Brexiteer Mark Francois sets out solution to end small boats crisis

Rwanda: Francois calls for ‘notwithstanding’ clause in legislation

Mark Francois has set out a solution to get a grip on the small boats crisis.

The Conservative MP called for emergency legislation on the Rwanda policy to include a “notwithstanding” clause to direct British courts to ignore the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

Mr Francois told GB News: “Let me give you some feedback from the frontline. I tend to go out canvassing in my constituency twice a month.

“I was out in the cold on Saturday morning and I got some pretty direct feedback on this. The boats and immigration came up again and again and again.

“We had a bit on the cost of living crisis, we had a bit on the NHS, but that was by far and away the market leader.

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“These people want the boats stopped and if it’s complex because of the ECHR, they expect us as legislators to work through that to come up with a solution.

“And Rishi promised to stop the boats but as Lee Anderson very bluntly pointed out a few weeks ago, well, he hasn’t has he?”

Mr Francois said the Conservatives have “probably got one more chance”.

He added: “And what we need in order to make this work is what’s called a notwithstanding clause.

“What that means is you say, notwithstanding the ECHR, in this one scenario, in the cross-Channel scenario, the ECHR will not apply.

“So you’re not withdrawing from the whole ECHR, you’re just saying in this particular set of circumstances, the Strasbourg court’s writ will not run.

“We’ve had two goes before. We had the Nationality and Borders Act. Many people wanted a notwithstanding clause in that, we didn’t do it.

“We had the Illegal Immigration Act, many people wanted it in that, Suella Braverman lost an argument with Rishi on that.

“Now it’s three strikes and you’re out. If we don’t make this legislation work the public will stop listening to us.”

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak promised emergency legislation to deem Rwanda a safe country and a new treaty with the African nation after the Supreme Court last month ruled the policy was unlawful.

The plan to send Channel migrants on a one-way ticket to Kigali has so far been grounded by legal challenges.

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