Piers Morgan grills Rishi Sunak on new immigration law

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John Major has lashed out at Brexit, demanding the UK remain under the jurisdiction of the European Courts of Human Rights. The former Prime Minister described the UK’s exit from the European Union as a “colossal mistake”. He also warned Mr Sunak against leaving the ECHR, saying the Government “would not do itself any favours” by withdrawing from it.

The Prime Minister will consider quitting the ECHR if it blocks his plans to ban Channel migrants from appealing against deportation.

But Sir John told the House of Commons Northern Ireland Affairs Committee the UK would be “in pretty rum company if we were to leave”, adding that the court was “a British invention”.

No country has ever voluntarily quit the ECHR, with only Russia and Belarus having been expelled after the invasion of Ukraine.

Sir John added: “I do not think the Government would do itself any favours around the world if it were to withdraw from that, and I profoundly hope that they won’t”.

In his Commons appearance, the former Prime Minister – who campaigned to remain in the EU in 2016 – urged Mr Sunak to face down “extreme” Eurosceptic MPs.

Sir John claimed the Northern Ireland Protocol was a “mess” and had been “very poorly negotiated” by Boris Johnson’s Government.

But he urged Mr Sunak to strike a deal on the Northern Ireland Protocol “even if it’s unpopular in the short-term”.

Speaking about the UK’s relationship with Ireland pre-Brexit, Sir John added: “That relationship with Ireland mattered then and it matters now.

“We are out of the European Union and they are in it.

“They are one of the ways we may stretch out and recover some of the things we so wilfully threw away when we left the EU.”

The Government has stepped up its efforts to resolve issues with the Protocol in recent months, which have been ongoing since October 2021.

It has also pledged to crack down on illegal migration, with Mr Sunak last month pledging to “remove and swiftly detain” all migrants who come to the UK illegally in a major clamp down on channel crossings.

Mr Sunak told MPs the tough approach is “about fairness for those that seek to come here legally” and “fairness for those who live here”.

He vowed to “break the cycle of criminal gangs which are causing untold misery, leading to deaths in the channel”.

Mr Sunak added: “We will introduce legislation which makes it clear that if you come here illegally, we will be able to detain you and swiftly remove you to a safe third country.”

This, he said, is a “reasonable and common sense approach that most of the British public support.”

The Prime Minister announced a swathe of new policies to tackle migration in a statement to MPs at the start of December, setting out a five-point plan to deal with illegal migration and help speed up the assessment of claims from countries deemed “safe”.

It included “significantly” raising the threshold someone has to meet before being considered trafficked as a slave and processing claims from Albanian nationals in “weeks instead of months”.

He said that illegal migration is “unfair on the British people who play by the rules”.

The Prime Minister said “enough is enough”, adding: “It is not cruel or unkind to want to break the stranglehold of the criminal gangs who trade in human misery and who exploit our system and laws.”

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