Priti Patel Has Promised To Overhaul The “Broken Asylum System” With The Biggest Change To Immigration Laws In Decades
Priti Patel has pledged to overhaul the UK's asylum system at the Conservative Party conference (PA)
Priti Patel has pledged to make the biggest overhaul to immigration policy in decades saying she will "take every necessary step to fix this broken system”.
The home secretary told the Conservative Party’s annual conference she would bring “forward legislation to deliver on that commitment next year”.
Her speech came after it was reported the government was looking at an Australian-style system for processing migrants offshore from the UK mainland.
In the wake of a wave of small boat crossings in the Channel by migrants this summer Ms Patel said: "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.”
She said she “will introduce a new system that is firm and fair”, adding: “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.”
Claiming that “illegal migration is - and has always been - a complex issue”, Ms Patel said it has “plagued many Home Secretaries, many political parties and many governments”, warning it "would take time” to fix.
"If the solution to stop this was simple and straightforward, then believe me, this issue would have been resolved by now,” she added.
And the Cabinet minister took on her detractors, saying: “We’ve already heard from the Labour Party, claiming that 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 those most in need.”
She has been criticised over exploring deploying disused ferries, moored off the UK coast, to house asylum seekers waiting for their cases to be dealt with, or using boats with wave-generating pumps to force smaller vessels back into French waters.
But hitting back the home secretary added: “As for those defending the broken system – the traffickers, the do gooders, the leftie lawyers, the Labour Party – they are defending the indefensible. And that is something I will never do.
“If at times it 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 their idea of what an ethnic minority woman should stand for. I will stomach it.
“Because as Conservatives, we do not measure the depth of our compassion in two hundred and eighty characters on Twitter, but in the actions we take and the choices we make.”