Unlock Editor’s Digest for free
Roula Khalaf, editor of the FT, picks her favorite stories in this weekly newsletter.
Suella Braverman has accused Rishi Sunak of “betraying” his promise to “stop the boats” as he slammed the British Prime Minister ahead of the Supreme Court’s decision on the government’s flagship migration policy.
The former home secretary lashed out at Sunak a day after he sacked her from cabinet, criticizing him for “ambiguity, disregard and lack of interest” in key policy areas, including tackling irregular migration.
In an extraordinary letter to the Prime Minister posted on the social media site
The letter put pressure on Sunak ahead of Wednesday’s Supreme Court ruling on the legality of Britain’s plans to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda. The Rwanda policy is the linchpin of the government’s strategy to contain migrants crossing the English Channel in small boats.
The government pushed forward the policy in the hope that sending even a small number of migrants to the African country would be an effective deterrent to others hoping to arrive in the UK irregularly.
My letter to the Prime Minister pic.twitter.com/7OBzaZnxr2
— Suella Braverman MP (@SuellaBraverman) November 14, 2023
Braverman accused Sunak of “failing to prepare any credible ‘Plan B'” should the verdict go against the government and claimed he had engaged in “wishful thinking to console himself from having to make difficult decisions.” “.
In June, the Court of Appeal ruled that it was unlawful to send people to Rwanda to process their asylum claims.
The court said Rwanda was unsafe because asylum seekers risked being sent back to their home country where they risk ill-treatment, in violation of the European Convention on Human Rights.
The UK is not alone in exploring models for outsourcing the processing of asylum seekers, with Germany also considering a system involving non-EU countries.
Braverman warned Sunak in her letter that even if the Supreme Court rules in the government’s favor, the policy is still “far from safe from legal challenge” and the legislation will mean asylum seekers “will not be deported as quickly as I originally suggested.” had”. Changes “that you insisted on.”
Their intervention came shortly after leaders of a right-wing faction of Tory MPs said Sunak’s cabinet reshuffle showed he had “deliberately distanced himself” from voters in the “red wall” of northern England constituencies that the Conservatives won against Labor in 2019 had.
Danny Kruger and Miriam Cates, co-leaders of the New Conservatives, announced that the group would expand its power base by raising funds and recruiting supporters to help its members – both sitting MPs and candidates. A Tory insider said the group had amassed a six-figure war chest.
They called on Sunak to withdraw from the ECtHR, regardless of the outcome of the Supreme Court ruling.
The group, with which Tory deputy leader Lee Anderson is associated, will meet on Wednesday to discuss their next steps once the ruling is made.
Conservative officials allied with Sunak said Braverman’s supporters were “vocal but few in number” – a view echoed by a senior Tory MP on the party’s right. “I don’t think she has a big following in the parliamentary party,” he said.
A cabinet minister, asked whether Braverman’s letter would give rise to a major Conservative rebellion, said: “Absolutely not. She has no troops.”
However, some prominent figures from the right-wing Tory party spoke out in support of the former home secretary.
Former business minister Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg said her letter raised questions of trust. “Suella Braverman is right,” he added. “The Prime Minister has repeatedly failed to deliver on the promises she claimed.”
Braverman’s letter took aim at Sunak’s authority, saying he had been “rejected by the majority of party members during the summer leadership contest” against Liz Truss in 2022 and had “no personal mandate to become Prime Minister”.
Braverman highlighted her own role in supporting his Truss successor, saying Sunak had agreed a private deal that included a “document with clear terms and conditions” in exchange for her support during the Tories’ second leadership race.
The alleged agreement set out “key policy priorities,” including issuing legal guidance to schools on “protecting biological sex” and removing all EU-derived regulations from the statute book by the end of the year, as well as plans to crack down on so-called illegal ones Migration.
The prime minister has “blatantly and repeatedly failed to implement every single one of these measures,” Braverman said.
She ended the letter by warning that someone needed to be “honest” and told Sunak: “Your plan isn’t working.”
She added: “We have suffered record electoral defeats, your realignments have failed and we are running out of time. They urgently need to change course.”
The British public appears to believe Sunak was right to sack Braverman in Monday’s cabinet reshuffle.
An Ipsos opinion poll found that 70 percent of people thought the decision was the right one, while only 17 percent thought it was wrong.
Downing Street responded to Braverman’s letter saying Sunak was “proud to appoint a strong, united team yesterday focused on delivering for the British people”.
“The Prime Minister believes in actions, not words,” Downing Street said, citing the government’s laws “to tackle illegal migration” and the reduction in “boat crossings by a third this year.”
“The Prime Minister thanks the former Home Secretary for her services.”