'Complete disdain for the British public!' Labour accused of having no plan to tackle migration as figures soar

'Complete disdain for the British public!' Labour accused of having no plan to tackle migration as figures soar
Millie Cooke

By Millie Cooke

Published: 27/11/2023

- 16:26

Updated: 27/11/2023

- 16:38

The latest Office for National Statistics figures, published last week, show that net migration reached a record 745,000 last year.

Robert Jenrick has accused Labour of having "complete disdain" for the British public over migration.

Accusing Labour of having no plan to tackle the problem, he said the Government will set out plans to reduce both legal and illlegal migration "in due course".

The remarks come in the wake of the last Office for National Statistics' figures, published last week, which show that net migration reached a record 745,000 last year under the Conservative Government.

Addressing the Immigration Minister in the House of Commons, Shadow Home Office Minister Stephen Kinnock said: "Since the previous home secretary was removed from her post, I think it’s fair to say that the immigration minister has become a law unto himself."

He added: “Does the immigration minister have any respect whatsoever for the authority of the new Home Secretary?

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"And given that he’s said to be on resignation watch, can he confirm that he will resign if his proposals are rejected?”

Responding, Jenrick said Labour has not said how they would address the situation, adding: “They have complete disdain for the British public.”

He said the public “demand that we reduce the levels of both legal and illegal migration”, adding: “The Home Secretary and I will do absolutely everything in our power to achieve that.

“We are working closely with the Prime Minister, and we will be setting out further plans in due course.”

Jenrick is understood to have put forward a five point plan to tackle legal migration.

The Conservative Government suffered a further blow the week before on the same issue, when the Supreme Court ruled that its plan to send migrants to Rwanda was unlawful.

While many MPs, including Jenrick, are in favour of pursuing all options to make the Rwanda scheme work, Cleverly has indicated reluctance after he urged people not to "fixate" on the plans.

He also said that leaving the European Convention on Human Rights - a policy which has been pushed by Jenrick and former Home Secretary Suella Braverman - would undermine attempts to stop the boats.

Speaking in the Commons today, Jenrick said the Rwanda deportation plan is an “extremely important” part of the Government’s strategy and claimed the Opposition “don’t have the stomach” to try such a policy.

Conservative MP James Morris said: "In relation to the Rwanda policy, the Home Secretary was quoted as saying that 'my frustration is that we’ve allowed the narrative to be created that this was to be the be-all-and-end-all of Government policy'.

"Would the minister agree with the Home Secretary? And if he does agree with the Home Secretary, what is the Government’s policy in relation to combatting of boats and resisting illegal migration and what is our policy?"

Jenrick responded: "When the Prime Minister and I set out our comprehensive plan this time last year it had many facets, one of which – an extremely important component of which – was our Rwanda plan.

"But it was not the only element of our plan, and we have worked intensively over the course of the last 12 months on each and every other facet of that plan. Those on the opposite benches jeer but is that plan working? Yes it is and you can see that from the fact that we are almost the only country in Europe where the number of illegal entrants is falling.”

The Immigration Minister added: “None of that negates the importance of interjecting a further critical deterrent, and that is the crucial element of the Rwanda scheme. And that is the difference between those of us on this side and the Opposition because frankly they don’t want to stop the boats and they don’t have the stomach to do a policy like Rwanda.”


James Cleverly

Cleverly has indicated reluctance after he urged people not to "fixate" on the Rwanda plan


The debate also saw Tory MP Jill Mortimer warn that the UK must not be “turned into the EU”.

She asked Jenrick: “Is it time to realise these well-intentioned international treaties and conventions, agreed 70 years ago, are no longer fit for purpose?

“We simply cannot accommodate all those who would qualify for asylum under existing rules. The world is facing troubled times and more mass migration.

“Will my right honourable friend ensure to me he will do all he can to raise the bar for those seeking asylum or migration here?

“Look at other solutions to stop people leaving their homelands so those countries can make better futures for themselves without the loss of their young?

“Much of Europe is in a dire state because of mass immigration, we cannot let the United Kingdom go the same way.”

Jenrick replied: “[Ms Mortimer] makes a very strong point. Whilst some of those coming here to claim asylum do have genuine grounds for asylum, many are economic migrants making spurious claims to game the system.

“For some nationalities our grant rates are out of sync with European countries and that’s why we’ve taken extensive work to lower them.”

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