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A senior Tory MP has blamed failures at the Home Office for the small boats crisis in an implicit criticism of Suella Braverman. Sir Bob Neill claimed the Home Secretary’s planned immigration reforms focus too heavily on the law, as opposed to actually tackling the asylum backlog.
Mr Neill, the chairman of the Justice Select Committee, claimed people who cross the English Channel are not going through the tribunals system quickly enough as a result of a lack of resources.
The Illegal Migration Bill would alter the law so people who risk the journey from France are detained and then promptly removed, either to their home country or a safe third country – for example Rwanda.
The plan to send migrants to the east African nation – a policy which has been ruled lawful by High Court judges – has so far been stalled as a result of legal action, with no flights yet taking off.
Asked on GB News whether the reforms in the Bill will work, Sir Bob said: “I’m not convinced they will.
“A lot of the emphasis has been put on changing the law and on legislative solutions.
“I don’t think that’s where the issue lies. The real problem is that the system doesn’t work efficiently enough. We’re not getting a system where people who come in, potentially unlawfully, are being sent through the immigration tribunal and asylum system quickly enough.
“Administrative failures of the Home Office are to blame. That’s happened under successive Home Secretaries going back over years.”
He added: “The Home Office is not efficient. Changing legal tests won’t matter if you haven’t got enough people to do the investigations. I would put more resources into that.”
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Last week, MPs backed the Home Secretary’s Bill by 289 votes to 230 in the House of Commons.
Even though the legislation was passed by the lower chamber, it will face a stern test in the Lords when it undergoes further scrutiny.
Critics have claimed it is unworkable, while right-wing Conservative MPs believe it does not go far enough.
Others on the liberal wing of the party, including former Prime Minister Theresa May and ex-leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith, want greater protections for minors and victims of human trafficking.
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Ministers have already given in to some demands to avoid potential revolts, with a series of Government amendments approved in the Commons.
The Government has been unable to say whether the legislation complies with the European Convention on Human Rights.
The Refugee Council and Barnardo’s estimated the Bill could lead to the detention of nearly 15,000 lone migrant children over the next three years.
More than 5,500 people have arrived in the UK after crossing the Channel this year, according to Government figures.
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