Home » Rishi Sunak Warns of Migrant Threat ‘overwhelming’ European Countries as UK and Italy Agree to Fund Tunisia Plan
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Rishi Sunak Warns of Migrant Threat ‘overwhelming’ European Countries as UK and Italy Agree to Fund Tunisia Plan

Prime Minister Rishi Suank issued a stark warning about the threats posed by illegal migration to a gathering of Italian conservatives and right-wing politicians.

He suggested that changes to global refugee rules may be required.

During the day trip to Rome, Mr Sunak met Italy’s prime minister, Giorgia Meloni, and held talks with Albania’s Prime Minister Edi Rama, another ally in their efforts to crack down on illegal migration.

After the talks, Mr Sunak and Ms Meloni had agreed to co-fund a project which would see both of their countries “promote and assist the voluntary return” of migrants currently stuck in Tunisia, according to Number 10.

In a statement, Downing Street said that Mr Sunak, Ms Meloni and Mr Rama “agreed on the vital importance of tackling the scourge of illegal migration and the shared sense of urgency that they feel on this issue.

“They agreed that innovative structural solutions, like the UK’s Rwanda policy, were necessary to break the model of people smugglers and regain control of movement into and across Europe.”

Tunisia neighbours Italy across the Mediterranean, attracting many migrants from several African countries who begin their journey to Europe there.

In a speech at the Atreju event, organised by Ms Meloni’s Brothers of Italy Party, Mr Sunak said radical solutions, such as his Rwanda plan, were needed to protect countries’ borders.

In his speech, Mr Sunak said that “enemies” want to use migration as a “weapon”, and added: “If we do not tackle this problem, the numbers will only grow. It will overwhelm our countries and our capacity to help those who actually need our help the most.

“If that requires us to update our laws and lead an international conversation to amend the post-war frameworks around asylum, then we must do that.

“Because if we don’t fix this problem now, the boats will keep coming and more lives will be lost at sea.”

Stopping small boat crossings in the Channel is one of the prime minister’s main priorities. Some 292 people made the crossing in seven boats on Friday, according to Home Office figures published on Saturday.

It was confirmed a migrant died and another was left in a critical condition during an incident on Friday.

The speech came in a week in which Mr Sunak moved a step forward in his efforts to revive the Rwanda scheme, declared unlawful by the Supreme Court.

Shadow immigration minister Stephen Kinnock said it was “not too late” for the prime minister to ditch the Rwanda plan.

He said: “After a week in which the Prime Minister has failed to convince many of his own backbenchers that he has a workable plan to end dangerous boat crossings, we hit a new grim milestone – far from stopping the boats, on Rishi Sunak’s watch this year 600 boats have crossed.

“It’s not too late to change direction.”

This comes as hardliners from the Tory right are pushing the Conservative leader to block interference from the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) and the UN Refugee Convention amid efforts to stop Channel crossings.

The British Prime Minister also gave warm praise to his Italian counterpart, as Downing Street confirmed that the UK would join her “Rome Process” alliance of Mediterranean, Middle East and Africa countries aimed at tackling the root causes of migration.

The two then embraced as Mr Suank left the stage, to loud applause from the audience.

Commenting on their shared admiration for Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, he said: “I can only guess what first attracted Giorgia to the strong female leader who was prepared to challenge the consensus, take on stale thinking and revive her country both domestically and on the international stage.”

He said that Baroness Thatcher’s “radicalism and drive” had to be applied to the issue of illegal migration, as he warned: “It is a fundamental tenet of sovereignty that it is us who should decide who comes to our countries and not criminal gangs.

“If we cannot deliver on that, our voters will lose patience with us and the way in which their countries are run and rightly so.”

Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk was among those at the Atreju event, which has been attended by former Donald Trump ally Steve Bannon and Hungary’s prime minister, Viktor Orban in the past.

Source: LBC