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The Somerset Guardian, 26th April 2023

This week, the Home Secretary, Suella Braverman, wrote to me regarding the Illegal Migration Bill.

Last year, over 45,000 people crossed the Channel illegally in small boats. Many originated from safe countries and all travelled through safe countries to arrive here. This is unfair on those who come here legally and burdensome on the British people who are paying to support them during trying economic circumstances.

Stopping the boats is one of the Government’s main priorities. It is only by ensuring that we can detain and swiftly remove those who come here illegally that we will eradicate the incentive for people to take dangerous journeys across the Channel and finally stamp out people trafficking.

The Government often faces spurious claims about abuse of the law when attempting to remove people with no right to be in the UK. By introducing a measure to restrict interim relief, the Government makes its intentions clear to the courts that only the in-country claims should be under the narrow exception afforded under the Bill, i.e. where people face a real and imminent risk of “serious and irreversible harm” in the specific country that the Home Office is removing them to. 

The Home Secretary assured me that children will always be protected and given that unaccompanied children will be treated thus the Government has been conscious, in its writing of the Bill, of the need to ensure that a perverse incentive is not created to encourage criminal gangs to smuggle them into the UK.

The UK is a compassionate country and we have a long and generous history of supporting refugees. If passed, this legislation would help people in genuine need of protection as well as ensuring that the British taxpayer's money is spent correctly.

As always, please do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of any assistance:

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