A senior Conservative politician has likened Suella Braverman’s proposed approach to moving the blocked Rwanda plan forward to something “Putin and Xi do”.
The comparison to actions by the Russian president and Chinese premier came as Conservative MPs reacted to an op-ed by the former home secretary in the Telegraph.
One of the five tests is that the new legislation “must exclude all avenues of legal challenge”.
She said this means disapplying “the entirety of the Human Rights Act and European Convention on Human Rights, and other relevant international obligations, or legislation, including the Refugee Convention”.
Writing on X (formerly Twitter) Conservative MP Damian Green said: “[This] second test is the most unconservative statement I have ever heard from a Conservative politician”.
Green, who served as the de facto deputy prime minister under Theresa May, added: “Giving the state the explicit power to override every legal constraint is what Putin and Xi do. We absolutely cannot go there.”
Green is also the chair of the one nation group of moderate Conservative MPs.
His view differed from that of Sir Simon Clarke, a Conservative MP who served in Liz Truss’ cabinet, who said the proposals from the former home secretary set “out clear and rigorous tests for new legislation on small boats”.
He added: “We should be crystal clear: half measures won’t work. We need the legislation that is brought forward to be truly effective, and if the Lords block it – let’s take it to the country.”
Braverman’s second test laid out in an article entitled “Tinkering with a failed plan will not stop the boats”, read: “The Bill must enable flights before the next general election”.
The former home secretary wrote that “the Bill must exclude all avenues of legal challenge. The entirety of the Human Rights Act and European Convention on Human Rights, and other relevant international obligations, or legislation, including the Refugee Convention, must be disapplied by way of clear ‘notwithstanding’ clauses”.
It added: “Judicial Review, all common law challenges, and all injunctive relief, including the suspensive challenges available under the Illegal Migration Act must be expressly excluded.
“Individuals would, however, be given the chance to demonstrate that they had entered the country legally, were under 18, or were medically unfit to fly – but Home Office decisions on these claims could not be challenged in court”.
Other “tests” outlined by Braverman were: (1), The Bill must address the Supreme Court’s concerns regarding Rwanda; (3), Swift removal must mean swift removal; (4), Those arriving here illegally must be detained; and, (5), This must be treated as an emergency
The article closed: “Having committed to emergency legislation, the prime minister must now give Parliamentarians a clear choice: to either properly control illegal migration, or explain to the British people why they are powerless under international law and must simply accept ever greater numbers of illegal arrivals on these shores”.
This morning, transport secretary Mark Harper reiterated that Rishi Sunak is prepared to “do what it takes” to deliver his Rwanda plan, including “change international agreements”.
Asked if the UK could leave the European Convention on Human Rights, he told Sky News: “If it’s necessary to change our international agreements then we are prepared to do so.”
Asked about the op-ed written by Suella Braverman — in which she said that there is “no chance” of stopping the boats unless we pull out of European human rights laws — he responded: “The point is we do need to make changes to the legal position, that’s why on Wednesday, immediately after the Supreme Court judgement, the prime minister set out two things,” he said.
Politics.co.uk is the UK’s leading digital-only political website, providing comprehensive coverage of UK politics. Subscribe to our daily newsletter here.