by John Redwood
Yesterday the Commons completed its work on the new Immigration Bill. This Bill amongst other matters makes provision for the faster removal of illegal migrants from the UK. It strengthens the provisions against rogue landlords who rent out property to illegal migrants. It also makes clear to the courts and others that anyone who claims asylum and is refused needs to leave the country promptly.
One of the main points I have made in public and private to the government concerning Syria and terrorism is the need for stronger and more effective border checks and controls on potential terrorist seeking entry or seeking to return to our country after undergoing training in violence and radical extremism. The events in Paris have made many people ask are we safe enough? What more can be done to secure our borders and find the terrorists within our own society before they do us harm?
The government assures me the extra money,staff and intelligence they plan will be used to good effect. The aim must be to have better intelligence about those who do go to extremist training grounds or who go off to fight in Middle East civil wars, and to make sure they cannot come back here to harm us. If we and our allies are prepared to kill them by aerial bombardment in Iraq and Syria we must be prepared to take strong peaceful enforcement against them if they seek to enter our country. The border force needs to question and if necessary detain whilst making further enquiries those who arouse suspicions.
The government has now published its motion on the action they wish to take in Syria. It is very circumscribed, following the strong opposition in Parliament to a US/UK led war along the lines of Iraq and Afghanistan. The motion rules out troops on the ground in combat operations. It “acknowledges the importance of seeking to avoid civilian casualties”. The government will be under further pressure today to spell out the nature of the land forces available locally to undertake effective operations against ISIL, and to say how it can gather intelligence, locate targets and put sufficient pressure on ISIL.