SALISBURY MP John Glen has said he does not support the UK leaving the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), after hundreds of people crossed the channel on ‘small boats’ on Thursday (August 10).
The 755 people who took the perilous journey on Thursday took the total in the past five years to more than 100,000 migrants entering the UK via that route, according to the Home Office.
It has led to calls in some quarters for the UK to leave the convention – which it helped formulate in the 1940s before it was established in 1950 – to negate rules over the treatment of those seeking asylum.
But Mr Glen, a Treasury minister, told LBC he did not back the move, as Government legislation aimed at ‘stopping the boats’ was still making its way through parliament.
He said: “This is a Europe-wide problem. We’ve had a 30% increase in illegal immigration across Europe, but we’re working with Turkey, new arrangement with them last week, with France, with Albania. The arrangements with France have led to 33,000 fewer crossings – also tougher fines for employers and landlords. We’ve got the professional enablers taskforce, we’re working with media companies as well.
“So, this is a multi-dimensional approach as well as the immigration (bill) which of course many criticised us for and it was a real battle to take through the Houses of Parliament.
“But we’ve got a legal challenge waiting on that, but I believe in plan A and we will see that come to fruition in the autumn.”
The comments came after immigration minister Robert Jenrick, speaking earlier this week, said pulling out of the ECHR was included as he vowed the Government would do ‘whatever is necessary’ to ‘stop the boats’ – a central pledge of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.
However, previously, the Government said it believed it could prevent the crossings while remaining in the ECHR.
Doing the media rounds this morning, Mr Glen told Times Radio he did not want to “speculate about alternatives” to the Government policy.
“I think it’s important to recognise that there are many dimensions to the Government’s policy,” he said.
He added: “But we’ve got to understand is this phenomena of illegal migration of criminal gangs taking people across Europe and across the Channel, we have seen a 30% increase in Europe as well over recent months.”
He said he was confident legal challenges to the plan to ‘offshore’ migrants to Rwanda would be unsuccessful, and that the legal process should be allowed to play out before considering alternative measures – such as leaving the ECHR.
“We believe the actions we’ve taken … including the legislation which hasn’t yet been fully enacted, because of the legal challenge outstanding in the autumn, will work and we stand by that,” he said.
“I don’t want to speculate about alternatives until we’ve exhausted the process that we think will work.”