Tue | Mar 28, 2023

Braverman’s ‘stop the boats’ plan is inhumane

Published:Saturday | March 18, 2023 | 12:36 AMAmina Taylor/Contributor

British Home Secretary Suella Braverman is at it again. I didn’t feel I would be writing about arguably the UK’s worst home secretary for at least some while, but the recent events have forced my hand.

The news can sometimes feel like such a smorgasbord of doom, gloom and the odd Kanye West story; and those of us who must religiously obsess over every new policy decision, parliamentary hearing, the outlook on the domestic front for many of the most vulnerable is bleak. Which brings me neatly back to Braverman and her most recent contribution.

Not content with thrashing pledges made to the Windrush survivors and their supporters, and insulting Holocaust survivors, the home secretary has once more exhibited both her contempt for refugees; but more shockingly, her lack of regard for the law.

The unveiling of the Conservative Party’s new Migration Bill, dubbed the ‘stop the boats’ plan, saw the Tory PR machine grind into high gear. Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick was one of the many politicians trotted out to sell the Government’s proposal on stemming the flow of migrants to the UK. Jenrick parroted the official line, claiming ‘thousands’ of refugees could be sent to Rwanda under these new rules. Just in case you’re keeping score, the UK has deported a total of zero refugees to Rwanda since the controversial plan was given the greenlight last April.

Under new proposals by Braverman and Co, refugees arriving on small boats in the UK will be detained, processed, and deported ‘within weeks’ either to their original country, or a third nation if the original plan is not possible.

While addressing Britain’s parliament, Braverman continued to lay out the government’s new plans in defiant tones. “They will not stop coming here until the world knows that if you enter Britain illegally you will be swiftly removed back to your country. And this is precisely what this bill will do. That is how we stop the boats.”

Additional points of the Migration Bill include:

*Those arriving on small boats will be detained within the first 28 days with judicial review or bail. That period can be extended.

• Only those under 18, those medically unfit to fly or at “real risk” of serious harm in the country they are removed to will be able to lodge an appeal to stop them from being deported.

• Any other claims, including the right to private or family life, will be heard remotely after they have been removed.

• Deportation can only be deferred for modern slavery when a person is cooperating with law-enforcement agencies in trafficking investigations.

• A lifetime ban on settlement, citizenship and re-entry to the UK for those removed under the scheme.

If you’re now wondering what lawful routes are left for those seeking refuge, well, Braverman has promised that this will be set by parliament, ‘to ensure an orderly system’. In other words, Cruella-B has not solved the question of legal alternatives and is simply kicking that can down the road.


Despite the massive political sales pitch, sentiments aside, these new proposals may well not be illegal. Even Braverman concedes as much, “of course, the UK will always seek to uphold international law and I am confident that this bill is compatible with international obligations.” The European Union EU) disagrees. In fact, European Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson said she has spoken to Britain’s home secretary in the aftermath of her speech. “I told her that I think this is violating international law.” Senior Tories seem to have acknowledged this fact but are content to blame (as PM Rishi Sunak has done) ‘lefty lawyers’ for even mentioning it.

The sad, calculated truth is, this government does not care one iota if this bill passes the checks and balances of robust parliamentary debate. Dare I say, Braverman and Co are not particularly worried if this new right-wing initiative fails to remove a single refugee. This racist posturing is playing to the gallery of voters who already believe immigration is the UK’s biggest problem. It matters little if EU representatives, UN members and ‘lefty lawyers’ shout from the rafters using terms like ‘violating human rights’, and ‘contravention of international law’. The higher the choruses of voices like mine at the inherent inhumanity of these new rules, those on the extreme right will accuse us of tying the government’s hands, not allowing Britain to control its own borders.

Outrage over the plan is growing.

One of the most vocal voices in opposition belongs to former professional footballer Gary Lineker, who branded Braverman’s asylum plans ‘beyond awful’ and followed up with another tweet saying the language being used by Braverman and others was ‘not dissimilar to that used by Germany in the ‘30s’. By way of rebuttal, senior Tories have been doing the rounds condemning Lineker’s social media pronouncements and quietly trying to have him removed from his position hosting BBC’s flagship sports show.

The smokescreen of celebrity involvement in this issue is perhaps helping the government shift the essence of the discussion. If the public is distracted by media noise, then maybe we might not focus so much on one of the most inhumane pieces of legislations ever to be tabled. Braverman and Co continue to shame the very office they serve by peddling falsehoods, bending the law, and playing the worst kind of politics with the most vulnerable.

Suella Braverman is the very worst this Conservative administration has to offer – overpromoted and a rabid ideologue. I hope, going forward, I will no longer be writing about Braverman and increasingly inhumane missteps, but somehow, a little voice tells me to keep my laptop fired up.

Amina Taylor is a journalist and broadcaster. She is the former editor of Pride magazine and works as producer, presenter and correspondent with Press TV in London.