Senior members of the Conservative party have warned that Rishi Sunak could potentially disrupt the peace process in Northern Ireland if he prevents the UK from abiding by human rights laws and decides to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda.
The members of Parliament expressed similar worries on Thursday following concerns raised by the White House. They stated that the reported plans from Downing Street to overlook certain aspects of the Human Rights Act could have negative effects on the Good Friday agreement and potentially harm UK-US relations.
The alerts arrive as the leader of the government faces mounting demands from conservative members of parliament and officials to block legal paths for asylum seekers who have effectively fought against being sent back to Rwanda.
Next week, the government is anticipated to reinstate the Rwanda policy of relocating individuals seeking asylum to East Africa. This decision comes after the supreme court declared the previous plans to be illegal.
Sunak is confident that the government can resolve the court’s issues by creating a new agreement with Rwanda. This agreement is expected to be signed by James Cleverly, the home secretary, next week. Additionally, emergency legislation will be implemented to prevent any future legal challenges to the policy.
During a conversation with The Times, Cleverly admitted feeling “frustrated” by the attention given to Rwanda and stressed that it should not be considered the only solution.
He stated that although it is a crucial aspect of the plans and will discourage individuals from crossing the Channel in small boats, it is just one piece of a larger strategy.
Cleverly expressed his belief that withdrawing from the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) would jeopardize important cooperation with other nations, such as France, which has aided in addressing illegal border crossings into the UK.
On Thursday, The New York Times stated that top White House officials were worried about the potential harm to the authority of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), which is crucial to the Good Friday Agreement, if legal challenges were blocked.
Conservative Sir Bob Neill, chair of the justice select committee and a former minister, said he had similar concerns that attempts to block human rights laws would damage the authority of the ECHR and risk peace in Northern Ireland.
He stated that laws like the European convention on human rights have been recognized as a significant aspect of the Good Friday agreement for a considerable amount of time.
It would be extremely risky to jeopardize the peace process by going against the principles of the Good Friday agreement. The convention must be followed in its entirety, rather than selecting specific parts to adhere to.
When questioned about his stance on the possibility of numerous Conservative Members of Parliament opposing any actions that would weaken human rights laws or the European Convention on Human Rights, Neill responded affirmatively, stating that there is a prevalent sentiment that we must approach this issue with balance. While the goal is to stop the influx of boats, we cannot disregard our commitments to international standards.
According to a minister who spoke to the Guardian, there may be members of the government who will step down if any actions are taken to undermine the Good Friday agreement in regards to human rights laws.
“The minister stated that this agreement holds great significance for our global position. We are fully aware of its importance to Joe Biden. Our government strongly values adherence to international law, and I trust that the prime minister shares this belief.”
The recent news is a result of Sunak’s decision to not apologize for failing to keep a major campaign pledge, as high levels of net immigration were recorded.
On Thursday, the official statistics revealed that the gap between the amount of individuals immigrating to the UK and those emigrating had reached a high of 745,000.
During an interview at the Nissan factory in Sunderland, Sunak refused to address whether or not he would apologize for failing to fulfill the manifesto promise. He stated, “I am resolute in my belief that the current levels of migration are excessive and need to be reduced to a more sustainable level.”
The Home Secretary, Robert Jenrick, presented a set of five guidelines to the Prime Minister’s office. These guidelines included suggestions for a mandatory minimum annual salary of £35,000 for obtaining a work visa, as well as a limit on the overall number of visas granted to healthcare and social care employees.
According to Madeleine Sumption, the head of the Migration Observatory at Oxford University, both suggestions may face difficulties in reducing the figures, particularly without a exemption for caregivers.
She stated that the main issue, which cannot be solved by the immigration system, is the lack of funding and inadequate compensation and working conditions, making it difficult to attract British workers to challenging and stressful positions in the care industry.
The government removed the cap on skilled workers when it started causing operational challenges.
When asked by journalists, Downing Street declined to comment on Sunak’s thoughts about Jenrick’s suggestions. They stated that No 10 will not be providing updates on the progress of policy development.
In a newspaper article, Boris Johnson stated that he planned to increase the minimum annual salary threshold to £40,000.
Former Prime Minister, in an article for the Daily Mail, stated that the British people voted to regain control over their immigration rules in 2016, giving them the ability to resolve any issues that may arise.
Last year, Johnson stepped down from his position and in 2019, he pledged in his written statement that there would be a decrease in the total figures.
According to the ONS, there was a net migration difference of 745,000 people in Britain between legal arrivals and departures in the year ending December 2022.
The amount is three times greater than the levels observed prior to Brexit.
Several Members of Parliament aligned with the conservative party, including former Home Secretary Suella Braverman, have urged Sunak to follow through on the promise to decrease the numbers.
Efforts to limit the amount of foreign employees in the NHS and social care may face opposition from health authorities due to ongoing staffing deficits throughout the healthcare and caregiving industry.