The UK government is preparing to implement a delay strategy if the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) attempts to block Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s new immigration bill that would ban small boat crossings in the Channel. The government plans to appeal any ruling made against the UK and to implement the policy during any legal proceedings, in an attempt to avoid leaving the ECHR.
Government ministers believe that even if a final ruling goes against the UK, they could ignore it for several years.
The Home Secretary, Suella Braverman, said that the government “very strongly view our proposals as lawful” but admitted that there is a more than 50% chance that the legislation may not be compatible with the European Convention on Human Rights.
The new legislation gives ministers the power to detain and deport all migrants who arrive in the UK on small boats, and they could ignore any rulings made against the government’s plans.
Asylum seekers arriving illegally will be detained without bail or judicial review for 28 days before being “swiftly removed” to their home country or a “safe third country” such as Rwanda.
They face a lifetime ban on returning once deported and will never be allowed to settle in the country or gain citizenship. However, the Bill’s feasibility has been questioned as plans such as forcibly removing asylum seekers to Rwanda are mired in legal challenges.
The government source has stated that they do not want to trigger a full-on confrontation with the court, but instead, they plan to implement the policy while the legal process takes place.
The Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, has said that he is “up for the fight” with the ECHR in Strasbourg.
The UK and French governments will hold an Anglo-French summit in Paris tomorrow to discuss Channel migrants, and French President Emmanuel Macron has called for a hike in funding from the UK to stop Channel crossings.
Both sides are trying to strike a multi-annual financing framework that would put cooperation on a stable footing and allow them to better plan their actions.
»Delay strategy for immigration bill«
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