Home Secretary Priti Patel has left her position. She leaped before she was pushed since it was anticipated that the next prime minister, Liz Truss, would succeed the ineffective Patel, with Suella Braverman, a former attorney general.
She has been dubbed the “worst home secretary in living memory” by her detractors. While charities and legal organisations accused Ms. Patel of adopting unsupported and “brutal” practises to garner media attention, Conservatives grew unhappy with her track record of making grand promises on immigration and crime but failing to deliver. Her three-year term, which was damaged by Boris Johnson’s decision to retain Ms. Patel as home secretary despite allegations that she violated the ministerial code by intimidating civil staff, has left the Home Office’s morale in ruins.
Let’s use Patel’s own standards to evaluate her. Her resignation letter included an entire section on immigration and asylum difficulties. We could only hope that the Home Secretary, who oversees national security, crime prevention, drug policy, and policing, wasn’t as narrow-minded as we were.
Small Boat Crossings Rocket Under Patel
In her letter, Patel calls for the end of unrestricted movement, regaining control over our borders, putting an end to abuses of the immigration and asylum systems, and taking a “strong but fair” stance. The control of the border, however, was so dramatically lost under Patel’s watch due to a sharp rise in the number of small boats navigating the English Channel. In 2018, hardly nobody used a small boat to cross the English Channel. According to the most recent data available, 3,000 migrants were entering the UK through that method on average each month by June 2022. Patel’s only response is to assert that she “examined” pushbacks at sea. These risky procedures weren’t carried out. She refers to channel intercepts by the military. The resource-intensive system, which some have referred to as a taxi service for refugees, is reportedly something the Navy is eager to put an end to.
Patel Fails with Rwanda Plans
The “world-first Migration and Economic Development Partnership” with Rwanda is mentioned by Patel. The act of signing a document is simple, but nobody has yet been sent to Rwanda. There are alleged new return agreements with Pakistan, India, Nigeria, Albania, and Serbia, with more reportedly in the works. However, the truth is that both forced and voluntary emigration are at historically low levels. Around 14,000 forced returns per year were made in total in 2010. It had already decreased by half, to slightly over 7,000, when Patel took office. The number was 2,761 by the year 2021. Despite all the rhetoric about how challenging it is for asylum seekers, 113 unsuccessful applicants were turned away in total in 2021. Patel proudly claims that approximately 12,000 foreign national offenders were deported under her administration. In fact, while the pandemic was unavoidable and inevitable, populations fell, scarcely recovering since. Compared to her predecessors, she oversaw deporting far fewer foreign national criminals.
Taking No Accountability
According to the departing home secretary, she “strengthened our country’s great record of providing sanctuary and protection to people in true need.” She ignores the 12,000 Afghans who are currently stranded in hotels because of the partial evacuation last summer, in which it appeared that animals were given priority over people. She neglects to mention the Ukrainian scheme’s painfully, humiliatingly delayed start, which was roundly denounced. She also makes no mention of the negative effects of her choice to continue requiring Ukrainian citizens to obtain visas, a practise that no other nation in Europe engages in. Within the department, which was already dysfunctional, resources had to be moved around. Families and other immigrants’ wait times to enter the UK have increased, the backlog in asylum claims grows, and Afghans are essentially left behind. Because of Patel’s poor choices, her department has been severely hampered.
Fails to Take Credit for Rare Successes
One of the few positive improvements that happened under Patel’s leadership is not something she takes credit for. Asylum claim success rates reached previously unheard-of heights. According to the most recent statistics, 76% of initial asylum applications submitted to the Home Office were granted during the year that concluded in June 2022. Then, 50% more appeals against rejections were ultimately successful. Most of the people Patel wants to send to Rwanda after they cross the Channel in small boats are legitimate refugees. Real people in need are given sanctuary and refuge by the Home Office. Though extremely slow, the process is there. Refugees are compelled to rely on destitution-level asylum support while they wait years for a judgement, during which time they are unable to work. Both the refugees and the public purse suffer greatly from the delays. One favour Patel bestows on her successor is an exorbitant backlog of asylum petitions that increased from 48,000 when Patel assumed leadership to 123,000 as of her departure.
Patel Takes One Last Jab Against Critics
Finally, Patel spends time mocking “our political opponents, and left-wing activists, attorneys, and campaigners who have fought to prevent these policies.” She charges them with supporting terrorists, criminals, people traffickers, and other bad actors. Her speech has an unmistakably fascist tone, but what really sticks out is her complete lack of self-awareness. The asylum system’s demise and the de facto abandonment of coercive removals and voluntary departures have not been their responsibility. It’s her. She is unable to acknowledge the Windrush scam, as is typical of Patel. The compensation plan was flawed, numerous victims passed away while waiting, and the hostile environment legislation review that was supposed to happen never happened. The Wendy Williams reports seem to be doing nothing except collecting dust.
Recently, Nichola Kelly made known that Patel had a list of roughly twenty purported “priorities” written on a whiteboard in her office. If you believe that you have twenty priorities, there are none. As far as we can tell, Priti Patel had no big ideas about how to do things differently or better; she didn’t really have any goals for her time in office. She was successful there.
Tahir Shahab Khan
Managing Director of Law Lane Solicitors