Pledge or Problem?
Rishi Sunak, the British Prime Minister, has declined to say whether he will fulfill his commitment to end illegal boat crossings before the upcoming general election. In January, Sunak made ending these crossings a centerpiece of his premiership, but more than 17,000 people have still made the dangerous journey this year.
During a visit to a nursery in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, Sunak expressed his desire for the boat crossings to stop "as soon as possible." However, he acknowledged that the issue is complex and posed significant challenges.
Racing Against Time
Tory MPs are concerned that time is running out before the next general election, which is due by January 2025. The court-delayed Rwanda deportation scheme and the waiting migrants on the Bibby Stockholm barge, which was evacuated due to legionella bacteria, further complicate efforts to address the problem.
A Tough Fight
Sunak affirmed that he is not complacent and never promised an easy or overnight fix. He emphasized that the government is committed to tackling the issue from all angles until a solution is achieved. Stopping the boats is one of his five priorities, as the current system is deemed unsustainable and unfair.
Alternative Accommodation and Cost
The government is currently spending approximately £6 million per day to house illegal migrants in hotels. However, efforts are underway to relocate them to alternative accommodation sites, such as old military bases and vessels, in order to alleviate pressure on local communities.
Challenges from the Courts
Some MPs have urged Sunak to withdraw the UK from the jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights, which has authority over decisions regarding the treatment of illegal migrants. However, a spokesperson for No10 stated that the PM is confident that he can stop the boats while keeping Britain within the court's purview.