Jenrick Sunak didnt want to talk about reducing migration

Jenrick: Sunak didn\'t want to talk about reducing migration

Rishi Sunak does not understand the importance of curbing legal migration, a Tory former immigration minister has claimed.

Robert Jenrick said the Prime Minister “didn’t want to talk about it” when he and former home secretary Suella Braverman repeatedly tried to raise the issue – a claim contested by Downing Street sources.

Mr Sunak has been under pressure from MPs on the right of his party to take action since revised official estimates published in November indicated the net migration figure – the difference between the number of people arriving and leaving Britain – reached a record 745,000 in 2022.

Mr Jenrick, who resigned as immigration minister in December in protest at Mr Sunak’s Rwanda deportation plan, told GB News on Friday: “I didn’t feel that the Prime Minister understood the importance of legal migration to the British public.”

He said he and Mrs Braverman, when they were both still in the Cabinet, “met the Prime Minister approximately every fortnight to talk about Home Office issues like stopping the boats, like security and policing.

“Never once did we have a conversation about legal migration because the Prime Minister didn’t want to talk about it.”

The Conservative MP for Newark continued: “I think that the Prime Minister, like others, took the view that legal migration didn’t matter and that Brexit, if it was anything, was about taking back control but not bringing down the numbers. I disagree with that.”

Mr Sunak has previously vowed to “do what is necessary” to bring net migration down as he sought to blame the “very large numbers” on his predecessors.

The Government is introducing a raft of restrictions in a bid to cut the number of people legally arriving in Britain, including a ban on overseas care workers bringing family dependants to the UK and a drastically hiked salary threshold for skilled workers to £38,700.

The Home Secretary has asked the Migration Advisory Committee to review the graduate route for international students, while the minimum income requirement for family visas is being raised to £29,000 from April 11, and to £38,700 by early 2025.

Ex-minister Mr Jenrick called for a “fundamentally different approach” to immigration, telling the broadcaster: “We’re clearly going down the wrong path. We’re living in a country with net migration of 600,000 or 700,000, and we’re not stopping the boats.”

Provisional Home Office figures this week showed that the number of migrants who have arrived in the UK so far in 2024 after crossing the Channel has reached a record high for the first three months of a calendar year.

According to the figures, 338 people arrived in seven boats on Tuesday, taking the total for the year to date to 4,644.

Mr Jenrick quit his Government role over Mr Sunak’s Rwanda Bill, arguing it would not act as a strong enough deterrent to stop asylum seekers arriving via small boats.

The Government’s stalled plan would see people who arrive on small boats sent to the African nation to claim asylum there, with no right to come back to the UK.

A Government source said: “The PM has been clear migration levels are far too high – and people can judge him by his actions.

“Since last May, he has brought in the biggest package any Prime Minister has ever delivered to reduce net migration.

“Thanks to those policies, 300,000 people who came to the UK legally last year will no longer be able to come, and we’re already seeing this decisive action start to take effect.”

Mr Sunak is understood to have held bilateral meetings with Home Office ministers throughout last year at which they were able raise any subject including legal migration, although plans to tackle illegal migration took more time to discuss because of their more complex nature.

Published: by Radio NewsHub

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