Some bold, punchy calls for the need to change the Geneva convention here, particularly to stop the abuse of economic migration:
“The Geneva convention was intended to protect individual people from persecution. A significant number of people who claim asylum are doing so for broadly economic reasons. So I think it is right we look at the framework, as indeed other European countries are doing.”
“Britain, like all European countries, had inherited the post-war, post-Holocaust system and sentiment on asylum … [that is] completely unrealistic […] The presumption: “that someone who claimed asylum was persecuted and should be taken in”] was plainly false; most asylum claims were not genuine. Disproving them, however, was almost impossible. The combination of the courts, with their liberal instinct; the European Convention on Human Rights, with its absolutist attitude to the prospect of returning someone to an unsafe community; and the UN Convention [Relating to the Status] of Refugees, with its context firmly that of 1930s Germany, mean that, in practice, once someone got into Britain and claimed asylum, it was the Devil’s own job to return them.”
Feisty. No doubt the likes of James O’Brien and Nish Kumar will be absolutely incensed, although wait until they hear who said them… New Labour’s immigration minister Phil Woolas in 2009, and Tony Blair himself in his autobiography. Jack Straw made the same arguments in 2000.* Suella’s speech was practically anodyne by comparison…
*Hat-tip: John Rentoul for reminding Guido of New Labour’s attitude.