'We believe our measures to be lawful': Braverman defends small boats law
ITV News political editor Robert Peston grills the home secretary on whether her plans breach international law, on Wednesday's ITV1 Peston show
The home secretary has insisted the government's plans to stop small boat Channel crossings is 'lawful' and 'fair', despite EU claims to the contrary.
Ms Braverman came under fire after outlining the details of her Illegal Immigration Bill on Tuesday, which will force detention on virtually everyone who enters the UK illegally and make it impossible for most to claim asylum.
Questions remain over the crackdown plans, as the government’s controversial policy to forcibly remove asylum seekers to Rwanda remains grounded by the courts.EU commissioner Ylva Johansson and the United Nations' refugee agency joined critics branding the government's latest plans to curb small boat crossings a violation of international law.
When asked on ITV1's Peston to respond on Wednesday night, Ms Braverman said: "Well I was very pleased to talk to Ylva yesterday before I made my speech and I explained to her in quite general terms the measures that we were proposing and she did express to me she thought that they would be unlawful.
"I invited her to read the detail, and I am very happy to speak to her about the detail of the bill.
"But we are no longer members of the European Union and so we are free to determine our own borders and migration policy and we believe our measures to be lawful, proper, necessary, compassionate and the fair thing to do, and that's why we're moving forward with them."
The Bill has been marred in controversy since it was announced on Tuesday.
Speaking to ITV News, a number of asylum seekers currently preparing to cross the channel from Calais to the UK have said the new legislation will do little to halt their efforts.
Ms Braverman rejected their comments.
She told Peston: "I am very confident that we’re going to have a deterrent effect - that’s one of the key themes in our bill. We want to make it clear to those people to who you spoke that if they get on a dinghy and arrive in the UK illegally they will be detained and removed.
"We are no longer members of the European Union so we are free to determine our own borders and migration policy and we believe our measures to be lawful."
The home secretary drew further criticism after an email signed off in her name blamed “an activist blob of left-wing lawyers, civil servants and the Labour Party” for blocking previous attempts to tackle illegal migration.
Suella Braverman claimed she ‘did not write’ or 'see' email attacking civil servants
Ms Braverman was accused of potentially breaking ministerial rules by questioning the impartiality of public servants in the Conservative Party message, which followed the publication of the government’s illegal migration bill.
She late said the email was sent in error and said she had been “incredibly impressed” with the dedication and hard work of officials in the Home Office.
“I didn’t write that email, I didn’t see it. It was an error really that it was sent out,” she said on ITV’s Peston.
Ms Braverman was unable to say whether the law will chime with the European Convention on Human Rights.
Lawyer Chris Daw KC earlier told Sky News her plan will almost certainly break human rights laws.
"To detain someone, without trial, without access to a lawyer, or the courts, and then deport them - it's abominable. The UK will become an international human rights pariah," he said.
Ms Braverman has admitted the law will push the boundaries of international law but Rishi Sunak has insisted it is lawful.
He accused Sir Keir Starmer of being "just another lefty lawyer" standing in his way of stopping illegal immigration at Prime Minister's Questions after the Labour leader suggested the policy will not work.
The PM said: "He wanted to, in his words, scrap the Rwanda deal, he voted against measures to deport foreign criminals and he even argued against deportation flights.
"We know why, because on this matter he talked about his legal background, he’s just another leftie lawyer standing in our way.”
If his law is challenged in the law courts, as the Rwandan deportation scheme was, Mr Sunak said "we will fight that hard because we believe we’re doing the right thing and it is compliant with our obligations".
Mr Sunak said: “Of course we’re up for the fight, I wouldn’t be standing here if we weren’t. But we’re confident that we’ll win.”
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