But her outlook was met with disapproval by many, including former Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott. She offered a curt rebuttal on Twitter, writing: “My colleague Rachel Reeves should not be calling for more deportations. That way lies the Windrush scandal.”
Those last six words pack more punch than a long rant ever could.
The scandal, which emerged in 2018, saw hundreds of Caribbean immigrants living and working in the UK wrongfully targeted by immigration enforcement as a result of the government’s “hostile environment” policies. It remains a source of national shame.
Within half an hour, Abbott's tweet had racked up more than 1,000 likes, as fellow critics condemned the Shadow Chancellor's comments.
Scores of commentators accused Reeves of taking a right wing approach that would be more at home with the current government than with Labour:
\u201cThis. Rachel Reeves is simply a Tory. That's not a slur. Every position she takes would fit perfectly in a Conservative manifesto, and not even a particularly moderate one.\u201d
\u201cIt is absolutely disgusting that senior figures in the Labour Party should think it legitimate to compete with Tories in pandering to bigotry, whether on asylum seekers, trans people or people on benefits.\n\nWhy is Rachel Reeves even in the Labour Party?\u201d
\u201cFor the sake of balance, here\u2019s Labour\u2019s Rachel Reeves saying the problem is they\u2019re not booting them out fast enough. Good to see Labour hang entirely given up the fight to claim the Nasty Party crown\u201d
— Gabriel Gatehouse (@Gabriel Gatehouse)
\u201cJust extraordinary. Rachel Reeves being more extreme than Suella Braverman.\u201d
— Cllr Kevin Frea: Green Eco-Socialist \ud83c\udf31 \ud83c\uddee\ud83c\uddea \ud83c\uddf5\ud83c\uddf8 (@Cllr Kevin Frea: Green Eco-Socialist \ud83c\udf31 \ud83c\uddee\ud83c\uddea \ud83c\uddf5\ud83c\uddf8)
\u201cLabour is 33% ahead in the polls but Rachel Reeves is still punching down against the most marginalised people in our country. Just awful.\u201d
— Cllr Martin Abrams\ud83c\udf39 (@Cllr Martin Abrams\ud83c\udf39)
Meanwhile, others offered Reeves some tips on how she should have responded to the question of how to approach illegal immigration.
\u201cThe problem with this policy is not a lack of deportations, but a lack of respect for human rights and international law\n\nRachel Reeves and the Labour Party would do well to remember our commitments to both\u201d
— Liz Saville Roberts AS/MP \ud83c\udff4\udb40\udc67\udb40\udc62\udb40\udc77\udb40\udc6c\udb40\udc73\udb40\udc7f (@Liz Saville Roberts AS/MP \ud83c\udff4\udb40\udc67\udb40\udc62\udb40\udc77\udb40\udc6c\udb40\udc73\udb40\udc7f)
\u201cWhat Labour's Rachel Reeves should have said in response to Suella Braverman's efforts to speed up the Tories anti-migrant/refugee plans and play to the racist gallery.\u201d
Still, not to be outdone, Home Secretary Suella Braverman was quick to go even further with her own visions of tackling the influx of migrants.
On Tuesday, she broke with Government policy to call for the UK to leave the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) as she urged a crackdown on illegal migration.
She said it was her personal view and acknowledged Government policy was to work within the boundaries of the convention, which is interpreted by the European Court of Human Rights.
She told a Spectator event at the Tory conference in Birmingham: “I was pretty blunt about this issue in my leadership campaign.
“My position personally is that ultimately we do need to leave the European Convention on Human Rights. That is not government policy, I should say, government policy is to do everything we can within the convention, within the boundaries of the convention. But if that doesn’t work, then we will have to consider all options.”
An intervention by the European court contributed to the grounding of the first flight under the Government’s policy of sending asylum seekers to Rwanda.
In her main conference speech, Braverman said migrants crossing the Channel will face a ban from claiming asylum in Britain.
The new laws – which go further than the Nationality and Borders Act which came into force in June – will impose a blanket ban on anyone deemed entering the UK illegally from seeking refuge.
The announcement marks the latest attempt by the Government to curb the growing numbers of Channel crossings after its flagship policy to send migrants on a one-way trip to Rwanda stalled amid the legal challenges.
So far this year more than 33,500 people have arrived in the UK after making the journey from France.
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