Brexit 2.0? Farage Calls for Referendum on UK’s Membership in Deportation-Blocking European Court

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Brexit leader Nigel Farage argues the British people should be called upon again to decide whether the United Kingdom remains under the jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) or fully take back control over its borders.

In light of the refusal by successive Conservative governments in Westminster to remove the UK from the bounds of the Strasbourg Court — despite compelling arguments made at the time, that it should have been discarded with the European Union — a referendum should be held now, Nigel Farage said. The vote would allow the people of Britain to decide whether judges in France have any say over the deportation of migrants or other issues, he remarked this week during a discussion with subscribers of The Telegraph newspaper.

“A referendum that would be useful would be a referendum on the ECHR and whether we should continue to allow a court in Strasbourg” to have a say over British policy, Mr Farage said.

The Brexit leader said that while he implored figures such as former Prime Minister Boris Johnson to include leaving the ECHR as a part of the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union back then, he said Johnson had “no interest” in doing so.

Although the 2016 referendum resulted in the UK leaving the EU in 2020, Johnson decided to remain within the Council of Europe and therefore under the jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights. Both institutions are technically separate from the EU, despite sharing much of the same agenda, and even having the same anthem and flag as the EU. The ECHR is also located on the same campus as the European Union Parliament in Strasbourg, France.

The decision by Johnson’s government to remain within the ECHR framework has had serious ramifications on UK immigration policy. Despite the Brexit promise of “taking back control” over the nation’s borders, judges in Strasbourg intervened at the last minute in June of 2022 to prevent a migrant removal flight to Rwanda, throwing the central illegal boat migrant deterrence policy into chaos and precipitating in years of delays — which are still ongoing — to the plan of sending illegals to asylum processing centres in the East African nation.

A legislative fix intended to allow the policy to get off the ground is expected to finally be cleared by the House of Commons this Spring, critics of the bill, such as former Home Secretary Suella Braverman and former Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick have warned that with the ECHR may once again stymie efforts to remove illegals from the country.

Earlier this month, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said for the first time that he would consider leaving the Strasbourg Court if it attempts to block removal flights to Rwanda again.

“I believe that our scheme, including the Rwanda part of it, all our plans to tackle illegal migration, are compliant with all of our international obligations, including the ECHR.

“But I do believe that border security and making sure that we can control illegal migration is more important than membership of a foreign court because it’s fundamental to our sovereignty as a country,” Sunak told The Sun’s Never Mind the Ballots television programme.

The decision may become a central issue heading into the general election, which is expected to be held later this year and in which Sunak’s Tories currently trail the left-wing Labour Party by more than 20 points. Sunak and his supporters are hoping that if the government can show the public that it is actually removing illegals to Rwanda, they may be able to turn the tables and reclaim the support of disaffected Red Wall voters who have abandoned the party in large part to failures to deliver on Brexit promises on migration.

However, Sunak reportedly faces the prospect of a revolt from within his own government if he attempts to break with the court, including from his powerful globalist Chancellor Jeremy Hunt. According to a report from The Times of London, those in opposition to leaving the European court within Sunak’s cabinet outnumber those in favour of leaving by two to one over concerns it may endanger the post-Brexit trade agreement with the EU, despite the claimed independence of the ECHR.

Nigel Farage has also questioned if Sunak will hold to his word of leaving the European Court of Human Rights.

“I don’t believe a single word of it. I haven’t believed a single word Sunak or any of his predecessors have said on stopping illegal immigration,” Farage said.

Despite Sunak’s attempts to claim that his government played a role in the slight reduction in illegal crossings of the English Channel last year — which were more likely a result of poor weather — boat migration has once again begun to surge, with the current rate on pace for another record-setting year, with a new high of 5,435 illegal crossings being recorded during the first three months of the year.

The continued failures to fulfil his pledge to “stop the boats” has seen confidence decline in Sunak’s government to such a degree that more voters now have more faith in the Reform party on immigration issues; a shift that is likely to cement predictions of the Tories heading towards a historic election defeat.

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