Detaining people entering the country illegally and preventing them from ever settling in the UK are “options” being considered by Suella Braverman and No. 10 as the government puts a crackdown on small boats at the center of its agenda.
The ideas are contained in a report by the right-wing think tank the Center for Policy Studies, for which Braverman wrote a foreword.
While the Home Secretary said she disagreed with everything in the report, the Home Office did not deny that some ideas were being explored as potential policy.
Asked about the idea of detaining asylum seekers and denying them entry to settlement, a government source said: “The Prime Minister and the Home Secretary are absolutely focused on cracking down on illegal migration first and foremost and are working together on options to make sure we have control over our borders.”
Labor said the government’s position was “simply chaos and it’s clear no one has a grip”.
Sunak has made stopping small boat crossings one of his political priorities despite the difficulties of addressing the issue, with focus groups suggesting it is a major concern for conservative voters.
The Center for Policy Studies report was co-written by Nick Timothy, a former Home Office adviser and Downing Street chief of staff; it calls for a range of new policies to stop the Channel crossings.
Robert Jenrick, the immigration minister under Braverman, seemed to signal a much tougher approach in an interview with GB News on Saturday, saying he wanted to create a system “where deterrence drips through the whole thing”.
He added: “To me that means you shouldn’t be given a way of life in the UK if you come here illegally. There will be policies like [deportations to] Rwanda at the center – and I hope we can get that through once it gets through the British courts. It also means looking at how we treat people on arrival so no one thinks coming to the UK is a soft touch, and the UK is no better place for ‘asylum seekers’ than our EU neighbour.”
Yvette Cooper, the shadow secretary of the interior, said Braverman was “chasing one set of headlines by putting her name on a report that contradicts government policy, while the secretary of immigration is informing something completely different, and meanwhile nobody is doing the serious work to get things in order. from”.
“This shows Rishi Sunak’s appalling judgment in reappointing Suella Braverman and his weakness in allowing this chaos to continue.”
Cooper added: “The Conservatives have now had six home affairs ministers and eight immigration ministers in seven years, and all they have done is make the problems worse. Instead of the rhetoric and chasing headlines, they should adopt Labour’s scheme, including a specialist unit in the National Crime Agency to go after the criminal gangs driving this, and take immediate action to close the backlog and remove the chaos from the asylum system. ”