Prime minister says he has spent more time on small boats than anything else other than the economy since he got the top job.
By: Chandrashekar Bhat
Prime minister Rishi Sunak has said he is “determined” to tackle the migrant crisis which is eating into the UK’s taxpayers’ money.
As the number of migrants and asylum seekers illegally crossing the English Channel in small boats has already reached record levels, the government’s policy to deport them to Rwanda has been complicated by judicial intervention.
The Boris Johnson government had planned to send anyone entering the UK illegally and those who have arrived illegally since January 1, to the African country after having struck a deal with Kigali.
However, deportation flights were thwarted this summer by an injunction brought by the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights.
“I’m as angry as anyone else about what is going on and I am determined to fix it,” Sunak told The Spectator magazine ahead of the UK High Court’s ruling on legal challenges to the Rwanda plans.
“I’ve spent more time on small boats than anything else other than the economy since I got this job,” the prime minister said.
Finding a solution to the issue was a “moral question”, he said as he found it “not fair” to fund the support system from British taxpayers’ money when there was already pressure on public services.
More than 100,000 asylum seekers are currently supported at public expense in Britain.
It is estimated, two per cent of the Albanian male population is applying for asylum in the UK.
In the face of an increasing number of Albanians crossing the Channel, home secretary Suella Braverman too had hinted at the government tightening the modern slavery legislation to prevent its abuse.
Sunak said he spent a lot of time studying how other countries were tackling the influx and “I’m prepared to do what it takes to fix the problem.”
While he admitted it is a matter calling for urgent attention, he, however, said his government would not hasten with any measure that would later be defeated in the court of law.
“What I want to do – whether it comes to small boats or anything – is when I stand up and tell the country this is what I’m going to do, I will actually deliver”, Sunak said.
“I want people to be able to trust me when I say something is going to happen,’ he said, adding ‘if that means I take a bit of extra time to get it right, then that’s the right thing to do.”
He said he wanted to put the economy back on track of growth, saying “We have done a good chunk of the beginning of that.”
Financial markets, which went into a tailspin in the aftermath of the Liz Truss government’s mini-budget, recovered after Sunak took over as the prime minister.
He would reform the public services to “make sure that they actually deliver for people”, he said.
On the NHS, he was trying to figure out how he could provide patients with “the fastest” and “most effective healthcare.”