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‘Deep concern’ over Cleverly comments as Braverman’s ideas on net migration linger within cabinet | Politics News

If the Conservatives thought the autumn statement would bring the party a much needed boost – announcing cuts to national insurance and business taxes – some very big numbers were lurking just around the corner that would ruin the party.

The very next day, the Office for National Statistics released figures that showed net migration has hit a record-high of 1.3 million in the last couple of years.

For the Conservatives, it brought back a thorny, divisive issue and plunged the party into fighting factions once again.

The migration figures came as a surprise, even at the heart of government, and followed the Supreme Court’s ruling a week earlier that the government’s controversial migration plan – the Rwanda policy – was unlawful.

Now in an interview with The Times, Home Secretary James Cleverly warned people not to “fixate” on the Rwanda migration scheme, adding that he has become “frustrated” with the heavy focus on the issue, and that it should not be seen as the “be all and end all”.

It is seen as a marked change in tone to that of his predecessor Suella Braverman whose hard line on migration made her a favourite with those on the right of the party.

And even though she is gone, many MPs believe her ideas and policies live on in the Home Office.

One Conservative source said: “The comments made by the new home secretary are deeply concerning for anyone who cares about immigration control.

“He seems incredibly blasé about net migration numbers that are unprecedented in their scale and a source of serious concern for millions of voters.

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UK migration: What the numbers tell us

“The reason why many of us focus on the Rwanda scheme is because it’s our main deterrent to illegal migration. Without a significant deterrent like the Rwanda scheme we simply cannot realistically hope to make major inroads in stopping the boats.”

Barry Legg, chairman of the Eurosceptic think tank The Bruges Group, said the government has to press ahead with the Rwanda plan.

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He told Sky News: “It’s got to be an effective plan. We can’t back away from the Rwanda policy. It will be seen as a total U-turn and will undermine any Conservative policies that are put forward on immigration.”

Jonathan Gullis MP, a former schoolteacher who won Stoke-on-Trent North for the Tories for the first time in the seat’s 70-year history, said: “The home secretary and I were elected on a manifesto to cut migration.

“We made a promise to the British people to stop the boats. He would be wise to remember this, and like the prime minister, he should leave all options on the table and be willing to do whatever it takes to take back control of our borders.”

Backlash within cabinet

Mr Cleverly’s comments also appear to have caused a backlash within the cabinet.

Robert Jenrick, immigration minister, is now openly pushing for the kind of immigration restrictions favoured by Ms Braverman – such as increasing the salary cap for those coming into the UK and placing restrictions on the number of health and care workers who can work in Britain.

But this could be a double-edged sword.

Any future migration policy must find the right balance between controlling immigration without harming the economy.

The health and social care system relies heavily on workers coming to work in the UK and restrictions could plunge vital services into chaos.

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PM on Rwanda: ‘I will take them on’

Within hours of the Supreme Court ruling, Rishi Sunak said the government would introduce emergency legislation to confirm that Rwanda was safe – and the UK was working on a new treaty.

A Downing Street source told Sky News: “The PM has been crystal clear he’ll do what it takes to get flights off to Rwanda as a key part of his ten point plan to stop the boats.

“He’s determined to make the Rwanda plan work so that people coming here illegally know they cannot stay.”

Former top aide of Queen Elizabeth II to lead new memorial committee – with public asked to submit their ideas | UK News

A former top aide to Queen Elizabeth II is to lead a new committee looking at ways to commemorate the life and service of Britain’s longest-reigning monarch.

Lord Robin Janvrin, who served as private secretary to the sovereign from 1999 to 2007, will chair the newly established Queen Elizabeth Memorial Committee.

The committee will put forward proposals for a permanent memorial for the former monarch, as well as a national legacy programme.

The ideas will centre around Queen Elizabeth II’s public service across her 70-year reign, as well as the causes she supported.

The committee will also engage with the public to bring in ideas and suggestions from across the UK.

Lord Robin Janvrin makes a speech before a Platinum Jubilee beacon is lit at Coutts bank in central London, on day one of the Platinum Jubilee celebrations. Over 3,000 towns, villages and cities throughout the UK, Channel Islands, Isle of Man and UK Oversea Territories, and each of the capital cities of Commonwealth countries are lighting beacons to mark the Jubilee. Picture date: Thursday June 2, 2022.
Lord Robin Janvrin. File pic

Previous royal memorials include the statue of King George V opposite the Houses of Parliament and the memorial statue of King George VI on The Mall.

National legacy programmes for previous monarchs include the creation and protection of 506 parks, playing fields and green spaces in honour of King George V, and a bursary for youth leadership training to mark the life of King George VI.

The plans will be unveiled to coincide with what would have been Her Late Majesty’s hundredth birthday year in 2026.

Read more:
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The committee will be jointly supported by the Royal Household and the UK government – which will consider funding options as proposals develop.

A range of senior figures and experts will be appointed to develop ideas and bring recommendations to The King and the prime minister.

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Why Meghan and Harry ‘won’t return to the UK’

Lord Janvrin said: “It is an honour to be asked to chair the Queen Elizabeth Memorial Committee.

“It will be a unique challenge to try to capture for future generations Her Late Majesty’s extraordinary contribution to our national life throughout her very long reign”

Who is Lord Janvrin?

A former Royal Navy officer and later a diplomat, Robin Janvrin is best known for his two decades of service to the Royal Household.

He first joined as the Queen’s press secretary in 1987, later taking on the role of assistant private secretary and then deputy private secretary.

In February 1999, he stepped up to the position of the Queen’s private secretary – the keeper of the sovereign’s official programme and the chief line of communication between monarchs and the governments of the Commonwealth.

He stayed in the role until his retirement in September 2007, after which he was knighted and appointed a life peer.

Since leaving the Royal Household, Lord Janvrin has served as Chairman of the Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry, as a trustee of the National Portrait Gallery, and a trustee of the Gurkha Welfare Trust.

He stepped down from all three roles in 2016, but remains a member of the British Library Board, a trustee of the Normandy Memorial Trust and Secretary of the Order of Merit.

Lord Janvrin also sits as a crossbencher in the House of Lords.

Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden said: “Queen Elizabeth II was our longest reigning monarch and greatest public servant.

“Lord Janvrin will now begin the important work of designing a fitting tribute to her legacy of service to our nation and the Commonwealth.”