Priti Patel wants to change the law to stop migrants who cross the Channel in boats from claiming asylum in Britain
- Home Office officials have been asked to draw up a clampdown on asylum rights
- People could be banned from claiming asylum if they arrive from a safe country
- Priti Patel is under pressure following a sharp upsurge in Channel migrants
Migrants crossing the Channel in small boats could be banned from claiming asylum in Britain as part of plans to curb human rights laws.
Home Office officials have been asked to consider a draconian clampdown on asylum rights in a bid to halt the flow of Channel migrants, which has reached record levels in recent weeks.
Under one ‘nuclear option’, people could be banned from claiming asylum if they arrive in the UK from a safe country like France.
Migrants crossing the Channel in small boats could be banned from claiming asylum in Britain as part of plans to curb human rights laws. Pictured: Priti Patel and Michael Gove visiting the Port of Dover
Ministers are also looking at curbing the right of failed asylum seekers to fight deportation in the courts.
Both moves would breach the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), which is implemented in the UK via the Human Rights Act.
A Government source last night insisted that ministers ‘remain committed to the ECHR’, but acknowledged they were looking at ‘how we implement it in our country’.
The source said any changes were ‘not imminent’. The review is also said to be looking at whether to ‘disapply’ the ECHR from new laws such as the Overseas Operations Bill, which is designed to protect British troops from ‘vexatious’ claims following service abroad.
Home Secretary Priti Patel is under pressure to act following a sharp upsurge in Channel migrant numbers to more than 6,000 so far this year.
The Home Secretary is under pressure to act following a sharp upsurge in Channel migrant numbers to more than 6,000 so far this year (pictured)
At a meeting with Tory MPs last month, she said the asylum system was ‘broken’, and pledged to come forward with new laws that would ‘send the Left into meltdown’.
Miss Patel said the system was being ‘exploited by leftie Labour-supporting lawyers’ who were doing everything they could to stop the Government removing people.
The push to shake up human rights laws is being driven by the Prime Minister’s chief adviser Dominic Cummings, who has previously complained the ECHR is responsible for blocking the deportation of dangerous criminals from the UK.
Although the ECHR is not part of EU law, Brussels negotiators have asked for assurances that the UK will continue to comply with it.
The push to shake up human rights laws is being driven by the Prime Minister’s chief adviser Dominic Cummings
Mr Cummings has suggested that voters would have expected Britain to be freed from the jurisdiction of European judges after Brexit.
But Whitehall sources acknowledged that limiting asylum rights could put the UK on a collision course with the 1951 UN Refugee Convention, which ministers have so far shown no appetite to withdraw from.
Justice Secretary Robert Buckland yesterday made clear he was ready to fight to keep the UK signed up to the provisions of the ECHR.
He insisted the idea of the UK pulling out of the convention was ‘for the birds’. It would be ‘wholly wrong’ to quit the convention, he said.
Justice Secretary Robert Buckland yesterday made clear he was ready to fight to keep the UK signed up to the provisions of the ECHR
Pointing out Britain helped to draw it up after the Second World War, he told Times Radio: ‘It is a badge of honour for this country that we did that.
‘Yes, there have been moments when we have had disagreements and clashes about aspects of its interpretation, but you know there is a wide margin of appreciation that allows member states – Britain, France, other countries – to make their own laws which give us a huge amount of freedom.
‘And I do think that rather than focusing on the European Convention we should be focusing on our own domestic laws and working out where perhaps we’ve gold-plated laws a bit too much in what is often an English law tradition, rather than criticising the convention itself.’