Rwanda: Suella Braverman hits back at Labour criticism
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Suella Braverman accused Labour and the SNP of wanting to create open borders for 100 million displaced people around the world after they came out against deportations to Rwanda again in the wake of the High Court ruling they are legal. Her attack came amid tense scenes in the House of Commons where Ms Baverman made it clear the government will push ahead with the Rwanda scheme.
Addressing Parliament, Ms Braverman said she was pleased the High Court had accepted that the government could prepare to deport illegal migrants to Rwanda to “break the business model of people smugglers”.
But the Home Secretary rapidly came under fire from Labour shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper, the SNP and former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn for intending to press ahead.
In a fierce response, Ms Braverman hit back claiming Labour and other opposition parties wanted to “turn illegal migration into legal migration” by creating safe routes for an estimated 100 million displaced people globally.
She said: “I’m very disappointed by the response from [Labour].
“We have seen through this judgement that this [Rwanda plan] is now lawful.”
The Home Secretary added: “The simple truth here is that Labour opposed every one of our efforts to deter illegal migration.
“They have opposed the Nationality and Borders Act, they have opposed life sentences for people smugglers, they have opposed the deportation of foreign criminals including rapists, drug dealers and murderers.”
She added: “All they offer is obstruction and criticism and performative politics of oppostion.
“What do they actually offer? They want safe and legal routes as the answer no matter that this government has done more in recent history offering sanctuary for 450,000 people via safe and legal routes.”
Ms Braverman pointed out Britain’s capacity is “not unlimited.”
She asked: “Would Labour give them all [100 million people] a safe and legal route to the UK?
“The fundamental reason that Labour can’t articulate a plan is because they cannot decide what they really want.
“Their solution would be to turn our crisis of illegal migration into a crisis of legal migration. Open borders by the back door.”
Ms Braverman had invited the opposition to support the plan.
But Ms Cooper said: “They have put together an unworkable, unethical, extremely expensive Rwanda plan which risks making trafficking worse.”
She pointed out that the government has “failed” to stop criminal gangs putting lives at risk adding that 98 percent of those who have arrived across the Channel have still not had their asylum applications dealt with.
The SNP spokeswoman Alison Thewliss described the judgement as “a dark day”.
She said she is certain that the decision in the High Court will go to appeal and likened the rwanda policy to “slavery, apartheid and marital rape”.
Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said that she was not part of “Britain’s proud tradition in accepting asylum seekers.”
He demanded she had “a sense of humanity for once.”
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However, on the Tory benches there was pressure to know when the planes to Rwanda can take off.
Former cabinet minister Jacob Rees-Mogg demanded to know why a Russian judge at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) can block British legislation called “from a bar late at night”.
Ms Braverman agreed with backbencher Desmond Swayne that the trade in small boats would continue “even if more safe and legal routes for asylum were opened.”
Ipswich MP Tom Hunt, deputy chairman of the influential Common Sense Group, was one of the Tory backbenchers to press for the flights to quickly go ahead.
But Ms Braverman said other legal hurdles (with the ECHR) still needed to be cleared.
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