Rishi Sunak is trying to prevent people coming to the UK by small boats to appeal against deportation.
Under proposals prepared by his home secretary, Suella Braverman, it is said, could prevent everyone who comes to Britain without permission to claim asylum.
The Prime Minister has made stopping small boats one of his top five promises in office, and recently declared his intention to “make sure that if you come to this country illegally, that you are detained and quickly dismissed”.
A new immigration bill is expected within weeks, and is expected to seek to permanently ban those arriving illegally – the Nationality and Borders Act 2022 now applies to anyone without a visa or special permit – from the asylum system.
The United Nations has warned that such plans would breach international law, and Home Office lawyers are said to be concerned that many of those targeted would only challenge their exclusion from the asylum system with a judicial review , putting further pressure on the courts.
As a result, Ms Braverman has reportedly drawn up two options to avoid this – proposals that critics immediately warned would “put the government outside the reach of the law” and, therefore, could ” establish a difficult conflict” with the judges.
According to The Risingthe first would seek to end the right of people arriving illegally to appeal against their automatic exclusion from the asylum system, by creating so-called “oyster clauses” – mechanisms that keep certain out of the courts, and generally regarded with hostility by judges.
The latter would only allow people to appeal after they have been deported, regardless of whether they come from somewhere on the Home Office’s “safe countries” list.
A separate proposal would prevent those arriving illegally from using parts of the Human Rights Act – which justice secretary Dominic Raab controversially hopes to overturn – to avoid deportation, such as breaching their right to family life or demand freedom.
A former Tory minister told the paper that Mr Braverman and Mr Sunak “need to be so careful”, warning the proposals risked “setting up a difficult conflict if you don’t get it right”.
They said: “No. 10 assuring Tory MPs that they will not be in breach of international obligations but this will create difficulty and they will start to face problems from day one. They will be the mother of all cases about it and ultimately how the courts interpret the legislation is another matter.”
Former Labor Lord Chancellor Lord Falconer of Thoroton said he hoped the courts would strike down the plans, which would put “the government outside the reach of the law”, and described a second proposal only allow post-delivery appeals. window dressing”.
The Refugee Council’s Tasmin Baxter slammed the alleged plans as “wrong, unworkable and expensive” and warned they would “damage the UK’s long-term commitment to supporting refugees”.
“Currently, the only way for most refugees to seek our help is to get into dinghies to cross the world’s busiest shipping lane,” Ms Baxter said. Sky News. “We have to stop that but the way to do that is to replace the chaos of the government’s proposals with a fair, orderly, compassionate and humane plan.”
The Home Office said it would not comment on leaked information about policy discussions, but said in a statement: “The unacceptable number of people putting their lives at risk by making these dangerous crossings is putting unprecedented pressure on on our asylum system.
“Stopping this and preventing these illegal crossings is our priority, and our new Small Boat Operations Command – bolstered by hundreds of extra staff – is working hard to disrupt the business model of people smugglers.
“We are also going further by introducing legislation which will ensure that those who come to the UK illegally are detained and swiftly removed to their home country or a safe third country.”