Conservative MPs who supported Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union have called for the country to either ignore or ditch the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), which they claim is preventing the country from protecting its borders.
Speaking at the eurosceptic think tank European Foundation, Brexit-backing Jonathan Gullis MP told an audience of senior Brexiteers the government must not be afraid to tackle the ECHR issue head-on, insisting government policy should not be subject to the approval of foreign courts.
“Taking back control was also about taking back our borders. It is simply unacceptable that 44,000 people came to this country illegally last year,” Gullis said.
“We should not be afraid to, at the very least, derogate from the European Court of Human Rights as we did with prisoners’ voting rights. If the ECHR doesn’t like it, we will have on the table that we will leave the ECHR come what may. This country must have control of its borders,” he added.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has vowed to make tackling illegal immigration one of his highest priorities and pledged his support for the Rwanda policy introduced by Boris Johnson’s administration, which would see illegal immigrants arriving in Britain deported to the African nation.
The policy, however, has been fraught with difficulty after the European Court on Human Rights intervened to prevent the first flight of deportations from embarking in June last year.
Former Home Secretary Priti Patel told the Daily Mail newspaper, “The meddling of the European Court of Human Rights to block flights to Rwanda only serves to support those who wish to abuse our asylum system and evil criminal gangs.
“It must stop, and it is right that we now act to curtail the powers of the European Court,” she added.
A record number of 45,756 people unlawfully arrived in Britain via small boats across the English Channel last year, according to Home Office figures. This was up significantly on the 28,561 crossings recorded. in 2021, which had also been a record year.
Campaigners against illegal immigration say the country’s asylum system has collapsed due to the influx, and the government has been left with no option but to spend exorbitant amounts of taxpayer money on block-booking hotels to accommodate them, a move that has caused social unrest in villages and towns across the country.
Local residents have often taken to the streets in protest about new arrivals in their area, citing concerns about security and the lack of local services to support them.