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The New Home Secretary’s Immigration Policy

Suella Braverman has replaced Priti Patel as Home Secretary – but will she take a different approach to immigration policy?

Liz Truss has appointed Suella Braverman as Home Secretary in her newly formed cabinet. The former Attorney General has never held a cabinet position before, and she has been thrust in at the deep end as disquiet continues over the Rwanda policy – you can read more about the Rwanda policy itself here and about Liz Truss’ decision to carry this controversial scheme over from Johnson’s government here. But will Braverman look to take a different tack to Patel, or can we expect much of the same for the UK’s immigration policy?

Braverman has already made it clear from statements made during the latest Conservative leadership election that she strongly opposes entry by asylum seekers without prior permission. She has also expressed her intention to continue the Rwanda policy introduced by Patel, saying that she will “double-down” on the scheme. It has also been indicated that Braverman wants to impose restrictions on the availability of asylum support and increase the use of immigration detention.

During a speech to members of her staff, Braverman is alleged to have said that her top priority would be to ban all small boat crossings. This would line up with the reports that Braverman wants to make a “returns” agreement with the French – meaning that migrants making small-boat crossings across the channel could be returned to France. However, such an agreement is likely to involve some sort of compromise, or may involve legal oversight by the Court of Justice of the European Union, which is unlikely to play well with Truss and Braverman’s Eurosceptic base.

Braverman has also stated her belief that the only way the UK can “solve” its immigration “problem” is to leave the European Convention on Human Rights. There has been similar buzz from the Prime Minister about such a move, which would undoubtedly be controversial. Only four states have abandoned the Convention, with all of them returning shortly thereafter in various forms, save for one – Russia, which announced its intention to leave the Council of Europe in March 2022.

From what we know so far, it seems unlikely that Braverman will abandon Patel’s general course on immigration – but the precise nature of her policy will become clearer in the coming months.

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