Government not ruling out using electronic tagging to control migrants – Suella Braverman | Politics News

The government is not ruling out using electronic tagging to control migrants who come to the UK illegally.

Home Secretary Suella Braverman told Sky News she is willing to use a “range of options” in dealing with migrants who cross the Channel in small boats.

It comes after a report in The Times said the Home Office is considering fitting asylum seekers arriving in the UK via unauthorized means with electronic tags.

The paper says officials are looking at it as a way to stop the absconding of migrants who cannot be housed in detention centers because they are full to capacity.

Ms Braverman also:
• Blamed “a range of forces” seeking to block ministers stopping small boats
• Said she would “do what it takes” to stop them even if “thwarted by the courts”
• Insisted the Bibby Stockholm barge is safe, despite concerns

Ms Braverman told Sky’s Jayne Secker: “We’ve just enacted a landmark piece of legislation in the form of our Illegal Migration Act – that empowers us to detain those who arrive here illegally and thereafter swiftly remove them to a safe country like Rwanda.

“That will require a power to detain and ultimately control those people – we need to exercise a level of control if we are to remove them from the United Kingdom. We are considering a range of options.

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Asylum backlog hits new record high

“We have a couple of thousand detention places in our existing removal capacity. We will be working intensively to increase that but it’s clear we are exploring a range of options – all options – to ensure that we have that level of control of people so they can flow through our system swiftly to enable us to remove them.”

Ms Braverman conceded the government may have to provide more detention places while it waits for the outcome of the legal challenges against the Rwanda scheme.

“If we are successful [in court], we will be operationalizing our police. If we’re thwarted by the courts, we’ll do whatever it takes to make sure we stop the boats. It is a pledge the prime minister has made, it is one I have made and it is one we are working night and day to deliver.”

Read more:
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She also blamed a “range of forces…immigration lawyers, charities, NGOs, many of whom have very close links with the Labor Party” for delaying the government’s Rwanda policy.

Defending the government’s payment of £500m to France to police the beaches, Ms Braverman said it was “absolutely critical to succeeding in stopping the boats”.

“At the highest levels, between prime minister and president, we are collaborating and working closely.”

She added: “There have been hundreds of arrests of people-smuggling gangs and convictions of those who are facilitating illegal migration.

Braverman surfaces as turbulent summer for Home Office continues

Amanda Akass is a politics and business correspondent

Amanda Akass

Political correspondent


This summer has seen a storm of damaging headlines about the Home Office’s handling of illegal migration, from legionella on board the Bibby Stockholm to the ever-growing number of migrant boats crossing the Channel – but today is the first time we’ve heard from the woman in charge, Suella Braverman.

Despite the prime minister’s pledge to “stop the boats” looking increasingly detached from reality, the home secretary told Sky’s Jayne Secker this morning that it wasn’t a mistake to make such a bold promise, but “what the British people expect of us” and “what I passionately believe is the right thing to do.”

In response to the catalog of problems facing her department, openly described by a number of Tory backbenchers as once again “unfit for purpose” – Ms Braverman repeatedly trumpeted the government’s success in passing the Illegal Migration Act in the days before recess.

The new legislation, as part of the PM’s pledge on the issue, gives her the legal duty to detain and deport migrants who arrive in the country illegally.

But the practical issues around its implementation haven’t gone away.

Read Amanda’s full analysis here.

“The only effective way to stop this problem is to break the model of the people-smuggling gangs though upstream interception but also by deterrents and ensuring that those who attempt this journey in the first place will be penalized and will have to face consequences such as removal from the United Kingdom.”

The government is also facing a potential legal challenge from the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) over the Bibby Stockholm barge being used to house migrants.

Concerns have been raised about the safety of the barge – which is moored in Portland, Dorset. The asylum seekers who were onboard has been moved off after Legionella bacteria was found in the water supply.

Matt Wrack, the general secretary of the FBU, told Sky News his union had sent a “pre-action letter”, to which Ms Braverman needed to reply to by the end of this week.

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Govt “ought to own” migrant problems – Labor

The union is hoping to get details about the barge from the Home Office, and claims the secretary of state has refused to meet them.

But Ms Braverman later told BBC Radio 4’s Today program the Bibby Stockholm barge was safe, but could not say when asylum seekers would return to the vessel.

The home secretary said: “We’re waiting for the processes to complete and once they are done, we will be moving people back onto the barge.

Justin Madders, the shadow employment minister, criticized Ms Braverman’s refusal to rule out electronic tagging, saying: “The only people you tag are criminals – my understanding is that people coming to this country seeking asylum are not criminals.

“They’re usually fleeing persecution and if there was a problem with people absconding, this is the first I’ve heard about it.

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“This is just another gimmick that does not deal with the root of the problem at all.

“[Braverman’s] party has been in power for 13 years, to keep blaming the Labor Party for every failure of the government is quite pathetic frankly. They need to own this problem. “To blame other people is symptomatic of a bankrupt government,” he said.