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Rishi Sunak warns ‘boats won’t stop coming’ if new migrant bill is slapped down | Politics | News

PM says new immigration bill is ‘tough but necessary’

Rishi Sunak insisted he will give the country back control over its borders as he vowed to end the small boats crisis within two years. The Prime Minister said he will “break the cycle” of illegal migration by introducing tough new laws that will deter people from making the perilous journey across the channel.

Mr Sunak said the UK can only help genuine refugees once it has got a grip on the crisis.

He said: “It’s this country and your Government who should decide who comes here, not criminal gangs.

Mr Sunak vowed to stop the small boats crisis by the next election by taking the “brave and bold” action needed to end illegal crossings.

The Prime Minister promised to restore security to Britain’s borders with new laws that are “unlike anything that’s ever been done before”.

Migrants making the perilous journey across the channel will be banned from claiming asylum and removed within weeks under the reforms.

Mr Sunak insisted his plan is “novel, ambitious and bold” and will “get the job done”.

The PM said the UK can only help genuine refugees once it has got a grip on the crisis

The PM said the UK can only help genuine refugees once it has got a grip on the crisis (Image: Getty)

During a visit to Dover, he told the Daily Express: “At the moment, we have a situation where criminal gangs are cruelly exploiting people. Tragically, some of them are dying.

“Unless we do something novel, ambitious and bold, we won’t be able to stop the boats from coming. And that’s what our legislation does.

“People can have confidence because it goes further than any Government has done before. And people can see that.

“It delivers a system that I think people all agree is the right one.

“People can see that I’m someone who actually is gripping this problem and will deliver for them.”

Lawyers are already preparing to snarl up the courts to stop the government in its tracks.

But Mr Sunak insisted he is “up for the fight” and he is “confident that we’ll win”.

Home Secretary Suella Braverman

Home Secretary Suella Braverman (Image: Getty)

The Prime Minister made it clear that he intends to “stop the boats” before the next general election.

“I wouldn’t be standing here if I didn’t think that I could deliver on this promise,” he said.

More than 45,000 migrants crossed the English Channel in small boats last year and 3,000 have made the journey so far this year.

During the visit to Dover, Mr Sunak was shown around a control room where staff talked through how they use tracking radars and monitor movements in the Channel.

Large screens displayed footage of what would on a normal day show boats destined for the UK travelling in real time.

Staff told him that on busy days “we have to prioritise, we have to look in the boats and see if there are women and children in there”.

The Prime Minister was also shown a small boat that was intercepted by Border Force employees on Sunday.

Staff handed him a card that is thought to have been given to migrants by people smugglers, instructing them to call a number when they reach the halfway point in their journey across the Channel.

He then viewed a surveillance drone used to relay live video and was taken into a van used as a mobile operation vehicle, also used to monitor movements at sea.

Mr Sunak said: “It would only get worse unless the Government is brave enough to do something different about it.”

“This is a large and growing problem, not just for the UK, but for lots of countries. And that’s why it’s really important that we get a grip of it.

“Unless we do something radical and bold and different, which is what this law is, the situation will just get worse.

“And I think it’s already clearly wrong, immoral, unfair and unsustainable.

“It would only get worse unless the government is brave enough to do something different about it.

“That’s what we are doing today.

Successful Channel crossings by migrants

Successful Channel crossings by migrants (Image: Express)

“The legislation that we’re bringing forward is unlike anything that’s ever been done before.

“It will get the job done.”

But the PM insisted his plan to tackle the growing crisis is also based on compassion for the migrants who are being sent out into the Channel on unsafe boats by smuggling gangs.

Speaking at a press conference in Downing Street later, he said: “What is not compassionate is to allow the current situation to persist.

“There is nothing compassionate about allowing vulnerable people to perish in the Channel. People being exploited by criminal gangs and smugglers.

“There is nothing compassionate or fair about us not being able to help the truly most vulnerable people around the world because our system is being overwhelmed by those who are jumping the queue and coming here illegally.

“And they are not the most vulnerable. They are travelling through multiple safe European countries, they are paying people thousands of pounds to get here.

“I want to move to a system where we break that cycle, we deter people from coming here illegally, jumping the queue, and actually, we as a country can then make sure that we decide who we bring here, how many and make sure we target that compassion, generosity and support on the world’s truly vulnerable.”

The Illegal Migration Bill will apply retrospectively to migrants who arrive in the country from Wednesday in an attempt to stop a surge in crossing by people trying to beat the system.

Adults entering the country without permis