parliament deem Rwanda a “safe” country.
He also intends to broker a new legally binding treaty on top of the £140m deal already struck with Kigali to take migrants arriving in Britain via small boats.
The yet-to-be-published treaty with Rwanda is expected to attempt to address the Supreme Court’s concerns around refoulement – the potential for refugees whose applications for asylum are rejected by Kigali to be sent back to the country they are fleeing from.