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Rishi Sunak 'agreed to raise the salary threshold for migrants to £40,000 in deal with Braverman'
27 November 2023, 06:54
Rishi Sunak agreed to increase the salary threshold for migrant workers to £40,000 as part of a leadership contest deal agreed with Suella Braverman, it has been reported.
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The Daily Telegraph said it had seen a copy of the deal, which saw the Prime Minister agree to a "four-point migration plan" with Mrs Braverman.
The claim comes after the former home secretary, in a scathing letter following her sacking, said she had struck a deal with Mr Sunak that saw her agree to serve in his Cabinet because of "firm assurances" he gave her "on key policy priorities".
She said they included a commitment to reduce net migration into Britain and efforts to tackle international blocks on deporting those who arrive across the English Channel via small boats.
Downing Street earlier this month rejected the former home secretary's "characterisation" of a secret pact allegedly being reached, but did confirm the pair had been discussing policy prior to her appointment.
According to the paper, Mr Sunak agreed also to "close down the graduate visa route" while restricting dependents who migrants can bring and prioritising Russell Group university applicants in visa applications.
The claims emerged as the Prime Minister comes under pressure from his own MPs to bring down net migration after it reached record levels.
Many also want swift action to rescue the Rwanda asylum plan after the Supreme Court defeat earlier this month.
The net migration figure peaked at 745,000 in the year to December 2022, according to revised estimates published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) on Thursday.
The data places migration levels at three times higher than before Brexit.
Immigration minister Robert Jenrick is understood to have worked up a plan designed to appease calls from right-wing Tories for the Government to take action.
Mrs Braverman's replacement as Home Secretary, James Cleverly, is expected to give a statement on net migration levels when he takes questions in the Commons on Monday.
The newspaper cites sources close to the Fareham MP who say that, while not signed by Mr Sunak, the deal was verbally agreed on several occasions and that he left a meeting with a physical copy of a document.
In her letter, Mrs Braverman told Mr Sunak: "Our deal was no mere promise over dinner, to be discarded when convenient and denied when challenged."
In an interview with the Mail on Sunday, the Prime Minister played down the claim that Mrs Braverman had struck a deal with him last year.
"Of course you have conversations with people when you are in a leadership election and not just Suella," Mr Sunak said.
Asked about whether she could produce proof of a deal, he said: "That's a question for her. I'm getting on with actually delivering things."