Lies, Falsehoods and Misrepresentations from Boris Johnson to Keir Starmer

“…the backlog in asylum cases is now falling rapidly”

Robert Jenrick, Immigration Minister, Sky News


Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick stated in a Sky News interview that the “backlog in asylum cases is now falling rapidly.”

Jenrick’s statement appears to refer to the “legacy backlog”, which are applications made before the 28th June 2022, and are merely a subset of the total overall outstanding applications. 

These cases are indeed falling, having decreased from 92,327 in November 2022, to 55,477 in August 2023. 

The number of total outstanding asylum cases has not fallen “rapidly.” As of August 2023, there were 136,944 outstanding cases, versus 131,292 in November 2022.

35,110 of the cases stripped from the legacy backlog were neither rejected or accepted, as the Financial Times points out, but rather the Home Office withdrew the applications for alleged non-compliance with rules or for vanishing.

As Financial Times reporter William Wallis wrote: “the withdrawal of claims has led to people being cast into limbo, evicted from supported accommodation and cut off from financial support, according to immigration lawyers and charities.”

“Rishi Sunak’s rush to clear a legacy backlog in UK asylum claims has driven some applicants into the hands of criminals, pushed others towards destitution and is creating a fresh pile-up in the courts, lawyers have warned. “

Wallis’ FT piece contains damning examples of Home Office incompetence, including one case where “an interview request letter had been sent to a hotel [an asylum seeker] left long ago when the Home Office had moved him to different lodgings.”

Jon Featonby – Chief policy analyst at the Refugee Council charity – also asserts that “the fact that half of the withdrawn claims have now been reinstated shows that they should never have been withdrawn in the first place.”


Robert Jenrick misled Sky News’ viewers.

We emailed Robert Jenrick’s office offering him the chance to respond. The email was received, but no reply. We also emailed the Home Office with our analysis, they responded “I’m afraid we can only respond to media outlets, so this wouldn’t be one for us.”

Additional Note 

Jenrick was not the only senior Tory to make this misleading claim about asylum seekers. So did Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. 

Published 28 Jun 2024
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