Public lack confidence in Conservatives to ‘stop the boats’

Fintan SmithPolitical Research Executive
August 08, 2023, 9:32 AM GMT+0

More than eight in ten believe the government is handling immigration badly

One of Rishi Sunak’s pledges at the beginning of his premiership was to reduce the number of people arriving in small boats to seek asylum in the UK and remove those that do swiftly.

Home secretary Suella Braverman planned to deter people from making the journey with a deal to send those arriving by irregular means to seek asylum in the UK to Rwanda. But following several setbacks, how do the public think the government, and Suella Braverman are doing? A new YouGov poll takes a look.

Britons lack confidence that the government will reduce the number of asylum seekers arriving in small boats

Despite Rishi Sunak declaring that his ‘stop the boats’ plan is working, Britons remain unconvinced. Just one in eleven (9%) have confidence that the government will reduce the number of asylum seekers crossing the channel on small boats, including only 1% who feel “very” confident. Eight in ten are either not very confident (34%), or not at all confident (46%) that the government will be successful. This includes 80% of 2019 Conservative voters and 85% of 2019 Labour voters.

After a series of defeats in the House of Lords on their plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda, followed by a ruling from the Court of Appeal that the policy would be unlawful, Suella Braverman has remained committed to the Rwanda plan. But Britons lack faith that it’s ever going to happen, with three quarters (73%) believing it is unlikely this policy will go ahead, including 77% of Conservative voters and 74% of Labour voters. Just 12% overall believe any asylum seekers will ever be sent to Rwanda.

Britons tend to believe Suella Braverman is doing a bad job as home secretary

Suella Braverman remains one of the least popular politicians in the country, with a net favourability rating of -43.

When it comes to her job performance, around half (49%) of Britons believe Braverman is doing a bad job as home secretary, versus 13% who think she is doing well.

Though Conservative voters are most likely to believe she is doing a good job (29%), this group is still more likely to believe she is doing badly (49%). Seven in ten Labour voters (72%) believe her to be doing badly.

Britons believe the government are handling immigration and crime and policing badly

Under her remit as home secretary, Suella Braverman is responsible for crime and policing, immigration and counter-terrorism efforts. When it comes to immigration and crime and policing, a large majority believe the government to be doing a bad job, at 83% and 72% respective. Just 7% and 15% respectively believe them to be doing a good job.

However, Britons do tend to believe the government are doing a good job on counter-terrorism at 45%, compared to 27% who think they are handling it badly. Terrorism – or the lack thereof – has consistently been the issue the government performs most favourably on, along with (to a lesser extent) defence.

See the full results here

Photo: Getty