'Rishi Sunak is right. Labour cannot be trusted to secure our borders,' writes David Simmonds MP

'Rishi Sunak is right. Labour cannot be trusted to secure our borders,' writes David Simmonds MP

Rishi Sunak defends Rwanda policy ahead of the General Election

David Simmonds

By David Simmonds

Published: 26/05/2024

- 15:00

David Simmonds is the Conservative MP for Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner

With a General Election looming, the Prime Minister is right – Keir Starmer cannot be trusted to solve illegal immigration or protect us in a dangerous world.

His recent announcements simply restate actions which the Conservative government has already taken, and I met those doing the work to tackle the smugglers in France, and heard of some of their successes.

Simply promising what is already being done offers no hope of progress for the future, in contrast to the actions of Rishi Sunak and the current government.

With the Rwanda Act now enshrined in the statute book, this Government has provided a deterrent that our European friends are now looking to replicate.

Shamefully, Starmer has recommitted to scrapping this policy leaving us without a meaningful deterrent. At the same time, the Opposition is yet to commit to backing the Government’s increase in defence spending.

Realistically, we shouldn’t have expected the Labour leader to have acted any differently.

He has always swayed with even the lightest breeze swerving from policy to policy, providing no meaningful outlook for our national future and no commitment to our national security.

I would not be surprised if by the time my constituents go to the polls, the Labour leader has completed yet another U-turn on this policy.

Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer launching General Election campaigns

Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer have launched their General Election campaigns this week


In contrast, the Prime Minister has shown that he believes in our country and knows that the fundamental role of Government is to provide security for its citizens.

Facing off against a committed opposition, the Prime Minister has stuck to his guns and has found overwhelming support from the British people.

In his far-ranging policy speech, Rishi was right to double down on his commitment to a secure future.

With the first flights to Rwanda scheduled and our defence spending increasing to 2.5 per cent of GDP by 2030, the UK is best served by this Government.

I am glad that this secure future sees us remaining working with our European friends both in NATO and importantly through our commitment to the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR).

The latter of which is much misunderstood and its role in deciding domestic policy is much overstated.

This vital international forum is wrongly maligned by some in the UK press, but the reality is we have more control of it than it has over us.

The principles of the ECHR, enforced by the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) seek merely to ensure that we are upholding our commitments to our own citizens, and it remains accountable to the MPs who sit on its parliamentary assembly.

That is why over 90 per cent of cases brought to the court are ultimately found to be inadmissible as the court largely remains committed to its founding remit.

In part, this is due to the very democratic accountability of the court that many perceive to be out of touch and beyond scrutiny.

Since its foundation, it has been a key tenet of the court that judges are appointed by our own directly elected MPs, unlike those who sit in our much respected, but politically independent, UK courts.

That being said, I respect the Prime Minister’s words of warning to the Strasbourg institution.

With controversy surrounding the ECtHR’s ruling in the KlimaSeniorinnen case, it is important that the Prime Minister outlined his commitment to prioritising our country’s security.


Rishi Sunak announces General Election date outside Downing Street

Rishi Sunak has announced the General Election would take place on July 4


These are words of warning that haven’t been matched by Starmer.

Ultimately, I do not believe that we will be put in a position where we might have to reconsider the common legal basis that we share with our partners in both the UN and the European continent.

Instead, I see a wider realignment of the international courts as member nations use the democratic accountability of the courts to recommit the institution to its founding remit as envisioned by Churchill – the convention’s totemic founder.

Labour might think that sitting on the fence will deliver them an election victory, but I believe that they have sorely misunderstood the mood of the electorate.

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