Published On: Tue, May 30th, 2023
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Fury as Home Office staff could go on strike to thwart Rwanda plan and migrant bill | Politics | News

MPs have hit back at threats of potential action by Home Office and Border Force staff over the Government’s crackdown.

The Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union warned its members could walk out rather than implement the Rwanda plan or Illegal Migration Bill.

Head of bargaining Paul O’Connor said members have “no stomach” for carrying out the policies, which are aimed at curbing Channel crossings.

The union – which represents 16,000 Home Office and Border Force staff – has already joined legal action against the Rwanda scheme.

But Conservative MPs warned unions and civil servants against industrial action.

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Jonathan Gullis, a co-founder of the New Conservative Group, told the Express: “Some of these unelected civil servants need to clearly be reminded that their job is to enact the decisions of the democratically elected government of the day.

“If they don’t like it, they should grow a backbone, resign, and run for the Labour Party, who would cancel the Rwanda scheme, and continue to have an open border policy we know they love so dearly.”

Fellow Tory Brendan Clarke-Smith added: “Once again the militant PCS and their leaders are doing their best to thwart the will of the British public.

“Not content with wasting money on legal challenges they are now threatening to sabotage the plans.

“But like it or not, the Rwanda scheme is happening. To those who refuse to accept that, I say find another job. To those with more sense, I say save money by cancelling your union subs.”

The Illegal Migration Bill, which is currently going through the Lords, aims to ensure those who arrive in the UK without permission will be detained and promptly removed, either to their home country or a third country such as Rwanda.

The clampdown is part of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s “stop the boats” pledge which he has staked his premiership on.

A record 45,728 people crossed the English Channel to the UK on small boats in 2022, while more than 7,000 have been detected so far this year.

A Home Office spokesperson said: “Our staff work tirelessly to deliver ground-breaking policies, such as the Illegal Migration Bill.

“This will reform our immigration system and stop the boats, while still remaining party to the ECHR.

“We have always maintained that the UK and Rwanda Migration and Economic Development Partnership is lawful, including complying with the Refugee Convention, and last year the High Court upheld this.

“We stand ready to continue to defend the policy against legal challenge.”

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