In December, the Prime Minister announced that he would introduce emergency legislation, supported by a legally binding treaty, to finally get flights to Rwanda off the ground and tackle Channel boat crossings.

At the time, I wrote a blog post which explained why I believed that to be so important:

“Our community in Wycombe is a shining example in our country of the benefits that can be gained when people bring their passions and talents to our country from overseas. It is a source of great personal pride to represent a place as strong in its genuine diversity and unity as Wycombe.

“Amongst other things, local people are united by their humanity and respect for the law. Ministers have made clear they will stop the illegal crossings of the English Channel that put so many lives at risk and prosper criminal gangs. For too long, organised human trafficking rings have been tragically imperilling lives at sea, making great profits by sending people across dangerous waters in often terribly unseaworthy vessels. Not only that, illegal crossings on small boats disadvantage those who wish to enter the UK legally, and at great cost to the taxpayer too.”

You can read the rest of that blog here:

As I continue to speak to people across our town and the surrounding areas, the sentiment appears evermore resolute: these illegal crossings must be stopped, and lives must be saved.

The Government have made some good progress to this end, reducing the number of small boat arrivals by a third in 2023. In 2023, the Government prevented 26,000 crossing attempts, saw the small boats deal with Albania lead to a 90 per cent fall in crossings, and cleared the asylum legacy backlog.

But this is not enough – for as long as this route to the UK is viable, human trafficking gangs will continue to enrich themselves by putting lives at risk at sea.

There must be a deterrent, and this is why Rwanda matters. The only way to stop the boats is to remove the incentive to take the journey over the Channel illegally. That is why the Government has legislated to make clear that if you come here illegally, you will not be allowed to stay.

After months of delay, on Monday evening, the House of Commons sat late into the night to pass the final stages of the Government’s Safety of Rwanda Bill. Once the Bill receives Royal Assent, the Prime Minister has said the final steps of the process will be completed, and that the first flight will take off in 10-12 weeks.

The Government is fully prepared to get started. The Home Office has dedicated 200 of their best caseworkers solely to the process of removals to Rwanda. They have also increased detention capacity, made available 25 courtrooms and 5,000 sitting days for any legal cases, put an airfield on standby, booked commercial charter planes, trained 500 escorts with 300 more trained in the coming weeks, and made provisions so that Rwanda is similarly prepared.

Despite the urgent need to break the business model of the human trafficking gangs and save lives, the Government’s efforts at every turn have been thwarted by the Labour Party.

I am pleased to see the Government take strong action to stop the boats and, ultimately, to save lives. I look forward to the day when we no longer fear the news that another life has been lost on an illegal small boat crossing.

If you would like to get in touch with me, please email: If you would like my help with a particularly urgent issue, please phone my constituency office on 01494 448408.

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