I have followed asylum policy closely for several years. I was previously an MP in Portsmouth which is an asylum dispersal point and I know that in many parts of the country there are pressures on social services and education because of the numbers. Getting illegal migration under control is an issue and I receive a huge amount of correspondence about it from constituents – for our policy as well as against it.
I helped many of those claimants deal with delays in their cases. I think the UK does have obligations to genuine asylum seekers. We also owe it to them that those who do not have a claim do not use up resources intended for refugees.
On the subject of the Rwanda policy, I remain concerned about any future amendments that would mean the UK Government tried to set aside the rule of law and its international obligations. The Bill will come back to Parliament for further discussion in the New Year and I will continue to follow its shape and progress carefully. I have been clear that I do not agree with any moves which would take us out of the ECHR, which was set up at the suggestion of Winston Churchill.
The Supreme Court in the decision it gave last month was considering conditions in Rwanda more than 15 months ago when the cases began. Since that time the UK and Rwandan governments have worked to address the concerns which were coming up in the case. There are still routes to court for anyone involved in the asylum process which the Rwanda Bill does not prevent.
The UN High Commission for Refugees has already placed 130,000 asylum seekers in Rwanda itself. It is responsible for refugees from a variety of conflicts.
I think we need to ensure our plan to tackle illegal migration is robust and having clarity on this policy allows us to do that. We are quite right to deter such illegal migration so that we can support those who really do need our help.