Home Secretary to announce ‘biggest overhaul of asylum system in decades’

By Catherine Wylie, PA
·2-min read

The Home Secretary will say the UK’s asylum system is “fundamentally broken” as she promises to introduce a new one that is “firm and fair”.

In a speech at the Conservative Party conference, Priti Patel will commit to delivering “the biggest overhaul of our asylum system in decades”.

Ms Patel will say that under Tory leadership, the UK “has and always will provide sanctuary when the lights are being switched off on people’s liberties”.

She will tell those tuning into the online conference: “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.”

Ms Patel will say: “From the expulsion of Ugandan Asians from a repressive regime, to proudly resettling more Syrian refugees than any other EU country, to supporting campaigners fleeing political persecution in Hong Kong.

“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.

“But firm because we will stop the abuse of the broken system.

“Firm, because we will stop those who come here illegally making endless legal claims to remain.

“And firm, because we will expedite the removal of those who have no claim for protection.

“After decades of inaction by successive governments, we will address the moral, legal, practical problems with this broken system. Because what exists now is neither firm nor fair.

“And I will bring forward legislation to deliver on that commitment. I will take every necessary step to fix this broken system. Amounting to the biggest overhaul of our asylum system in decades.”

The Home Secretary will vow to “accelerate” the operational response to illegal migration.

She will say: “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.”