QUENTIN LETTS: Rishi Sunak’s eyes blazed like hot coals as he thundered… ‘We are a reasonable government, a reasonable country but the British people’s patience can only be stretched so thin’
At last, ice-blue anger from this Prime Minister.
He’s slow to rage, Rishi Sunak, but there was a cold curtness about him when he gave a news conference about the Supreme Court’s latest extraordinary interdiction of the public will.
‘Let me tell everyone now,’ he snarled, ‘I will not allow a foreign court to block these flights.’ He was referring not to the Supreme Court – does being on another planet count as ‘foreign’? – but to judges in Strasbourg, home of the European Court of Human Rights.
They stopped Rwanda flights from leaving British soil.
‘We are a reasonable government, a reasonable country, but the British people’s patience can only be stretched so thin,’ thundered the PM. ‘They expect the boats to be stopped.’
He almost spat the words. Those dark eyes, normally gooey, blazed like two lumps of hot coal. Not that we’re allowed coal any more. Bloody activists even stopped that.
‘STOP THE BOATS’ read the slogan on his lectern. Emergency legislation was going to be introduced. A special treaty was being speed-drafted.
There was a cold curtness about Rishi Sunak when he gave a news conference about the Supreme Court ‘s latest extraordinary interdiction of the public will
Rishi signalled that if the Europeans continued to play silly beggars, he might yank us out of the European Convention on Human Rights altogether. We’ll believe that when it happens but there was no mistaking his energy.
‘Farce’, he said. ‘Unfairness’. ‘Exploiting our generosity.’ He was describing the paralysis imposed on our immigration controls by legal interventions.
Worst of all, said the PM, ‘innocent people are dying’. And now that will continue many months more, thanks to lawyers who profess to be humanitarians.
The judgment had come some six hours earlier at the Supreme Court. You should have seen the smirks in courtroom one as Lord Reed’s windy judgment eventually became clear.
A young barrister at the front laughed, shook his head and buried his brow in his arms.
In front of me a man with sparse English turned in puzzlement to his ponytailed male adviser. The latter responded with a pumped fist and vigorous nodding.
Feel free to stay in our country, my friend. Help yourself to the hotel buffet.
The judiciary’s lordliest old boobies had sided with UN campaigners rather than their own country’s ministers.
Lord Reed and chums unanimously swallowed complaints about Rwanda from UN officials. How one ached to shout that the UN itself sends refugees to Rwanda – a point Mr Sunak would make at his press conference.
Alas, heckling is not permitted in courtrooms. A little what-for might do the naive nincompoops some good.
The courtroom, an Edwardian baronial hall, had portraits of the Duke of Wellington and John Fielding, a blind 18th century magistrate.
An antique clock ticked on the wall. Lord Pannick, the Government’s top-price lawyer, admired his tummy.
There were countless robed orderlies and high-backed swivel chairs for the judges, Milords Reed, Hodge and Lloyd-Jones. Three buzzards on a gibbet.
Reed, whose career as a bingo caller is a work in progress, crawled through his long statement. ‘The court is not concerned with political debate,’ he claimed. Good one! The Strasbourg lot sometimes say that, too.
‘They expect the boats to be stopped’: Sunak almost spat out the words. Those dark eyes, normally gooey, blazed like two lumps of hot coal
The strategy is aimed at deterring migrants from crossing the English Channel on small boats (File Photo)
Outside the court a screaming scrum of anti-Tory protesters, some of them full-time agitators, created a racket.
At PMQs in the Commons, Mr Sunak tried to claim that the judgment wasn’t entirely negative but Labour’s delight suggested otherwise.
The only thing that saved the PM from a complete mauling was Sir Keir Starmer’s customary ineptitude.
Suella Braverman was absent when her successor, James Cleverly, made a statement about the legal thunderbolt. Cleverly could do with talking less but MPs on all sides seemed relieved Suella had gone.
Mr Cleverly was more skilful than his Labour shadow, the blisteringly jagged Yvette Cooper. At one point he winked at Chris Bryant (Lab, Rhondda). You don’t want to do that too often.
The new Home Secretary’s charm will do the Government no harm. But nothing felt more refreshing than Rishi’s angry shard of ice.
Maybe this outrage will be the making of him.
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