Sunak refers to Starmer as “just another leftist lawyer” in small boats

The Prime Minister sneered at the UK union leader as the pair grappled with the forthcoming PMQ illegal immigration law.

The bill, which the UK government admits may breach the European Convention on Human Rights and is therefore falling through the courts, is key to Mr Sunak’s plans to tackle illegal migration.

Under this, anyone entering the country illegally would be expelled from the UK within 28 days and prevented from returning or claiming British citizenship in the future.

Those arriving in small boats would either be sent to their home country or to another “safe third country” such as Rwanda.

The law “disqualifies illegal entrants from the application of modern slavery rules” to remain in the UK.

Home Secretary Suella Braverman told MPs on Tuesday that by the time the Modern Slavery Act is passed in 2015, 3,500 remittances a year are expected.

Last year there were 17,000 recommendations that took an average of 543 days to review.

“Modern slavery laws are abused to prevent deportations. Because of this, we have granted more than 50 percent of asylum applications from citizens of a safe European country and NATO ally, Albania,” she told the House of Commons.

She said the British people are “fed up” with migrants arriving in small boats.

READ MORE: Gary Lineker compares Suella Braverman’s migrant plan to Nazis

More than 89,000 people applied for asylum in the UK last year, the highest number since 2002, when people fled conflicts in Iraq, Somalia and Afghanistan.

Around 47,750, or 45 percent, were made by people crossing the English Channel in small boats, the highest number since the data was first collected in 2018.

Speaking on PMQs, Sir Keir branded the UK government’s latest plan a “gimmick” and accused the Tories of a “utter failure” on asylum and immigration policies.

He said if Mr Sunak was serious he would “steal” Labor’s plan and “crush” the people-smuggling gangs.

Mr Sunak was “blinded” to think the new legislation would reduce the number of small boats crossing the Channel as returns to other countries have not yet been agreed, he said.

He said: “They can’t say when they’re going to fix the mess because it’s more talk, more gimmicks, more promises to be broken.

“During his tenure, the processing of these boat cases has gone from unacceptable to almost non-existent,” he said, saying that less than 1% of requests for boat arrivals had been processed.

He also said the bill would drive a “carriage and horses” through the country’s modern-day slavery, which protects women from exploitation.

Mr Sunak claimed Labor was in favor of “open door immigration and unlimited asylum”.

He said: “While he is on the side of the people smugglers, we are on the side of the British people.”

The Prime Minister claimed Sir Keir was on the “wrong side” of the issue “his entire career”.

He said: “He called all immigration laws racist. He said it was a mistake to control immigration. And he has never voted for stricter asylum laws. “Clearly while he is associated with Open Border activists we are with the British people.”

The PM also highlighted repatriation deals with India, Pakistan, Serbia, Nigeria and Albania.

He said: “Our position on this is clear, if you come here illegally you cannot seek asylum here, you cannot access the modern slavery system and you cannot make false human rights claims. This is the right thing. But he keeps talking about processes and hiding behind processes because he doesn’t want to deal with the substance. We are the party of fairness and he represents the party of free movement.”

Sir Keir said: “After 13 years, small boat crossings are higher than ever, unprocessed applications, the taxpayer paying for hotel rooms, criminal gangs running laughing all the way to the bank and an asylum system utterly broken under his oversight.

“This is their fifth prime minister, their sixth immigration plan, their seventh home secretary, and after all this time they’re just offering the same old gimmicks and empty promises.

“I don’t really agree with the Home Secretary (Suella Braverman), but when she says the Tories just talk and do nothing, she’s spot on, isn’t she?”

Mr Sunak told Sir Keir: “We do the right thing, we act with compassion, we act fairly and we act to respect our country’s laws and borders.

“We’re delivering on what we said and it’s crystal clear from listening to this that it’s going to be the Conservatives and only the Conservatives who will stop the boats.”

Sir Keir, a former chief prosecutor, said only 21 people out of 18,000 have been returned after failing to qualify for asylum last year.

“And what about the rest? They sit in hotels and dig for months at taxpayers’ expense,” he said.

Echoing Mr Johnson’s frequent rants against Sir Keir and his derogatory use of the word ‘lawyer’, Mr Sunak said: ‘Stopping the boats is not just my priority, it’s the people’s priority.

“But his position on this is clear: according to his words, he wanted to give up the Rwanda agreement; he voted against measures to deport foreign criminals; and he even spoke out against deportation flights. We know why – in this matter he is talking about his legal background, he is just another left-wing lawyer standing in our way.”

READ MORE: Forbes stands by Yousaf’s criticism, saying SNP needs a leader with ‘courage’

SNP Westminster leader Stephen Flynn asked Mr Sunak to confirm that the bill would take precedence over the Modern Slavery Act, meaning women affected by sex trafficking could be deported thereafter.

He said: “On International Women’s Day, can I ask the Prime Minister to reconfirm that under his proposed new asylum laws, women who are being sexually trafficked by a criminal gang on a small boat bound for the UK will not be afforded protection under our modern slavery laws?” ”

Mr Sunak did not deny this but replied: “Precisely because we want to focus our resources and compassion on the world’s most vulnerable people, we need to get a grip on this system, make sure we are in control of our borders, bodies Make sure our system and resources are not overloaded so we can help the people who need it most.

“It is neither fair nor compassionate to maintain a system where, as we have recently seen, people are dying at these crossroads. That is not right. And our plans will prevent that.”

Mr Flynn replied: “I take that as a yes from the Prime Minister that women who are victims of sex trafficking are not protected by our modern slavery laws. What a complete and utter disgrace. May I ask the Prime Minister who is his government inspired by, Nigel Farage or Enoch Powell?”

The prime minister said the question was “a lot of nonsense” and warned that without action, the number of asylum seekers would rise unchecked.

“They have more than quadrupled in just two years. It is a sign of things to come and our system will continue to be overwhelmed. If that happens, we will not be able to help the people who need our support, generosity and compassion most,” he said. Sunak refers to Starmer as “just another leftist lawyer” in small boats

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