Emmanuel Macron is making little effort to prevent migrants from trying dangerous crossings of the English Channel in flimsy dinghies, prompting one MP to suggest that Britain “take matters into its own hands.”
Matt Vickers applauded Home Secretary Priti Patel after she announced intentions to start turning boats back before they reach UK shores, claiming that such a strategy will target “heartless people smugglers” who facilitate deadly journeys. Mr Vickers spoke on the same day that it was announced that about 2,000 migrants arrived in the UK in the last week, a new high in a year in which at least 14,400 people crossed the Channel in small boats.
“Priti Patel and the UK Border Force have mine and the majority of the country’s full backing to start turning boats attempting to cross the Channel back to France.” Vickers the told Express
“This situation is getting out-of-control and I welcome the Home Secretary’s plans to employ this decisive action.”
“The reality is that France simply isn’t playing its part in dealing with this crisis.” Mr Vickers added, addressing French President Emmanuel Macron.
“Sending them tens of millions of pounds hasn’t worked.”
“It’s about time we took matters into our own hands and employed tried and tested measures to put an end to this dangerous and illegal route into the UK.”
“The priority here is to save lives by stopping would-be illegal migrants getting onto these boats in the first place.” Mr Vickers said.
“By drastically reducing the chances that they will ever land on British shores, this crossing becomes unviable.”
Last Monday, the Home Office revealed that Border Force personnel will begin utilising “turn-around” tactics at sea, as part of two-year-old plans. A strategy like this would allow UK officials to drive small boats back into French waters, though it’s unclear if the migrants would subsequently be returned to France.
“I urge Priti Patel to continue following the proven Australian-style model to ending this crisis.” Mr Vickers said of her tough stance.
“We urgently need offshore centres to aid us in our efforts to process these people.”
“This tactic is safer for migrants in Calais, fairer on refugees and asylum seekers that are already here and tougher on heartless people smugglers who look to cash in on vulnerable people.”
In the week ending September 10, 1,959 migrants crossed the Channel from France, the largest number for any seven-day period in 2021. More crossings began on Monday, despite indications of chilly, slightly gloomy weather on the south coast and breezy but clear conditions at sea.
A group of young children was observed arriving at Dungeness, Kent, while immigration agents treated a woman who had been ill after being carried ashore on a stretcher by police and RNLI members. According to figures from the most current seven-day period, which ended on September 12, 1,876 migrants came.
So far in 2021, the overall number of migrants who have crossed the border is little over 6,000 more than in 2020. Last Monday, French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin stated unequivocally that France would not tolerate any activities that violate maritime regulations or result in financial extortion. His remark came in response to Ms Patel’s threat to withhold millions of pounds in funding offered to help increase patrols until the number of migrants intercepted by French authorities improves.
Aid organisations and campaigners have slammed the proposal of turn-around techniques, fearing that it might endanger migrants’ lives, with some experts warning that it could be deadly.
“As part of our continuous operational response,” a spokesperson for the Home Office stated, “we continue to evaluate and test a range of safe and legal options for stopping small boats.”
“All operational procedures used at sea comply and are delivered in accordance with domestic and international law.”
She said that the Home Office would “continue to explore all options available” to minimise the number of crossings.