Suella Braverman has urged peers in the House of Lords to respect the “will of the people”, as her Illegal Migration Bill enters the House of Lords today. In a joint Op-Ed with Justice Secretary Alex Chalk, Ms Braverman described the problem of illegal migration as being “intolerably unfair”. The duo warned peers in the House of Lords, who will be scrutinising the legislation today, that the British people have a “clear desire” to “control immigration”, noting that it was a “Government manifesto commitment in 2019, with a pledge to take back control of our borders”.
They said the legislation is necessary in order for the UK to be “truly sovereign”, adding: “We must be able to decide who can enter our territory — the British people understand this in no uncertain terms.”
Writing in the Times, they “urged” the House of Lords to “look at the Illegal Migration Bill carefully, remember it is designed to meet the will of the British people in a humane and fair way and back the bill.”
It is expected that dozens of peers will demand changes to the Illegal Migration Bill, claiming it is unworkable and unethical.
The Immigration Bill passed through the House of Commons passed by 289 votes to 230 but it is expected to face significant opposition in the second chamber.
It is understood Tory MPs expect the legislation to be dismantled by the upper chamber before it is sent back to the House of Commons for final consideration.
The Bill will impose a duty on the home secretary to detain and remove people who have entered the UK illegally to a “safe” third country.
The legislation removes temporary protections for suspected victims of modern slavery, allowing them to be removed to a third country such as Rwanda.
A Labour source in the Lords told the Mirror that there is “wide concern” over this legislation, accusing the Government of pursuing “gimmick” legislation.
They said: “The range of Peers who’ve signed up for Second Reading is an indication of the wide concern that exists with this legislation, and the tough scrutiny and challenges it will face in the months ahead.
“The small boat crisis needs tackling head on but this gimmick of a Bill won’t deal with the major problems and misery caused by those who traffic and exploit vulnerable people, risk lives, and undermine our border security.
“And the headlong rush to get it on the statute book will also see genuine asylum seekers stuck in a semi-permanent limbo while the backlog of claims gets longer and longer.”
A total of 87 peers have signed up to speak in the debate.
The source continued: “There is, of course, an opportunity – as ever when a Bill is in the Lords – for Ministers to listen to the warnings and advice, especially in relation to modern slavery, child safeguarding, safe and legal routes of passage, and crime enforcement against the gangs.
“And the speakers’ list for Second Reading suggests judicial oversight, international law, and the lack of an impact assessment are also set to be key pinch points.”
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby is also expected to speak out on the legislation, of which he has been a vocal critic.
Speaking in December, Dr Welby urged politicians and the public to reject the “shrill narratives that all who come to us for help should be treated as liars, scroungers or less than fully human”.