It is beginning to appear that Theresa May – the runaway favourite among her Westminster peers to become the next Prime Minister – is immune to criticism. How the Home Secretary has managed to manipulate the normally irrepressible media into filling page after page with Andrea Leadsom smears, subsequently diverting the country away from her very serious failings, is a mystery.
Fear not however, for we are here to highlight some of her more notable failings and provide some much needed critique of her time in charge of our security and borders.
Despite being elected on a manifesto pledging to return net immigration to the “tens of thousands”, Theresa May has overseen a Home Office that has failed to address both the increasingly rising EU and non-EU immigration figures.
In her speech at the autumn Conservative conference in October 2015, May acknowledged, “the numbers [of migrants] coming from Europe are unsustainable and the rules have to change.” She went further than many expected, claiming that, “when immigration is too high, it’s impossible to build a cohesive society. It’s difficult for schools and hospitals and core infrastructure like housing and transport to cope. Wages are forced down even further while some people are forced out of work altogether.”
A damning speech that led many to believe Theresa May would defy her Prime Minister’s wishes and campaign to leave the European Union. Inexplicably however, she opted to advocate a vote to Remain in an institution that prevents the UK from implementing a sustainable immigration policy and thus, addressing the very concerns highlighted in her speech.
Despite the increased terror threat following the Paris and Brussels attacks, the Home Secretary announced in April 2016 that an already dangerously underfunded and demoralised UK Border Force was to have its budget cut. When two people-smugglers’ vessels were found sinking off the Kent coast in May, it was revealed the Border Force had only three UKBF 42m Customs Cutters patrol vessels deployed in the English Channel. Contrast this with Italy, which has 600 vessels patrolling its coastline conducting search and rescue missions in the Mediterranean.
In January 2016, May cancelled a £4m aerial surveillance programme designed to stop migrants crossing the Channel into Britain to save money despite Baroness Neville-Jones, a former security minister and chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee, warning May that it was a risk to Britain’s border security.
Furthermore, her decision to allow small airfields in the UK to go unpatrolled – a haven for traffickers of people, drugs and arms – despite the reservations of the security services, is typical of her flagrant disregard for expert advice and highlights an audacity that is not just irresponsible but downright dangerous.
Law and Order
Since becoming Home Secretary in 2010, Theresa May has overseen an 18% cut in the police force budget. This has resulted in the loss of more than 17,000 police officers. During this time, there has been a 27% rise in violence against the person offences, 9% rise in knife offences and a 29% rise in sexual offences.
May’s either deliberate or negligent policies have had a devastating effect on police resource, resulting in not enough police officers, not enough cash to adequately conduct investigations and police morale hitting an all-time low.
In June 2012, May was found to be in contempt of court by Judge Barry Cotter QC, standing accused of “totally unacceptable and regrettable behaviour”. It was reported that she had shown complete disregard to a legal agreement to free an Algerian from a UK Immigration Detention Centre. She eventually allowed the prisoner to be freed, avoiding further sanctions.
During her tenure as Home Secretary, May refused to offer visas to all Afghan interpreters who served with the British forces in Afghanistan. A policy was introduced to allow some Afghan staff who worked with the British Army, however the criteria were severely limited and did not cover all interpreters who served with the British Army from 2006 onwards.
In April 2016, May came out strongly in support of leaving the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). However, last week during her candidacy speech she said she would not pursue withdrawal of the ECHR because it “is an issue that divides people” and there would be no Parliamentary majority for it.