5 October 2020 | UK NEWS
The Home Secretary has declared that the asylum system in the UK is “fundamentally broken” and that she would be working to make it “firm and fair”.
Ms Patel then went on to announce that she would be introducing legislation which would amount to the biggest overhaul of the asylum system in “decades”. She said of those attacking her plans that they were “defending the indefensible”.
She announced her plans at this year’s annual Conservative Party Conference, which is taking place virtually due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Ms Patel said in her speech that: “We will protect those most in need and put the rights of those who respect the rules above those who take our country for a ride.”
She continued: “A fair asylum system should provide safe haven to those fleeing persecution, oppression or tyranny.
“But ours doesn’t. Because our asylum system is fundamentally broken. And we have a responsibility to act.”
The Home Secretary then reaffirmed the UK’s commitment to protecting those who are having their rights stripped away: “Under Conservative leadership, the United Kingdom has and always will provide sanctuary when the lights are being switched off on people’s liberties.
“So, I will introduce a new system that is firm and fair. Fair and compassionate towards those who need our help. Fair by welcoming people through safe and legal routes.”
She also promised to clamp down on the gangs who are currently bringing illegal immigrants over to the UK via the Channel: “We will continue to hunt down the criminal gangs who traffic people into our country. I will continue to use the full force of our outstanding National Crime Agency and intelligence agencies to go after them.
“We will make more immediate returns of those who come here illegally and break our rules, every single week. And we will explore all practical measures and options to deter illegal migration.”
Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary, Nick Thomas-Symonds, accused the Conservatives of being “the political party that broke” the asylum system, having been in power for 10 years.
He added: “Recent experience suggests they have not learned any lessons at all, with unconscionable, absurd proposals about floating walls and creating waves in the English Channel to push back boats and sending people thousands of miles away to process claims.
“The truth is the Tories are devoid of compassion and competence.”