Scrap Human Rights Act to take back full control of immigration, says Tory MP

Conservative MP Scott Benton urges the Government to 'scrap' the Human Rights Act to tackle migrant crossings after deadliest day of the crisis on record


The UK will not be able to take back full control of its immigration and asylum policy unless the Government scraps the Human Rights Act, a Conservative MP has said.

During Business Questions, Conservative MP Scott Benton addressed the “tragic loss of life” in the Channel, which saw at least 27 people die when a dinghy capsized off the coast of Calais on Wednesday.

The MP for Blackpool South said the deadliest day of the crisis on record underlines “why we need to do everything possible to make these dangerous routes unviable”, including scrapping the Human Rights Act.

He said: “There is nothing compassionate or moral about allowing criminal gangs to exploit vulnerable people.

“The leader of the House has already mentioned the Borders Bill but I fear that we won’t be able to gain back full control of our immigration and asylum policy unless we scrap the Human Rights Act (HRA).”

Mr Benton asked for a parliamentary debate “on alternatives to the HRA”.

Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg acknowledged “concerns” about the Human Rights Act have been a “theme” during the session of Business Questions.

He said: “We must be able to govern ourselves in this country in a way that secures safety and wellbeing for people trying to come here and people who are already here.

“I would remind honourable and right honourable members that this place is sovereign and we are always able to amend any and all acts of Parliament if we can get a majority for it in both Houses. And that is I think of fundamental constitutional importance.”

After Home Secretary Priti Patel made a statement to MPs, during which she claimed there is “no quick fix” to the migrant crisis, Conservative MP Sir John Hayes told her she “needs to go further” with offshore processing of claims.

The MP for South Holland and The Deepings said the Nationality and Borders Bill “will go some way to fixing a broken asylum system, gamed by traffickers, by economic migrants, and by rights lawyers”.

He added: “She (Priti Patel) needs to go further, and that’s why the common sense group of MPs have written to her saying we need to disrupt those criminal gangs, we need offshore processing of claims, and we need to turn round boats in the Channel as the law allows us to do.

“For people who voted to take back control have every right to ask the question: if you can’t protect the integrity of the borders, what can you control?”

The Home Secretary said: “He mentions offshoring, third country, these are all options that are under consideration and the Bill does actually – the new plan for immigration – covers those areas.

“He’s absolutely right in terms of the principal point that he makes, which is why we are determined and we will not just stop and cease with the measures that we have already announced, we will look to augment and enhance some of the measures as well.”