Tough new laws to tackle small boats crossing the Channel are set to be unveiled as Rishi Sunak seeks to capitalise on Brexit breakthrough ‘momentum’
- The provisionally titled Illegal Migration Bill will combat the arrivals to the UK
- Home Secretary Suella Braverman will spend the weekend finalising details
New laws to tackle the small boats crisis are due to be unveiled next week as Rishi Sunak aims to capitalise on the ‘momentum’ from his Brexit breakthrough.
The long-awaited measures, provisionally titled the Illegal Migration Bill, will set out a wide range of tough laws to combat arrivals across the Channel.
The Bill is expected to be published ahead of a summit between the Prime Minister and French president Emmanuel Macron on Friday.
‘There is now a political imperative to seize upon the opportunities that have been provided by the Northern Ireland Protocol,’ a source said.
‘The momentum is such that details of the small boats Bill are likely to be agreed in government very quickly. Ministers want to sort it and get it done.’
New laws to tackle the small boats crisis are due to be unveiled next week. Pictured: A group of migrants arrive at Dover on February 21
Home Secretary Suella Braverman, pictured on February 20, is expected to spend this weekend finalising the final details of the laws
Home Secretary Suella Braverman is expected to spend this weekend finalising the final details of the laws – which will be closely based on a series of pledges made by the PM in December to ‘stop the boats’.
Mr Sunak vowed then that the Government would ‘make unambiguously clear that if you enter the UK illegally you should not be able to remain here’.
It comes after nearly 46,000 migrants crossed the Channel by small boat last year, a huge rise on the 28,500 seen in 2021.
The package of legislation will strengthen existing laws setting out that anyone entering the UK illegally is committing a crime.
It is thought this will help meet Mr Sunak’s pledge to detain or remove anyone who arrives in Britain by irregular routes, such as across the Channel by small boat.
The Bill is also expected to strengthen measures which allow asylum applications to be declared ‘inadmissible’.
It may also bar Channel migrants from appealing against deportation – and is expected to include specific clauses to prevent them lodging claims under human rights laws.
There have previously been reports that the Home Office will be granted new powers to carry out removals even if objections are lodged by the European Court of Human Rights.
Strasbourg judges blocked the Home Office’s first attempt at a removals flight to Rwanda last June by issuing an interim injunction.
Justice Secretary Dominic Raab has argued strongly that members of the Convention are not bound by such injunctions, because they were devised by the court itself and do not rely on powers within the treaty.
The new Bill is also expected to underpin the principle of sending irregular migrants to a safe third country such as Rwanda.
The legislation is also expected to tighten modern slavery laws which are being exploited by criminal gangs to delay police investigations and by migrants to avoid removal.
The PM has vowed to raise the threshold for modern slavery claims so that ‘objective evidence’ of exploitation is required rather than mere ‘suspicion’.
It came as Home Office figures revealed that modern slavery claims reached a record high last year – boosted by an 84 per cent surge in Albanians claiming.
There were 16,938 modern slavery claims in 2022 – up 33 per cent on the previous year. Of those, 4,613 were from Albanian nationals.
There is widespread concern that modern slavery laws are being exploited by migrants who arrive here illegally to delay being removed from the country.