Sir Keir Starmer, the leader of the Labour Party, is set to launch a comprehensive strategy aimed at addressing illegal immigration and reinforcing border security. In an effort to position Labour as the party committed to controlling illegal migration, Sir Keir will outline his plans to crack down on criminal gangs involved in smuggling people into the UK. This move comes as a response to recent developments in immigration policy and aims to send a strong message to the Conservative government regarding Labour’s readiness to tackle this pressing issue.
A Meeting with EU Law Agency Europol
Sir Keir Starmer’s initiative will kick off with a crucial meeting at the Hague on Wednesday. He will convene with officials from the European law enforcement agency Europol to discuss how a Labour government would take decisive action against smuggling gangs. This collaborative approach seeks to address the transnational nature of illegal immigration and enhance international cooperation in combatting it.
A Global Perspective
Following his meeting at Europol, Sir Keir will attend a conference of center-left leaders in Montreal on Friday. During this gathering, he will advocate for a balanced discourse on immigration and stress the importance of not allowing right-wing parties to monopolize the issue. By doing so, he aims to underscore Labour’s commitment to addressing illegal immigration in a responsible and effective manner.
Challenging the Conservative Agenda
Sir Keir Starmer’s overarching objective is to issue a warning to the Conservative Party. This move comes as the government’s approach, symbolized by Rishi Sunak’s “stop the boats” plan, faces challenges. Labour believes that focusing on dismantling criminal smuggling operations is the key to resolving the issue rather than relying on what they term “noisy issues” and gimmicks.
A Labour source emphasized, “If you want to solve the problem, the thing to do is smash the gangs. Instead, the government focuses on all these noisy issues. It’s constant gimmicks.”
Immigration as a Central Issue
Labor views immigration as a central issue that demands attention rather than a distraction from core concerns. They believe it’s essential to have strong borders and that this perspective is in line with progressive values. Sir Keir Starmer’s extensive experience as the former Director of Public Prosecutions equips him to tackle these smuggling networks effectively.
This move by Sir Keir Starmer follows Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s recent efforts to garner European support for deportation policies reminiscent of those implemented in Rwanda. The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, also discussed shared interests in tackling illegal migration with his Italian counterpart, Giorgia Meloni, at the G20 summit in India. However, Labour has accused the government of falling short of its promise to “stop the boats,” as statistics indicate a high number of channel crossings in September.
Sir Keir’s Proposed Plan
During his visit to Europol, Sir Keir Starmer is expected to outline several key components of his strategy:
- Establishing a specialized cross-border unit within the National Crime Agency (NCA), financed by discontinuing the “unworkable” Rwanda deportation scheme.
- Deploying elite officers to international hotspots to disrupt the supply chain of people smugglers.
- Allocating resources to hire more caseworkers to reduce the costly backlog of asylum claims.
Sir Keir intends to draw upon his experience as Britain’s former top prosecutor to highlight perceived government shortcomings in addressing the issue of illegal immigration.