THE British people, rather than European judges, must “decide who can and cannot stay in our country”, the Attorney General has said.
There is fury in Conservative circles that judges at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) last week granted an injunction which thwarted plans to send asylum seekers to Rwanda. Prime Minister Boris Johnson yesterday insisted the Government is “very confident” that its plans are lawful and pledged to “pursue the policy”.
He described the ECHR’s actions as a “weird last-minute hiccup we had with Strasbourg” but there is pressure in Conservative ranks to ensure this cannot happen again.
Attorney General Suella Braverman said: “This is still a topic being discussed in government but I have significant reservations about our relationship with the European Court of Human Rights. In the EU referendum the British people voted to take back control of our laws, they are rightly baffled why our immigration controls can still be blocked by European judges.”
“It’s time to complete Brexit and let the British people decide who can and cannot stay in our country.”
The “absolutely scandalous” European court decision which effectively grounded the first flight to send asylum seekers to Rwanda was politically motivated, according to the Home Secretary.
Judges at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) on Tuesday granted an injunction that resulted in a chartered aircraft to Kigali being unable to depart from Wiltshire.
“You’ve got to look at the motivation,” Priti Patel told The Daily Telegraph.
“How and why did they make that decision? Was it politically motivated? I’m of the view that it is, absolutely.
“The opaque way this court has operated is absolutely scandalous. That needs to be questioned.
“We don’t know who the judges are, we don’t know who the panel are, we haven’t actually had a judgment – just a press release and a letter saying we can’t move this person under rule 39.
“They’ve not used this ruling previously, which does make you question the motivation and the lack of transparency.”
Some asylum seekers arriving in the UK via small boats or the back of lorries are being electronically tagged as part of a Home Office trial programme.
Under the system, those tagged may be subject to a curfew or excluded from certain locations.
The department said the 12-month pilot, which began on Wednesday, will test whether electronic monitoring is an effective way to give immigration bail to asylum seekers who arrive in the country using “unnecessary and dangerous” routes.
The Home Office said the trial will test whether tagging aids regular contact with migrants given bail and progresses their claims more effectively.
Boris Johnson, quizzed on the policy on Saturday, said it was about ensuring “asylum seekers can’t just vanish into the rest of the country”.
Migrants who crossed the Channel in small boats last week have already received letters warning they could be sent to Rwanda.
In a sign of the Government’s determination to press ahead with the controversial policy, officials have sent out a wave of fresh notifications, including to a group of ten Albanians.
The Mail on Sunday understands that one of the seven migrants in the final group to avoid being flown to Rwanda last week is an Albanian farmhand in his mid-20s who arrived in Dover last month after crossing the Channel in a small boat.
Speaking from the family’s two-bedroom home in a remote village, his mother, who is in her 50s, said: ‘May God help my son.
‘He told me he will kill himself if he is sent to live in Africa by the British. I am begging your Prime Minister Boris Johnson not to send him to Rwanda. I will never see him again.’
The head of the World Health Organisation privately believes the Covid pandemic started following a leak from a Chinese laboratory, a senior Government source claims.
While publicly the group maintains that ‘all hypotheses remain on the table’ about the origins of Covid, the source said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organisation (WHO), had recently confided to a senior European politician that the most likely explanation was a catastrophic accident at a laboratory in Wuhan, where infections first spread during late 2019.
The Mail on Sunday first revealed concerns within Western intelligence services about the Wuhan Institute of Virology, where scientists were manipulating coronaviruses sampled from bats in caves nearly 1,000 miles away – the same caves where Covid-19 is suspected to have originated – in April 2020. The worldwide death toll from the Covid pandemic is now estimated to have hit more than 18 million.
The government has broken its promise to deliver 100 million surplus Covid vaccines to poor countries, after sharply cutting international aid spending.
At a G7 meeting in June last year, Boris Johnson pledged to send the vaccines to developing countries within a year to help close the global vaccine gap and “vaccinate the world”.
But a year later the government has delivered barely a third of the number of promised jabs, with just 36.5 million deployed as of the end of May – a deficit of 63.5 million doses.
Figures published by the government also show that ministers have effectively charged developing countries for the leftover jabs by deducting them from existing aid, and even added a mark-up on the UK’s original purchase price.
Conservative MPs are plotting a Christmas leadership challenge to unseat Boris Johnson.
There is a growing push to change party rules to allow a second confidence vote in the Prime Minister within six months, instead of the current minimum of one year.
MPs from both the 2019 intake and the One Nation group of rebel Tories have raised the idea of using the upcoming elections to the backbenchers’ influential 1922 Committee to fill it with more members who would vote through the change.
A source familiar with the plans said the six-month gap between confidence votes is seen as preferable because it would provide ‘enough time to give [Mr Johnson] a chance for a reset, but is not long enough to drag it out. It would avoid a lengthy, drawn out, slow death’.
By then the Commons’ Privileges Committee, which is investigating whether the Prime Minister misled Parliament over his comments on Partygate, would also be expected to have come to a conclusion.
Tory MPs warn a double by-election defeat this week will pile further pressure on Boris Johnson’s leadership as the embattled prime minister tries to move on from the Partygate scandal.
Rebels say Mr Johnson, whose faced criticism when his ethics adviser resigned on Wednesday, would suffer a “loss of authority” if the Conservatives were to lose Tiverton and Honiton, which would require one of the largest ever overturned majorities in a by-election.
MPs from across the party told The Independent they were privately expecting a “big defeat” on Thursday in the Yorkshire seat of Wakefield – a former Labour heartland Sir Keir Starmer hopes to seize back.
A senior Tory MP – pointing to the “enormous majority” in the Devon seat – told The Independent: “To lose it by one would be a disaster. It will be the scale of defeat [in Wakefield] that will be really telling”.
Teachers and NHS staff are threatening to strike over pay in the autumn in a blow to schoolchildren and patients, as Mick Lynch plunges Britain into 1970s-style economic unrest.
The National Education Union (NEU) has said it is preparing to hold a ballot of its 450,000 members which could lead to strikes in schools across England.
Joint general secretary of the NEU Kevin Courtney said the union would ballot its members to gauge reactions unless Education Secretary Nadim Zahawi offers ‘significantly’ above the 3 per cent pay increase put forward earlier this year.
‘Pay is already down 20 per cent on 2010. The strains are showing. One in eight of new graduate teachers are leaving in their first year,’ he told the Observer.
Teachers’ union Nasuwt echoed Courtney’s statements and threaten to ballot members on industrial action from November. And Unison said the Government risked triggering widespread strikes in hospitals if it refuses to offer pay increases close to inflation.
Millions of NHS workers are set to receive their annual pay offer next week but it is expected to fall well short of inflation, which is currently running at 9.2 per cent but could reach as high as 11 per cent this autumn, according to the Bank of England.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has accused the country’s biggest rail union of “punishing” millions of innocent people after it confirmed it will go ahead with series of crippling strikes.
Mr Shapps said the travelling public faced a week of “misery” because the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union had refused repeated appeals to call off their action due to start on Tuesday.
But Labour in turn accused the Transport Secretary and Prime Minister Boris Johnson of deliberately “pouring petrol on fire” because they wanted the country to “grind to a halt’ in order to stoke political divisions.
On Saturday, the RMT confirmed that strikes at Network Rail and 13 train operators will go ahead on Tuesday, Thursday and next Saturday, and on London Underground on Tuesday.
A series of strikes set to hit the rail network next week will “punish millions of innocent people”, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has said.
He said commuters and pupils taking exams would be among those affected.
But the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) said politicians had prevented progress in talks.
Strikes will take place on almost all major lines across Britain on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, as well as on the London Underground on Tuesday.
There will also be knock-on effects on services on non-strike days, including Monday.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Broadcasting House programme, the RMT’s Mick Lynch claimed rail operators were refusing to sit down for discussions, while Network Rail was being influenced by government ministers.
“It’s Shapps, [Boris] Johnson and Rishi Sunak who are stopping a deal being done in this dispute,” he said.
A wave of 1970s-style economic unrest is threatening to spread from the railways across the public services, as unions representing teachers and NHS workers warn of potential industrial action over pay.
With the country preparing for rail strikes on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday which will see half the network shut down, the biggest teaching union, the National Education Union (NEU), told the Observer that unless it receives a pay offer much closer to inflation by Wednesday, it will be informing education secretary Nadhim Zahawi of its plan to ballot its 450,000 members. The move could lead to strikes in schools in England in the autumn, the union said.
Another flashpoint could come this week when millions of NHS workers up to senior nurse level receive their annual pay offer, which is expected to fall substantially short of inflation, currently running at 9.2%.
The country’s biggest union, Unison, representing NHS staff, said the government now faced a choice between offering a deal close to inflation or triggering a mass exodus of staff coupled with possible industrial action in hospitals, at a time when they are already hugely overburdened.
RAIL strike leader Mick Lynch has admitted he longs to be a modern-day Arthur Scargill — and drag Britain back to the industrial strife of the 1970s.
The firebrand RMT boss wants unions to regain the power and control which brought the country to its knees during the infamous Winter of Discontent
He revealed he has modelled himself on militant miners’ leader Scargill to whip up support for his battle with the Government — and confessed: “I’ve got an ego.”
In a frank interview, he gave a chilling threat of union barons dominating the political landscape again for the first time in decades.
He declared: “I’m nostalgic for the power that we had and more nostalgic for the control and values that we had.
“People talk about the Winter of Discontent and the excesses of the trade union movement as it was styled and characterised. They had good reason for that because they had very powerful unions.
Final talks to stop next week’s rail strikes have collapsed, paving the way for transport chaos across the country.
The Rail, Transport and Maritime Union (RMT) said discussions failed to resolve a bitter row over pay, jobs and conditions.
As a result, more than 40,000 staff at Network Rail and 13 train operators are expected to walk out.
General secretary Mick Lynch said: ‘Despite the best efforts of our negotiators no viable settlements to the disputes have been created.’
Rail strikes will go ahead on Tuesday, Thursday and next Saturday, and on London Underground on Tuesday.
But Network Rail said it will cause disruption for six days due to the impact on services on the days in between the strikes.
The militant rail boss behind the strikes set to paralyse Britain declared class war last night, shattering any hopes of averting crippling industrial action.
In a furious rant, Mick Lynch, the general secretary of the RMT union, urged Labour MPs to ‘stand up and fight with us’ at a rally attended by the party’s deputy leader, Angela Rayner.
Using inflammatory far-Left rhetoric, Mr Lynch said rail workers are locked in a ‘class struggle’ and accused the Government of seeking to ‘butcher the working class’.
More than 40,000 members of RMT will stage 24-hour walkouts on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday in a dispute over proposed job losses and their demand for pay hikes that will keep pace with inflation.
Only one in five trains will run on the three strike days, but services will also be hugely disrupted during the rest of the week.
The number of trains travelling London to Glasgow on Tuesday will be slashed from 17 to just four, with the last departing at 1.30pm.
Britain’s biggest trade unions have been accused by the Business Secretary of “bribing” workers to go on strike after they doubled daily payments to those who take part in industrial action.
The tax-free payments are being offered by several unions threatening strikes this summer, and are being funded from vast “strike funds” that Kwasi Kwarteng said showed that unions had been plotting a “dangerous” summer of chaos “for some time”.
Unite, which has threatened strikes in councils and across bus networks, has been putting up posters in local government buildings advertising its “£70 a day strike pay” to staff.
Unite and Unison, whose leaders threatened nationwide strikes last week “to protect public services”, have doubled their daily strike payments since 2019. Unison increased the payment to £50 last year on the basis that it helps put the union “in the best possible position to win disputes”.
Care workers recruited from overseas to look after elderly and disabled people in Britain are being charged thousands of pounds in illegal fees and forced to work in exploitative conditions to pay off their debts.
An Observer investigation has uncovered a network of agencies supplying workers to care homes and homecare agencies that charge recruitment fees to candidates.
By law, agents cannot charge a fee for finding or trying to find a candidate work. The practice of charging recruitment fees, previously exposed in the UAE and Qatar, is considered a human rights abuse that leaves workers vulnerable to exploitation.
But the fees are often disguised as a “processing”, “service” or “admin” charge, with many workers unaware they are illegal. Often, the breakdown of fees or full amount is not fully disclosed until the worker has reached the UK, by which time they have already paid for flights and relocation.
Workers from India, the Philippines, Ghana and Zimbabwe are among those charged for their recruitment, with fees ranging from £3,000 to £18,000.
Some have become trapped in debt bondage – a form of modern slavery – as a result of the fees. Suspected victims described how agents had deducted money from their salaries and withheld their passport or residence permit until they repaid the sum owed.
Others claim to have been subject to abuse and threats or paid less than the minimum wage. They cannot speak up because the sponsorship system for care workers means their visa is tied to their employer.
World War Three
Britain’s top army general has told his troops to prepare to fight and beat Putin’s armies in a European land war, it has emerged tonight.
General Sir Patrick Sanders, who assumed overall command of the British Army this week, warned soldiers ‘we are the generation that must prepare the Army to fight in Europe once again’ as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine rocks global stability.
In a tub-thumping message to British troops, he wrote: ‘I am the first Chief of the General Staff since 1941 to take command of the Army in the shadow of a land war in Europe involving a continental power… The scale of the enduring threat from Russia shows we’ve entered a new era of insecurity.READ MORE
‘It is my singular duty to make our Army as lethal and effective as it can be. The time is now and the opportunity is ours to seize.’
It comes as Putin menaces NATO countries and this week taunted former Soviet states in Europe by declaring: ‘They are part of historic Russia’.
Putin made the comments in response to a dramatic statement by Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, who sensationally declared he did not recognise the self-proclaimed people’s republics of Donetsk and Luhansk in eastern Ukraine.
BRITAIN’S top general has told every soldier to prepare to fight Russia in a potential World War Three.
Gen Sir Patrick Sanders, the new Army commander, said that Vladimir Putin’s bloodbath assault on Ukraine had rocked the foundations of global security.
He vowed to forge an Army that can beat Russia in battle.
And he warned brave British troops that they must now prepare “to fight in Europe once again”.
In a rousing first message to every serving soldier, he said the world had changed since the Russian dictator had invaded Ukraine on February 24.
Gen Sanders started in his new role last Monday — and in his fourth day in the job, wrote: “There is now a burning imperative to forge an Army capable of fighting alongside our allies and defeating Russia in battle.”
In a chilling reference to World War Two, he added: “We are the generation that must prepare the Army to fight in Europe once again.”