Sunak should have listened to Braverman - instead Reform have hit a record high

Braverman sacked, Reform up and Sunak struggling

Braverman sacked, Reform up and Sunak struggling

PA
Michael  Heaver

By Michael Heaver


Published: 15/11/2023

- 17:15

The Rwanda policy has been blocked just as Reform UK are gaining ground, GB News Community Editor Michael Heaver writes.

There can be no doubt: what we've seen in recent years from the Conservative Government - with three different Prime Ministers - has been a complete failure to stop illegal immigration from France.

I actually mentioned on GB News a while ago that core to all of this was the ECHR. Without dealing with this first, the Government had no chance of stopping the boats.


Of course the Government has been in the bizarre situation - until this week - of containing a Home Secretary who has called for a far different approach to the route that Rishi Sunak has chosen to go down.

Suella Braverman has long called for Britain to quit the ECHR. Indeed this pledge was the centrepiece of her Tory leadership campaign.-

But even with Braverman as Home Secretary, this was not and is not the Government's approach. Instead yesterday we heard from Braverman herself about the various pledges that Rishi Sunak had made in return for her backing.

These included a commitment to cutting overall legal migration, as the Conservatives have consistently promised (and failed) to do.

But the now former Home Secretary also highlighted another assurance the Prime Minister allegedly gave, to: "Include specific 'notwithstanding clauses' into new legislation to stop the boats, i.e. exclude the operation of the European Convention on Human Rights, Human Rights Act and other international law that had thus far obstructed progress on this issue."

Instead, the Supreme Court's ruling on the Rwanda scheme today leaves the Government looking weak, shambolic and indecisive.

There is a fundamental point about democracy being at stake in all of this. YouGov's recent research demonstrated that the Rwanda policy is supported by way more voters (48 per cent) than who oppose it (35 per cent).

That includes support from 75 per cent of Leave voters and a whopping 77 per cent of Conservative supporters.

It is deeply disturbing that an elected Government has allowed itself to get blocked from delivering a policy with such large public support.

The Tory MP for Dover and Deal, Natalie Elphicke, today gave a dose of reality as to where the Government's strategy now sits: "The Supreme’s Court decision on Rwanda means the policy is effectively at an end. No planes will be leaving and we now need to move forward.

"With winter coming the timing of this decision couldn’t be worse. Be in no doubt, this will embolden the people smugglers and put more lives at risk.

"A fresh policy is now needed: a new Cross Channel Agreement with France to stop the boats leaving and return those that do to the safety of the French coast. That should be David Cameron’s top foreign policy priority."

There have of course been various deals done with the French authorities for years now. They have involved British taxpayers coughing up large wads of cash and illegal immigration getting even worse in return. Unilateral action is required and the case for leaving the ECHR has long been clear.

The backdrop to all of this is an explosive GB News poll that showed the Tories now dipping to below 20 per cent support, with Reform UK hitting a record-high 11 per cent. Labour now have a commanding 30-point lead.

Perhaps the way out of this chaos for the Tories would have been - as was reported over the weekend - for the Prime Minister to listen to Suella and call a snap election, centered around taking tough action to finally protect our borders.

Instead Braverman has gone, Reform are up and the discontent within Conservative ranks seems to be spreading as MPs consider putting in their letters.

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