Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak, the two candidates to succeed Boris Johnson at the head of the UK government, presented this Sunday their plans to address immigration, with many commonalities and the shared idea of toughening the system of asylum. Having exposed their differences on fiscal policy in the early days of the Conservative primary campaign, Truss and Sunak pledged today to go further in Johnson’s crackdown on illegal immigration.
The current Foreign Minister assured, in an interview to the newspaper The Mail on Sunday, which will increase the number of border guards by 20% and will reach new bilateral agreements, similar to what the UK already has with Rwanda, to deport asylum seekers who have entered clandestinely. “The policy with Rwanda is the right one. I am determined to fully implement it, as well as explore other countries with which we can work in similar partnerships,” Truss said.
The first flight with asylum seekers to Rwanda has been suspended by the court. after the European Court of Human Rights ordered the precautionary cancellation of the deportations. The British Supreme Court will examine the legality of this plan in September.
A week ago, the newspaper The Times revealed that among the countries for which Truss was considering expanding the program started with Rwanda were Spain and Turkey. The Rwandan government has acknowledged that, for now, it only has the capacity to welcome 200 immigrants from the United Kingdom, in an agreement for which it has already received 141 million euros.
Sunak also announced today that it supports the deportation program for Rwanda and anticipated, in a ten-point plan, its intention to set a quota on the number of refugees the UK can accept annually. “Law-abiding citizens are shocked when they see boat after boat full of illegal immigrants arriving from a safe country like France, with our sailors and Coast Guard powerless to stop them,” Sunak said.
Among his proposals, the former Minister of Economy suggests “holding France accountable for detained boats” or “ending the hotel hoax”, referring to the accommodation in hotels of asylum seekers while their requests are analyzed. Sunak also proposes to condition foreign policy agreements with other countries on their “willingness to cooperate for the return” of their illegal immigrants.
Both candidates will be able to confront their ideas Monday night, in a debate televised by the BBC broadcaster. Members of the Conservative Party will be able to vote throughout August to elect Johnson’s successor at the head of the tories. The winner, whose name will be known on September 5, will automatically become Prime Minister.