Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is prioritising stability and unity, but on rights, immigration and the rule of law, the signs are that this Government’s direction of travel is similar to that taken by the preceding Johnson administration.

Return of the Bill of Rights Bill?

  • Dominic Raab’s appointment as Lord Chancellor means a reprisal of the Bill of Rights Bill is not out of the question.
  • During his summer campaign against Liz Truss, Rishi Sunak told Andrew Neill: “we clearly have a problem with human rights law in this country” and warned that Strasbourg “cannot inhibit our ability to properly control our borders.”
  • Following the June ruling on the Rwanda flights, when asked about withdrawal from the European Court of Human Rights, he said: “all options are on the table.”

More Judicial Review reform?

  • On judicial review, Rishi Sunak said in a campaign press release: “Repeated vexatious Judicial Reviews by political campaigners are clogging up the courts, costing us a fortune and acting as a drag on the government delivering for the public. So if I’m Prime Minister, I’ll call time on campaigners politicising our courts.”
  • A leaked to the Guardian in August suggested that (then and current) Lord Chancellor Dominic Raab has developed plans to further restriction judicial review.

Immigration – expanding Rwanda?

Suella Braverman’s return as Home Secretary is significant, and their choice of language in recent days has attracted attention and criticism. The Home Secretary’s position will likely chime well with the 10-point immigration campaign plan published by Rishi Sunak in July, which included:

  • Doing whatever it takes to get our partnership with Rwanda off the ground and operating at scale and pursuing other migration partnerships.
  • Enhanced powers to detain, tag, and monitor illegal migrants.

Rishi Sunak also promised to:

  • Double the number of foreign offenders who are deported
  • Introduce a ‘three strikes and you’re out’ rule
  • Halve the length of sentence for eligibility for deportation from 12 to 6 months

How much will actually change?

An obvious lesson from Liz Truss’ premiership must be that campaign promises cannot always translate into workable policy. And, as there was no actual campaign this time around, many of the promises we have to go on were made months ago in a different race.

But it is fair to say that what we see so far does not bode well for rights, immigration or accountability.

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