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The Third Home Secretary This Year: Will This One Have Some Morals?

Updated: Jan 12, 2023

Don’t be fooled by the shambles of a Tory government, they all want to take our Human Rights.

On 19th October, former PM, Liz Truss appointed a new Home Secretary, Graham Shapps to replace Suella Braverman, who replaced Priti Patel in September. Whilst desperately clinging to her position as PM, Liz Truss was committed to withdrawing the UK from the European Court of Human Rights. The national mourning of Queen Elizabeth II provided Truss impunity in covertly passing the Policing, Crime, and Sentencing Act, which, amongst other things, criminalises the way of life of Gypsie and Roma travellers, and makes loud protests illegal.

Truss’s ambitions were contingent on the regressive Bill of Rights proposed as a replacement for the Human Rights Act during Boris Johnson’s tenure. The Conservative Party seems intent on attacking human rights and this will have catastrophic consequences for everyone in the UK. Particularly pernicious is the legislation that has been passed and proposed over the last two years that aims to despicably erode the rights of refugees and people seeking asylum in the UK.

In June 2021, former Home Secretary, Priti Patel, proposed the Nationality and Borders Bill. This bill, described by the United Nations as “almost neo-colonial” in its oppressive and racist formulation, proposed criminalising refugees arriving in the UK through clandestine routes and detaining people seeking asylum in camps. Despite breaching international law, this gratuitous piece of legislature received Royal Assent in April this year.

Since being passed, the government has been attempting to deport refugees to camps in Rwanda, having already paid £120 million to the Rwandan government. Thus far, the Home Office has been prohibited from carrying out any deportations, with the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR) blocking the first planned deportation flight in June 2022. However, this policy has displaced survivors of genocide housed in hostels in Rwanda, such as the Hope Hostel.

It is hard to imagine how this legislation could be made worse. However, when Suella Braverman replaced Patel as Home Secretary, she immediately announced her plans to initiate an even more aggressive attack against refugees and people seeking asylum.

Her vision was to implement a complete ban on any person from claiming asylum if they arrived in the UK “illegally”. She also constructed a plan to increase the use of detention facilities and to introduce legislation to prevent the ECHR, or any other group motivated by morality, from blocking deportations of refugees and people seeking asylum. Revealing just how insipidly depraved and warped her motivations were, Braverman stated that sanctioning deportations of refugees to Rwanda was her “dream” and her “obsession”. Braverman has also described the British Empire as a “force for good”.

However, on October 19th, Braverman publicly announced her resignation as Home Secretary. Braverman admitted that she committed a technical infringement of ministerial rules by sending an official policy document from her personal email and therefore felt duty-bound to resign. Former minister advisor, Dominic Cummings described this as a “laughable” excuse, explaining that it is commonplace for MPs to use their personal emails and work emails interchangeably, leaving open the question as to the real motivation behind Braverman’s sudden resignation. Demonstrating the sincerity (as in, lack thereof) of Braverman’s remorse, she was quick in vying for the role of Prime Minister after the resignation of Liz Truss.

Even after only three months as Home Secretary, Braverman’s contemptible legacy condemns the most vulnerable sects of society to silently suffer exploitation and violence. She oversaw that modern slavery was reclassified as an “immigration and asylum issue”, making it even harder, if not impossible, for victims of modern slavery to access support and protection.

But for Braverman, this suffering was not enough to satisfy her assiduous craving for cruelty. In her resignation letter, Braverman lamented the failure of Truss to commit to her manifesto pledges (and fulfil Braverman’s dreams) of introducing stricter measures to “[reduce] overall migration numbers and stopping illegal migrants”.

In response, Truss thanked Braverman for her time in office, lauding Braverman’s “steadfast commitment to keeping the British people safe”. Braverman and Truss remain mutually connected by a steadfast commitment to racism and xenophobia.

A desperate and increasingly unpopular Prime Minister replaced Braverman with one of her (many) nemesis MPs, former transport secretary Graham Shapps. Shapps previously stood in the leadership campaign following the resignation of Boris Johnson but dropped out to endorse Rishi Sunak’s campaign. Continuing his opposition to Truss, at the Conservative Party conference earlier this month Shapps spoke with acerbity about Truss and her political agenda and has, of particular note, condemned Truss’ decision to drop the 45p tax cuts.

However, with Rishi Sunak as Prime Minister, Braverman has been thrown another life to get her initial plans up and going again. It seems as if the worst is yet to come. One can only imagine how far she will go and her next steps. But we cannot let that happen. Human Rights protect us all and we must stand together to oppose any attempts to erode them.

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