Priti Patel gave a speech at the Conservative Party conference.
Some of it wasn’t true.
We believe everyone should play by the same rules, and those values underpin our approach when it comes to immigration. We made the British public a promise that this Conservative government would end free movement, and we will.
For the first time in decades, the British government will determine who comes in and out of our country.
The Conservatives have been in power since May 2010.
Immigration legislation has been in place since 1905.
So what have all the governments – never mind the Tories in the last ten years – been doing?
We will welcome people based on the skills they have to offer and the contribution they can make, not where they come from. Those seeking to work, study or settle in the UK will need a sponsor and a visa. Our new British points-based immigration system will attract the brightest and the best talent to our nation, like the brilliant and dedicated doctors and nurses now able to use a fast track visa to come and work in our NHS, and the brightest and the best scientists and academics who now benefit from the Global Talent route into the UK.
We sort of have a points-based system already, but the ideas plays well with focus groups.
I’m not personally sure that our country is so amazing that any new citizens should only be the brightest and best, rather than just as lazy/kind/annoying/nice/human as the ones already living here. But that’s probably me ‘wallowing in victimhood’ or something.
Anyway, the UK has the highest rate of health workers deaths because of Covid in the world. The evidence doesn’t suggest that in reality we value our ‘brilliant and dedicated doctors and nurses.’
Still, they were a good source of funding, though. Until the PM was bounced into a U-turn.
That is firm, that is fair. It is what the British people have demanded of their government for decades. This Conservative government is delivering.
And I believe that it is by understanding the British people’s lives and their priorities that my direction will always be true. Which means addressing the issues that people speak to me about day in day out. And yes, people do speak to me about illegal migration and our asylum system.
There is NO SUCH THING AS ILLEGAL MIGRATION.
Illegal migration is and always has been a complex issue.
No such thing.
It has plagued many Home Secretaries, many political parties and many governments.
Not a person who makes an asylum claim, which you can say no to if you want to.
For years people have risked their lives to enter our country illegally…
No, they haven’t.
.. like those crossing the Channel in dangerous small boats. If the solution to stop this was simple and straightforward, then believe me, this issue would have been resolved by now.
Get rid of borders? *ducks*
A fair asylum system should provide a safe haven to those fleeing persecution, oppression or tyranny. But ours doesn’t, because our asylum system is fundamentally broken, and we have a responsibility to act.
Pesky do-gooding activist lefty lawyers sneaking in and breaking things.
Right now the most vulnerable are stuck in this broken system with over 40,000 other people. Almost half of these claims take a year or more to reach a decision, costing UK taxpayers over one billion pounds each year — the highest amount in almost two decades.
You could save quite a bit by not detaining people who are not, in fact, criminals.
And because of our broken system, the way people arrive in our country makes no difference to how their claim is treated.
Well, no. It shouldn’t. There aren’t many safe options.
Let me give you three examples of how our system has failed.
Take the example of a young person from Syria who arrived legally to the UK to work and contribute to our country. While they were here the conflict in Syria deteriorated, making it unsafe for them to return home when their visa expired. To guarantee their own safety and protection, they had no other option but to claim asylum here, but they had to wait over 17 months for a decision. That isn’t fair.
Why did the Home Office take so long?
Or the example of someone who came to our country on a visa but went on to abuse our values and our laws by committing an abhorrent crime. Having served a spell in prison, they filed repeated legal challenges to stop their deportation, followed by numerous meritless asylum claims so that they could stay in our country. It took several court hearings at a cost to the taxpayer of tens of thousands of pounds before we could finally do the right thing and remove them. That isn’t firm.
A 38-year old who’d served out his prison sentence was then deported to a country he hadn’t been to since he was 12. That’s not fair or firm, it’s double punishment. And if we accept systemic racism as a motive for random, double punishment then we can’t claim British values. We can only claim to be racist and unfair.
Or take the example of someone who enters our country illegally on a small boat, travelling through multiple safe EU countries — France, Italy, Spain — shopping around for where they can claim asylum, making that final and extremely dangerous Channel crossing to the United Kingdom while lining the pockets of despicable international criminal gangs.
Or maybe you’d claim asylum here because your family are here and you can speak English and you take a criminal route because there’s no other option? Like this guy? (Gulwali Passalay)
Our broken system is enabling this international criminal trade. It is disregarding the most vulnerable, elbowing women and children in need to the side, trampling over the weak. That cannot be right. All while the criminal gangs laugh in the face of the British people.
Well, I will not be complicit in that. So I will introduce a new system that is firm and fair.
What took you so long?
Fair and compassionate towards those who need our help.
So not like this. (Abuse in detention centres).
Fair by welcoming people through safe and legal routes, but firm because we will stop the abuse of the system.
Or this. (A young boy drowned in the Channel).
Firm because we will stop those who come here illegally making endless legal claims to remain in our country at the expense of the British public. And firm because we will expedite the removal of those who have no legitimate claim for protection.
And those who do. (Windrush scandal).
After decades of inaction by successive governments…
.. we will address the moral legal and practical problems with the asylum system. Because what exists now is neither firm nor fair. And I will bring forward legislation to deliver on that commitment next year. I will take every necessary step to fix this broken system, amounting to the biggest overhaul of our asylum system in decades.
Over the past decades, years, immigration law has been amended *a lot*.
But I’ll be honest with you, this will take time. So as we overhaul the system, I will accelerate our operational response to illegal migration.
Nope. Still not a thing.
We will continue to hunt down the criminal gangs who traffic people into our country.
I will continue to use the full force of our National Crime Agency and intelligence agencies to go after them. We will make more immediate returns of those who come here illegally and break our rules every single week.
Try ‘irregular’ if you can’t bring yourself to simply say ‘people.’
And we will continue to examine all practical measures to effectively deter illegal migration.
Again: this is legislation for something that doesn’t exist. Claiming asylum is a legal right.
And no doubt those who are well rehearsed in how to play and profit from the broken system will lecture us on their grand theories about human rights.
Those voluntary do-gooders, eh? Guzzling tea and scoffing biscuits.
Although given the unforgiveable things that are happening in Yemen enabled by us, a lecture about human rights wouldn’t go amiss.
And yet they seem to care little about the rights of the most vulnerable who are fleeing persecution, oppression and tyranny. What about their right to live their lives securely and free from fear? That is the most fundamental right.
And we’ve already heard from the Labour Party claiming that lives will be lost. But lives are already being lost. So do not let them peddle a false narrative that Conservatives do not have a proud history of providing a safe haven to the most in need,
..right back to the anti-Jewish pogroms of the twelfth century…
from the expulsion of Ugandan Asians from a repressive regime,
Of which we were part
to proudly resettling more refugees from outside Europe than any other EU country
to supporting campaigners fleeing political persecution in Hong Kong.
You’ve said they could come, but I’m not sure how many have taken up the offer.
Under Conservative leadership, the United Kingdom has and always will provide sanctuary when the lights are being switched off on people’s liberties.
That we’ve helped people a safe haven in the past shouldn’t preclude helping people find safe heaven now.
And for those defending the broken system — the traffickers, the do-gooders, the lefty lawyers, the Labour Party — they are defending the indefensible.
Playground name calling, but I guess that’s politics…
As for defending a broken system, those do-gooders or lefty lawyers I hear about are in fact doing the opposite.
And that is something I will never do. If at times that means being unpopular on Twitter, I will bear it. If at times it means Tony Blair’s spin doctor mocking my accent, so be it. And if at times it means Labour Members of Parliament attempting to silence me because I do not conform to what their idea of an ethnic minority woman should stand for, I will stomach it.
Even though I disagree with everything you say (often because it isn’t actually true), I don’t want you suffering abuse either. And I sincerely hope you never lose your spirit like Paulette Wilson did.
Because as Conservatives we do not measure the depth of our compassion in 280 characters on Twitter but in the actions we take and the choices we make.
Like not extending the ban on evictions during a pandemic.
This Conservative government will continue to stand up for the hard-working, law-abiding majority who play by the rules
and take action against a minority who do not,
providing a safe haven to those fleeing persecution, oppression or tyranny. But I will not be complicit in an international criminal trade in asylum seekers, elbowing the most vulnerable to the side.
Reform the system. Prosecute the criminals. Protect the vulnerable. That is what a firm but fair asylum system should look like. That is what I intend to deliver. As Conservatives, we will protect the most in need and put the rights of those who respect the rules above those who take our country for a ride. Because without firmness, there will be no fairness.
Who’s taking the country for more of a ride? Priti Patel or Abdulfatah Hamdallah?