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Former minister criticises ‘farcical’ asylum system after Clapham attack

Former immigration minister Robert Jenrick has called for stronger border controls following the “farce” which he says allowed asylum-seeker Abdul Shokoor Ezedi to remain in the country before allegedly committing the Clapham chemical attack.

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, the Conservative MP for Newark says the case was a “damning indictment” of the country’s asylum system which he says allowed Afghan Ezedi to remain in the country on the “wafer-thin” claim of having converted to Christianity which would have put him under threat in his own country.

He wrote: “Information is still emerging, but this case already raises serious questions for everyone in positions of authority. Why was Abdul Shokoor Ezedi, the lead suspect, not prevented from entering illegally in the first place back in 2016?

“Why was he not instantly removed after he committed sexual assault, as per Home Office guidance? And why did an immigration judge ultimately grant him asylum on a wafer-thin claim and despite the Home Office’s repeated protestations?

“At each stage, the asylum system privileged the rights of an illegal immigrant, who committed serious crimes, over the fundamental right of the British public to feel safe and secure in their communities.”

Mr Jenrick, who resigned from his ministerial position out of protest at the Prime Minister’s handling of the Rwanda policy, added: “Immigration judges should be applying forensic scrutiny to asylum claims relying on a damascene religious conversion, given that this widespread tactic is straight from the people smugglers’ playbook.

“Until they shed their naivety and cautiousness, our grant rate will remain offensively high.”

Mr Jenrick goes on to suggest that illegal immigration has brought with it increased crime rates, particularly around Albanian drug gangs.

He added: “The lesson is to legislate for human nature, not a well-meaning but naive assumption of good faith. Strong border control is not cruel – as we keep seeing time after time, it’s a prerequisite of a safe society.

“This case can be a watershed moment. Either you want this tragic farce to end, and are willing to pursue the tough measure necessary, or you don’t. I know what side I’m on.”