Keir Starmer tears Rishi Sunak apart over failed migration policies

“Less than 1% of those who arrived by boats have been processed."

Keir Starmer

Keir Starmer took Rishi Sunak apart during PMQs this afternoon over the government’s failed migration policies.

It comes after Sunak and Home Secretary Suella Braverman set out the government’s plans to crack down on small boat crossings, a plan which has already been condemned by human rights groups and the UN and which Braverman has admitted may breach international law.

Under the new legislation, a legal duty is placed on the Home Secretary to remove migrants who arrive in the country illegally. They will be swiftly sent to their home country if it is deemed safe, or to a safe third country such as Rwanda, where they will be “supported to rebuild their lives”, the Home Office said.

The Illegal Immigration Bill, also means that all those who arrive illegally will be declared inadmissible to stay and people who come to the UK illegally will be prevented from settling in the country and will face a permanent ban on returning.

Starmer chose to focus on the government’s migration policies, referring to “five utter failures” in the Conservatives’ policies while in government.

“The problem just gets worse with every new gimmick”, the Labour leader said, referring to the government’s latest asylum proposals.

The Labour leader kicked off PMQs by saying that he wanted to celebrate the success of women on International Women’s Day, and that it was a shame that the government is advocating legislation which pushes a coach and horses through Britain’s ‘world leading’ modern slavery framework which protects women from exploitation.

Starmer said: “He’s promised the country that this bill will stop all small boat crossings, no ifs no buts, sounds like more talk, so in the interests of adequate action, when will he achieve that?”

In response to Sunak’s claim that he was on the wrong side of the issue ‘his entire career’, Starmer replied that when he was Director of Public Prosecutions he extradited countless rapists, and the conviction rate for people smuggling was twice what it is today.

Exposing how chaotic the government’s asylum policies have been, Starmer asked Sunak how many people who have arrived on small boats have been processed? Rishi Sunak said the backlog is 6,000 less than it was.

Keir Starmer went on to add: “Less than 1% of those who arrived by boats have been processed. He shakes his head, it’s the government’s own statistic. On his watch processing of those boat cases has gone from unacceptable in his words to almost non-existent.

“Doesn’t that tell you everything you need to know. After 13 years small boat crossings higher than ever, claims unprocessed, the taxpayer paying for hotel rooms, criminal gangs running all the way laughing to the bank and an asylum system utterly broken on his watch.

“This is their fifth Prime Minister, their sixth immigration plan, their seventh Home Secretary and after all this time, all they offer is the same old gimmicks and empty promises.”

Basit Mahmood is editor of Left Foot Forward

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