James Cleverly jets off to Rwanda with vow to get the ‘stop the boats’ crackdown done

James Cleverly has taken off to Rwanda in his first visit to the African country as Home Secretary. After three turbulent weeks since he was appointed to replace the sacked Suella Braverman, Mr Cleverly is using the trip to emphasise that he will do what is necessary to “stop the boats”.

A source close to the Home secretary said: “The Home Secretary said at start he wanted to get things done not talk about getting things done. He’s getting things done!”

“And he commits to doing all the other things that are already working to stop the boats.”

It comes on the same day he unveiled a five-point plan to tackle legal migration, warning that the record numbers seen in the last two years with net migration at 1.4 million means that “enough is enough” on abuse of visas. The announcements earlier today were welcomed by Tory MPs on the Right and took ideas from the increasingly influential New Conservatives founded by Danny Kruger and Miriam Cates.

But with backbenchers already plotting to dethrone Rishi Sunak as leader, there was a warning that he would need to sort out illegal migration and “stop the boats” if he and the Prime Minister are to stave off a major rebellion.

Sources close to the Home Secretary have emphasised that he wants to strike a contrast with his predecessors and rely more on actions than rhetoric. Mrs Braverman made headlines a number of times with some of her comments, including describing “an invasion” of illegal migrants and calling and the anti-Israel demonstrations “hate marches”.

But after three weeks where he has been heavily criticised by Tory MPs and seen his ranking among Conservative members of Cabinet ministers drop from top to 17th in a month, Mr Cleverly hopes to show that he has taken a grip of a situation that has dogged the government since the 2019 election.

The Rwanda trip comes after he had upset Conservative MPs by using a Times interview to say they should not be “fixated” on the deportation flights as a solution. His aides were also forced to reject accusations that as Foreign Secretary he had blocked similar schemes with other countries.

The trip to Rwanda is intended to underline that he is committed to a scheme that Mr Sunak put at the heart of his plans to “stop the boats”.

Emergency legislation is expected within days to deal with the Supreme Court ruling that came just 48 hours after he was appointed and blocked the flights. Tory MPs, though, will be watching closely to see if he is willing to alter or end the UK’s relationship with the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR) and its “politicised” court in Strasbourg.


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