The government’s controversial immigration crackdown is “the will of the British people”, Suella Braverman has said.
The home secretary made the claim as she urged the House of Lords not to radically amend the Illegal Migration Bill when peers start debating it today.
Under the bill, ministers would be able to deport asylum seekers arriving in the UK by unauthorised means - such as in small boats across the Channel - to a “safe third country” such as Rwanda.
Writing in The Times with justice secretary Alex Chalk, Braverman insisted the government “will never shirk from our responsibility to help those in genuine need”.
They added: “We urge the House of Lords to look at the Illegal Migration Bill carefully, remember it is designed to meet the will of the British people in a humane and fair way and back the bill.”
However, opinion polling suggests that immigration trails behind the cost of living crisis and the NHS in the public’s list of priorities.
In a report last month, YouGov said a mega-poll of voters showed that 65% thought the economy was the most important issue facing the country, followed by 52% for health. Just 28% chose immigration and asylum.
YouGov associate director Patrick English said: “While immigration is certainly a concern for many of the exact types of voters the Conservatives are trying to move back into their column ahead of the next general election, concern over the economy is consistently the number one issue across the political battlefield.
“Further still, among those across the Red Wall and Blue Wall who do place immigration in their top priorities, there is very little faith in the Conservatives to deliver on it.
“As such, even if the Conservatives were able to score a victory on immigration and asylum, a Labour advantage on the issue of the economy would seem far more significant.”
The Archbishop of Canterbury - who has previously criticised the government’s Rwanda plan - is among those peers expected to criticise the bill in the House of Lords today.