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Ryan Shorthouse, Executive Chair of Bright Blue, comments: 

“The Rwanda asylum agreement has been an expensive failure. It has been deemed by the Supreme Court to be unlawful and, as a country that respects the rule of law, the UK Government must now move on urgently to find alternative ways of reducing the flow of irregular migrants crossing the Channel.

“Seeking to leave or bypass the ECHR in response to this judgement would be a monumental misjudgement. There is other domestic legislation and international treaties that the Rwanda asylum agreement would fall foul of. And the net impact of our departure from, or undermining of, the ECHR on our international reputation and the rules-based system would be dire.
The priority for the Home Office now should be threefold. First, disincentivise migrants from making dangerous journeys, by opening up some legal and safe routes for those from a wider range of dangerous countries, and working with our European neighbours to improve border enforcement and increase returns agreements. The reduction in small boats crossings we have seen this year relative to last year, after all, is largely a result of a new returns agreement with Albania.
 
Second, improving the speed and accuracy of asylum processing. Compared to France and Germany, the UK processes asylum claims much more slowly and, when they do, the acceptance rate is much higher. The Home Office needs to invest in rectifying this. 
 
Third, ensuring the effective tracking and removal of people who are not eligible to be here. We should introduce ID cards to enable this. And we should seek to remove failed asylum seekers who do not leave voluntarily to a safe third country.”
 
In September 2023, Bright Blue released a report assessing public attitudes towards the Rwanda asylum agreement and alternative policies to reduce irregular migration.

ENDS

Notes to editors:

To arrange an interview with a Bright Blue spokesperson or for further media enquiries, please contact Emily Taylor at emily@brightblue.org.uk or on 078414 19316.

  • Bright Blue is the independent think tank and pressure group for liberal conservatism.
  • Bright Blue’s Board includes Ryan Shorthouse (Executive Chair), Diane Banks, Philip Clarke, Alexandra Jezeph and Richard Mabey.
  • Our advisory council can be found here. We also have 218 parliamentary supporters. Members of our advisory council and our parliamentary supporters do not necessarily endorse all our policy recommendations, including those included in this press release.