Can Labour repair the United Kingdom’s fragmented asylum system?

One of the challenges facing Prime Minister Keir Starmer's Labour government is reforming a costly and dysfunctional asylum system. Rob McNeil, deputy director of the Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford, spoke to FRANCE 24 on the new government’s possible next steps to address record levels of irregular migration and a growing backlog of asylum claims.

Britain’s Labour Party officially came to power on Friday after 14 years in opposition. Now that it has the reins of government, Labour will have to pick up the pieces of a broken asylum system, including the Conservative Party’s controversial Rwanda policy.

Labour campaigned on the promise that it would put an end to the scheme, which called for sending asylum seekers to Rwanda, where they would file their claims for admittance to the UK. The policy created a new and growing backlog of asylum claims after being deemed unlawful by the United Kingdom’s Supreme Court. Close to 120,000 people are meanwhile waiting for an initial decision on their asylum claims – three times the number in 2019, according to an analysis of Home Office figures by the Migration Observatory.

While Conservative supporters say immigration is their top priority, the Labour electorate places the issue fifth. Could this translate to more flexible and humane measures on immigration in the future?

On the other hand, could parties on the right – like Reform UK – push Labour to adopt more draconian policies?

Read more on FRANCE 24 English

Read also:
At least five migrants die attempting to cross Channel for UK
Number of asylum seekers crossing Channel since January tops 10,000, UK says
UK sends first asylum seeker to Rwanda under voluntary deportation scheme