Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick has been roundly condemned over a plan to send lawyers to prison for life if they are deemed to have been “coaching” migrants on how to “abuse the immigration system”.
In a statement to the House of Commons, he said lawyers charged with “assisting unlawful immigration to the UK” could face sentences on a par with or even longer than those convicted for fraud, causing death by dangerous driving or sexually assaulting a child under 13.
The announcement follows a Daily Mail investigation in August that claimed solicitors had agreed to help an undercover journalist posing as an economic migrant submit a false application in exchange for thousands of pounds.
In August, the Ministry of Justice and Home Office jointly introduced the Professional Enablers Taskforce to crackdown on “crooked” immigration lawyers who “coach illegal migrants to lie”.
His statement has led to harsh criticism for Jenrick. Here’s a video clip of him making it, and a comment by Unite’s Howard Beckett that he is “normalising fascism”:
When the establishment threatens lawyers with life for ‘coaching’ a migrant, you know they are normalising fascism.
Meanwhile MPs who imprison migrants on disease ridden barges & ignore international law. They get a pass.
— Howard Beckett (@BeckettUnite) September 5, 2023
“Not content enough with banning Mickey Mouse paintings from children’s asylum centres, Jenrick now proposes life in prison for lawyers defending human rights,” posted Rosena Allin-Khan – who now has plenty of time for this sort of thing, after Keir Starmer did away with her shadow mental health portfolio.
“This should terrify all of us,” added Peter Stefanovic of the CWU. “When this rotten to the core bunch of truth twisters are not robbing millions of workers of their democratic right to strike & stripping back our right to protest they are preparing to imprison human rights lawyers for life.”
Jolyon Maugham of the Good Law Project injected the prospect of sanity: “More likely that no lawyer will ever be convicted than that a lawyer will be imprisoned for life. Even so. This splenetic fury, these wild threats, speak of what the Tories have become.”
It’s just another day in the office for Jenrick, of course.
His last appearance of any note in the news was in April, when he was banned from driving for six months and fined more than £1,600 after he was caught breaking the speed limit on the M1, following an appearance on the BBC’s Any Questions.
The Tory MP for Newark was recorded driving his Land Rover at 68mph in a temporary 40mph zone on the M1 southbound in Northamptonshire on August 5 last year, after appearing on the radio show at Wakefield Cathedral in West Yorkshire.
He was fined £1,107 and ordered to pay a £442 victim surcharge and £90 in costs, the Courts and Tribunals Service centre said. You can form your own value judgement about the difference between this and the fine penalty he’s slapping on lawyers.
And he’s habitual: In March last year Jenrick was fined £307 and handed three penalty points for breaking a 40mph speed limit on the A40 in west London in August 2021.
Jenrick is best-known for fiddling an inner-London development in order to deprive the local council of a huge fee.
Not only did he override both the local planning authority and the Independent Planning Inspectorate to grant planning permission for Richard Desmond’s controversial Westferry development, despite it having been found not to meet acceptable planning standards…
… but he did it to allow the developer to avoid paying a £45 million levy to Tower Hamlets Council that he had decided should not apply – and then used that as his reason for granting the application.
Text messages between Desmond and Jenrick show the former Express newspaper owner and pornographer pressured the minister to grant planning permission, saying: “We don’t want to give Marxists loads of doe [sic] for nothing!”
Jenrick also broke Covid-19 lockdown rules to travel between his three homes – and then insisted that young people should adhere to restrictions, even though there was no evidence to suggest they did not.
And he corruptly induced a fellow MP to approve a grant for his constituency totalling £237 per person recently – but negotiated Covid-19 support for the people of Manchester down to £7.95 per person.
So it seems, in a comparison between Jenrick and any lawyer he wants to convict, it is the government minister who would appear to be the most crooked.
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