A Senior Conservative has said that campaigning to leave the ECHR would be “completely foolish and absolutely wrong”.
Sir Robert Neill, who chairs the justice select committee, told the BBC that leaving the ECHR “Isn’t Conservative party policy. It isn’t government policy. Whoever these unnamed people are speak for themselves, not for the government and not for the Conservative Party”.
It comes after unnamed senior Conservative sources have hinted that the party could campaign to leave the ECHR if the government’s Rwanda deportation’s policy is blocked further.
Mr Neill continued: “To leave ECHR that we would leave the Council of Europe, that will mean we will be in the same company as Russia and Belarus the only other two European countries which are not members of the Council of Europe”.
He added: “I don’t think any Conservative ought to be wanting to be that sort of company”.
On the morning media round, immigration minister Robert Jenrick way notably coy when questioned about his party’s position on the ECHR.
Asked if the government would leave the European Convention on Human Rights to “stop the boats”, he told Times Radio: “We will do whatever is required take whatever necessary action is needed”.
He added: “But the point I think I’ve tried to make to you is that we’re very confident that the arrangements that we’ve put in place with Rwanda are in accordance with our international law obligations”.
17.16 pm — That’s all for today…
Thanks very much for joining us on day three of “small boats week”. See how the day transpired with our as-it-happened rolling coverage.
- Senior Conservative MP Sir Robert Neill called campaigning to leave the ECHR “completely foolish and absolutely wrong” (see post at 14.07 pm).
- Lee Anderson, the Conservative deputy chair, admitted that the government has “failed” on immigration (see post at 11.27 am).
- Robert Jenrick confirmed that if alysum seekers do not board the Bibby Stockholm barge “then we do withdraw their accommodation support” (see post at 08.32 am).
Politics.co.uk’s live blog will be back tomorrow to bring you the latest.
14.07 pm — A senior Conservative has labelled those calling for the UK to leave the ECHR “completely foolish and absolutely wrong”. Sir Robert Neill told the BBC:
Well, it will be a completely foolish idea and absolutely wrong. It isn’t Conservative party policy. It isn’t government policy. Whoever these unnamed people are speak for themselves, not for the government and not for the Conservative Party. It will be a grave error to do so. To leave ECHR that we would leave the Council of Europe, that will mean we will be in the same company as Russia and Belarus the only other two European countries which are not members of the Council of Europe. I don’t think any Conservative ought to be wanting to be that sort of company.
11.27 am — Lee Anderson, the Conservative deputy chair, has admitted that the government has “failed” on immigration.
Anderson made the comment in an interview with Nigel Farage last night on GB News.
Farage put it to Anderson that the government had “completely and utterly failed everyone” on immigration. Anderson replied:
Listen Nigel, I am not going to sit here and make excuses to anyone. This is out of control, we are in power at the moment, I am the deputy chair of the Conservative party, we are in government and we have failed on this. There is no doubt about it.
We have said we are going to fix it, it is a failure.
Anderson added that the government has policies in place to address small boats crossings, naming the Rwanda deportations plan and the Illegal Migration Act. But he admitted that progress “seems very slow”.
He also said the government faced opposition from “lefty lawyers”, human rights groups and charities.
09.48 am — In case you missed it: Labour brands Bibby Stockholm barge “floating symbol of catastrophic failure”.
Louise Haigh, the shadow transport secretary, said yesterday the Bibby Stockholm “is not an example of success for the Conservatives, and it’s not a solution to the asylum crisis that they are responsible for”.
Ms Haigh said it was “laughable” that the government continues to blame the opposition for blocking measures to tackle illegal migration, noting the government has been in power for 13 years.
Read the full article.
09.12 am — Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper responds to deputy Conservative chairman Lee Anderson’s comment that asylum seekers who don’t wish to be housed in a barge should “f*** off back to France”. She tells Sky News:
It’s clearly wrong. And this is ramping up the rhetoric, which is just trying to distract from the fact that the government is failing. Instead of ramping up the rhetoric instead of promoting division, what they should be doing is getting on with sorting the problems out.
Rishi Sunak’s plan is just not working at the moment, we’ve got the crossings in June and July are higher than they were last year. Also 10,000 more people in hotels compared to when Rishi Sunak promised to end hotel use altogether. And the asylum system just feels broken border security is being undermined.
09.03 am — Conservative Party deputy chairman Lee Anderson has been labelled a “village fool” in an attack on “the broken politics of pound shop Enoch Powells” by the Alba Party’s Chris McEleny.
McEleny, who serves as general secretary of Alex Salmond’s pro-independence Alba Party, was responding to comments by Lee Anderson, after the deputy Conservative chairman told asylum seekers who don’t wish to be housed in a barge to “f*** off back to France”.
No 10 has defended his remark and justice secretary Alex Chalk said Anderson’s anger was “well placed”.
08.32 am — Jenrick continues his media studio tour. Asked if the government would leave the European Convention on Human Rights to “stop the boats”, he tells Times Radio:
We will do whatever is required take whatever necessary action is needed. But the point I think I’ve tried to make to you is that we’re very confident that the arrangements that we’ve put in place with Rwanda are in accordance with our international law obligations.
We offer support to those people who claim to be destitute who say that they have absolutely no way of supporting themselves. That’s a legal obligation that the government has but we do so on a no choice basis. There’s not a menu of options whereby you can choose which hotel or location you would prefer. These are individuals who said that they’re, they’re destitute, and we have to be fair to the British taxpayer in the way we apply that policy
So if you don’t choose to cooperate and to move to the accommodation that’s provided them, we will, as we said, consider removing your asylum support
Questioned further on this point on BBC Breakfast, the minister says:
We’ve written to those individuals who have so far declined to travel, and as I understand it, a significant proportion of them have already changed their minds and agreed to move
If they don’t change their mind, then we do withdraw their accommodation support. And that’s the process that we’re in at the moment. … If they choose not to take the accommodation that’s provided by the taxpayer, for whatever reason, then they have to look after themselves
8.09 am — The government has agreed a deal with Turkey to share live intelligence on people-smuggling gangs that manufacture the small boats for Channel migrant crossings. Immigration minister Robert Jenrick tells GB News:
We’re entering into a new partnership with the government of Turkey, which is a close ally of the United Kingdom, whereby we’re going to deepen our partnership on illegal migration with a particular focus on the supply chain of boats and engines and how we can work together to smash the gangs and tackle the the manufacture and the transport of boats and engines through Turkey into Europe
Asked how much money is being spent on the deal, Jenrick replies:
Well, we are giving some funding to Turkey you would expect that because we’re going to be working closely with them, but it’s not primarily about money. This is mainly about the share of intelligence and information between our world leading police and security services and their law enforcement authorities.
So it’s a win win for both countries, and reflects the fact that the UK wants to be the partner of choice to any country in Europe or beyond, which shares our determination to tackle this issue.
Pushed again on how much money is being sent to Turkey, Jenrick says:
What we are doing is spending some money on this issue. I’m not able to say how much this morning but what we are funding with Turkey is real investment in core law enforcement capability with a centre of excellence whereby Turkish national police will be training up to tackle this issue in Turkey are working very closely with the National Crime Agency, police and Border Force here in the United Kingdom.
7.45 am — Good morning and welcome back to “Politics LIVE”, politics.co.uk‘s rolling coverage of the day’s key moments in Westminster and beyond. Here you can keep up to date with today’s major parliamentary debates, press conferences and news events in real time
Here’s what’s happening:
- Home Office minister Robert Jenrick is currently touring morning broadcast studios to tout his deal with Turkey to crack down on people smugglers.
- But a cyberattack on the Electoral Commission which has compromised the data of tens of millions of UK voters is likely to also prove a topic of interest.
- Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper and Liberal Democrat deputy leader Daisy Cooper will also be touring media studios.
Stay with us and we’ll bring you all the latest developments as they unfold.