The curious thinking of Danny Kruger MP

Danny Kruger is the MP for Devizes in Wiltshire

April 2023

Danny Kruger has become conspicuous in recent weeks as the quasi leader of a group of MPs who wish to see a firmer crackdown on the boat people crossing the Channel to claim asylum in the UK.  The issue of the boat crossings is the subject of considerable political controversy and many people are outraged at the arrivals.

He was in the news recently when it was reported that the government had ‘caved in’ to demands by party rebels, in which he was a leading member, to amend the Illegal Immigration Bill by allowing ministers to ignore European Judges in certain situations.  This sprang from the last minute intervention by the European Court which prevented the deportation flight to Rwanda last year from leaving Boscombe Down near Salisbury. This decision enraged many in the Conservative party and much of the right wing media.

He is in the news again this week for an article in the New Statesman (online) which repeats and amplifies comments about immigrants calling it a ‘national disgrace’.  He goes on:

“The importance of this topic to many voters cannot be overstated.  To put it as plainly as people outside the liberal bubble put it: the small boats scandal shows that the powers that be are not on the side of the British people, but instead serve the abstractions of “human rights”, “international law”, or other signals of the middle class virtue. Lawyers and activists get to buff their own haloes while ordinary people pay the price, in longer queues for public services, lower wages and higher taxes”. 

The placing of human rights and international law in inverted commas is interesting and is a piece with another quote from a chapter he wrote on this subject discussed below.  The article suggests that ordinary people are experiencing difficulties in obtaining public services and having to pay higher taxes because of this immigration.  The facts speak otherwise and a number of Home Office reports demonstrate that immigrants are a net benefit to the UK economy. Mr Kruger may be forgiven for not knowing this as the reports have not been published. Wording such as the ‘abstractions’ of human rights suggest that they are in some way theoretical and is perhaps intended to be dismissive. ‘Powers that be’ is also puzzling since that is the Conservative party of which he is a member. Issues of access to public services is as a result of government policy, austerity and other matters not connected with immigrants.  

In a book produced by a group of backbench Conservatives called Common Sense: Conservative Thinking For a Post-Liberal Age (2021) is a chapter written by Danny Kruger entitled Restoring rights: Reclaiming Liberty. This chapter goes a little way to explain the thinking of the MP.

His chapter contains odd reasoning and some curious logic.  His first claim is that the European Convention on Human Rights, drafted by British Lawyers after World War II [lawyers from other countries were involved so it is incorrect to say ‘British lawyers’] ‘sits uncomfortably with the English tradition of preventing tyranny’.  This will come as something of a surprise to the millions of people who were enslaved and were worked to death in the sugar plantations or those who worked in fearful conditions in nineteenth century factories.  The acquisition and retention of Empire also has many horror stories. Quite where this ‘prevention of tyranny’ was taking place is not made clear.

Human rights are misnamed he claims ‘the rights we really need, and the only ones we really have, derive from something higher and something lower than mankind.  They derive from the idea of God, and from the fact of nations: from a Christian conception of law …’ It would be difficult to locate in the Bible many of the principles enshrined in the ECHR or the Human Rights Act (which Mr Kruger is keen to abolish) if only because these ideas and principles were a long way from a society colonised by the Romans and where practices like slavery were common.  There are many favourable references to slavery in the Bible for example.  The ‘lower than mankind’ element is not explained (although it could be a reference to Psalm 8).

He quotes approvingly the American author Patrick Deneen who wrote Why Liberalism Failed (2018).  Many do not agree with Kruger’s admiration of Deneen’s book regarding his blame of a huge range of society’s ills on excessive liberalism to be odd not to say ridiculous.

His analysis seems to go seriously awry however with the following passage:

“And so, from an early stage we came to think of rights as the means by which we are set free from external pressure, set free from obligations to others; and from there it is a small step to the hypocritical assumption that rights confer obligations on others to satisfy us.” P49 ibid.  This is a unique view of what human rights is about.  Surely the point of our system of government is that it does involve governments carrying out policies which are about the wellbeing of those who are governed?  It is why we elect members of parliament to raise taxes and pass laws which make our life as acceptable and as fair as possible.  Who are these ‘others’ he refers to?

To read all of Mr Kruger’s articles and speeches is to struggle to find a coherent strain of thought as far as human rights is concerned.  They are a mixture of false premises, muddled thinking and ideas sprayed around which frequently make little sense.  Yet he appears to be someone of influence in the party at present and is often to be seen being interviewed.

Sources include: New Statesman, the Sun, Evening Standard.

Market stall

April 2023

Market Stall, Saturday, 22 April 2023

We held our annual market stall in Salisbury Market, Saturday 22 April and it was a success. We stayed until nearly 1 pm and there was a steady flow of customers throughout the morning. It’s surprising to note what sells and doesn’t sell each year: this year saw books sell well whereas there was little interest in CDs for example. Pictures all cleared. One picture is off to hang is a café in Oregon and another was going to Virginia. Thanks to supporters for coming and helping.

April minutes

April 2023

We are pleased to attach the minutes of the April meeting thanks to group member Lesley for producing them. It contains a number of activities and reports of interest. We shall be holding our annual fund raising stall in the market place this Saturday 23rd and if members and supporters have any thing to sell that would be appreciated. Bric-a-brac is popular, good books, china and pottery are also wanted. No electrical goods.

It will also be an opportunity to make yourself known if you are interested in joining us.

Refugee report, March

March 2023

Refugees summary for the period mid March to mid April.

With the third reading of the Illegal Migration Bill due on the 25th April, the main centre of debate this month has been over the accommodation problems for refugees awaiting processing by the Home Office. With the cost of hotels soaring, other possibly cheaper options are being considered. The most notable suggestion has been for housing applicants on the barge Bibby Stockholm off the Dorset coast.

Asylum seekers will be housed in the most basic accommodation possible, including disused army bases, airfields and possibly ships, to save money and to dissuade people from coming to the UK, the government has said. Conservative MPs with possible sites in their constituencies are not happy; one suggestion to use an airfield in Essex has been opposed by Priti Patel, so the plan looks fraught. On the Home Office’s calculations the planned accommodation would take on a total of 5400 single men.

In a Commons statement setting out the next stage in the plans to reduce asylum claims in the UK, Robert Jenrick, the immigration minister, said the plans would meet legal requirements to ensure that those who arrived were not made “destitute”, but nothing more.  “We must not elevate the wellbeing of illegal migrants above those of the British people,” he told MPs.

After falling by 17% on last year’s figures, the number of boat arrivals was at a record 1000 last week.

It has been noted that up to one third of the overseas aid budget is now being spent on the domestic asylum system.

Arguments continue about the methods of assessing the age of arrivals claiming to be children. The government intends to continue with its “biological” checks although these have been dismissed as not working. Presently about 15% of those claiming children status are found to be adults.

2021 report by the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration on an inspection of asylum casework found poor workplace culture, low morale and high attrition. According to a recent letter to the Home Affairs Select Committee the annual attrition in the 2021/2 financial year was 46%. The Inspector cited pressure to meet targets, the downgrading of the decision-maker role in 2014 and poor career progression as key contributing factors to this problem.

A decline in productivity is borne out in official statistics, with the Institute for Government calculating that there has been a 62% decrease in asylum decision making rates between 2011/12 and 2021/22, despite an increase in the number of caseworkers. This demonstrates that simply increasing the number of caseworkers, as proposed by the Prime Minister in December 2022, will not alone address the productivity issues.

Reducing unnecessary processes in the asylum decision-making system could help reduce the asylum backlog. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees have recommended that the UK better triages cases to “enable those with vulnerabilities and/or meritorious claims to obtain the protection they need on a timely basis”, as well as recommending the introduction of simplified asylum case processing, for example through the use of “pre-filled caseload specific templates for interviews”. Applications from countries that have been identified as having high grant rates, such as Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, Eritrea and Yemen, could be suitable for such processes.

The Home Office has been accused of “blocking” MPs from helping desperate asylum seeker constituents despite the backlogs in the department. Labour MP Kate Osamor has been seeking to help a family of five, including a newborn, facing imminent homelessness in her Edmonton constituency. They submitted an asylum application last September and are in the usual state of limbo. Ms Osamor says when she contacted the Migrant Help charity on their behalf she was told they were unable to deal with MPs directly. Migrant Help is an advice charity and is the Advice Issue Reporting and Eligibility provider appointed by the Home Office.


When contacted by The Independent, a Migrant Help adviser said: “I am afraid Migrant Help are not contracted to respond to MPs correspondence and have forwarded the attached to the MP correspondence team. Our call handlers will reach out to the service user to see if there is any further support they can provide. I would like to clarify that not responding to MP enquiries is not a Migrant Help policy but a directive given to us by the Home Office as part of our work under the advice, issue reporting and eligibility (AIRE) contract. I have expressed concerns regarding this process”.


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