Senior Tory MP Sir Edward Leigh has hit out at the UK’s “complete joke” of an asylum system in a blistering speech to Home Secretary Priti Patel in the House of Commons, calling on her to step up and ramp up the deportation of illegal aliens.
Speaking at a Commons debate on Wednesday, the veteran backbencher and former chairman of the Public Accounts Committee Sir Edward said: “Our present asylum system is a complete joke. Every young man living in misery in a failed state knows that if he manages to reach our shores, the chances of his being deported are virtually zero.
“There is no point in introducing more and more penalties and laws unless we are prepared to deport people. Is the Home Secretary prepared to do what Prime Minister Abbott of Australia did?
“He ensured that all arrivals were put in a secure location and left there until their claims were assessed and then either deported or allowed to stay, and there are now no unsafe arrivals in Australia, no deaths and no criminal gangs.
“That policy works. Is the Home Secretary prepared to be really tough in order to be kind?”
Ms Patel responded by claiming that “the legal system that we have here, which frustrates deportations and removals, is a very different system from the one in Australia” while insisting that her new plan “is a fair but firm system because we have to be firm in terms of removing those that have exhausted all their rights and should not be here.”
The exchange came in the wake of the Home Secretary’s New Plan for Immigration, which will give British authorities more powers to deport foreign criminals and failed claimants, while moving to a new system that will treat asylum claims differently if asylum seekers entered the country via an illegal route.
The bill will also give Border Force new powers to intercept and redirect vessels, but it’s not yet clear if those powers will be routinely used as a matter of policy – as they were deployed successfully in Australia’s struggles with illegal migration.