10 March 2023
This week Rishi Sunak and Suella Braverman’s planned Illegal Immigration Bill has dominated the news agenda, overshadowing the Matt Hancock ‘Lockdown Files’ exposé. On this issue, the Met Police have acknowledged receipt of Gina Miller’s letter asking why they are not investigating Mr Hancock for gross negligent manslaughter, and we await their full response.
Under the Illegal Migration Bill – an ironic title given that the Home Secretary admits the Bill has a 50% chance of breaking the law and will ‘push the boundaries of international law' - those who arrive via small boats will have their claims ruled inadmissible. The Braverman plan has been criticised widely, notably by Ursula Von De Leyen. The political ineptitude of exercising common sense and pragmatism over Northern Ireland one week, then being on the cusp of breaking international law and being cavalier on human rights the next, illustrates the depth of their policy vacuum.
Whilst much of the criticism has focussed on the plan as inhumane, and also legally ambiguous, and Suella Braverman’s irresponsible right-wing rhetoric of millions ‘invading’, her plan is likely to be vastly expensive, unworkable and ineffective. As a reminder, to date, not a single flight has taken refugees from the UK to Rwanda, despite a cost of £140m (and counting) to the UK taxpayer.
Today Mr Sunak and his large entourage are in Paris. Only the Tories could have created a situation so dire that just speaking to our international neighbour is seen as progress. That Sunak is being portrayed as a diplomat by Tory standards just because he hasn’t referred to the French as a foe, shows they are no longer the party of Churchill and Macmillan, or even Major and Cameron.
We used to have summits with France on a yearly basis. The previous two PMs (Johnson, Truss) didn’t hold one between them - Francophobia was dressed as diplomacy at a time of maximum international risk, when Russia was preparing to attack Ukraine.
It is not obvious that there are any huge breakthroughs today. The new, £75m deal will include more French police patrolling the beaches and greater intelligence sharing - basically a replica of the £62m deal from February. There will be no discussion about return policies or anything like the Dublin scheme because these have to be discussed at EU level, not individual member state level.
Whilst we do need a robust, lawful, humane strategy to address the issue of the small boats, the government’s focus on this issue, rather than the cost of living, energy bills, strikes, inflation, food shortages, the NHS, and schools, is a callous diversionary tactic of the basest kind.
True & Fair’s position is clear – we need legal routes, investment in a proper immigration service, independent of the Border Force, and properly trained and remunerated staff.
International Women’s Day (IWD) 2023
On International Women’s Day Gina Miller took part in two events. One was hosted by the APPG for Compassion in Politics, where Gina was on the panel with Lord Putnam, Jennifer Nadel from Compassion In Politics, and Labour MP Debbie Abrahams. During the debate on ‘Honesty in Politics’, Gina said “If the public does not trust in our institutions, we do not have democracy. Worryingly, in our research, the only statistic of the population that is increasing is the group who declare that they will not vote."
On the Jeremy Kyle Wednesday evening show on Talk TV, Gina joined the show to talk about the top issues of the day, including a study by Women in Sport which reveals that 43% of teenage girls felt they were sporty at primary school, but no longer saw themselves that way in senior school. 68% said that ‘feeling judged’ prevented them from taking part and 61% ‘lacked confidence’. 78% said they avoided taking part in sports when ‘on their period’.
The other extremely worrying statistic published this IWD is that women are 27 times more likely to face online abuse than men. 97% of UK women aged 18-24 years old have been sexually harassed but 96% do not report it out of belief nothing will be done (UN Women UK). 1 in 4 young women aged 15-24 years old who have been in a relationship will have already experienced intimate partner violence by the time they reach their mid-twenties (Action Aid UK). And, over their lifetime, 1 in 3 women will face domestic violence.
A very disturbing development is cyber-flashing which involves perpetrators sending unwanted sexual images to strangers in public places, via data-sharing services such as Bluetooth or Airdrop.
On other gender-related issues, the UK gender pay gap for higher-educated parents has grown since the 1970s. New research found the ‘motherhood penalty’ is greater than 40 years ago, with mothers making 69% of fathers’ wages.
Addressing the causes of these terrifying statistics and proposing solutions is a very strong focus for the True & Fair Party, and serious work is being undertaken to increase equality, justice and fairness for women and girls.
A new report published to coincide with IWD, found the average cost of a full-time nursery place for a child under two had risen to nearly £15,000 a year. These high costs are freezing parents out of work according to the report by Coram Family and Childcare. It also found that fewer than one in five (18%) of local authorities in England report having enough childcare places for disabled children, down from 21% in 2022, with the average price of a childcare place for 25 hours a week now £150.89 in England.
True & Fair believes there has to be a much more community-focused, integrated educational approach to childcare and a new funding model, as a survey by the National Day Nurseries Association found that 98.4% of nurseries in England say their funding rates do not cover delivery costs. Our top-line policies in this area are here but there will be much more detail in our Manifesto to boost not just fairness for parents, but also allow working mums to both fulfil their aspirations and be an economic asset to our economy.
Budget Survey – Ahead of the Budget on 15 March, What Do We Want?
With one week until Chancellor Hunt announces his budget on 15 March, True & Fair is conducting this survey to find out what people would like to see in the budget. What are the financial and economic priorities you think the government should be addressing?
Please complete the survey here and please share widely.
True & Fair In the News
True & Fair leader was recently invited to appear on Newsnight, Andrew Pierce on GB News and Jeremy Kyle on Talk TV to discuss Brexit, Northern Ireland, The Windsor Framework, the Illegal Immigration Bill, and Sunak’s visit to Paris – amongst other news topics. Clips of these interviews can be found on our YouTube channel and at the links below.
Have a great weekend,
The True & Fair Team