Priti Patel promised to take tough measures to stop migrants from crossing the English Channel, saying there was “no reason why any asylum seeker should come to the United Kingdom directly from France.”
The Home Secretary committed to keep doing everything she can to stop human trafficking networks from exploiting vulnerable individuals while speaking at the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester.
“With all of this, we will continue to pursue joint solutions to joint problems,” she said, after previously blaming France for not doing enough to stop the crossings.
“France is a safe country, one not riven by war or conflict.”
A record number of migrants crossed the Channel last month, with over 4,000 people making the dangerous trek.
With three months left in the year, more than 17,000 people have completed the crossing in 2021, more than double the figure for the entire year of 2020.
The United Kingdom has agreed to pay France £54 million to assist in the prevention of attempted crossings of the Dover Strait.
The money will go toward increasing the number of French police officers patrolling beaches and training on how to use drone technology to deter people smugglers.
“What is happening in the Channel with small boats is unsafe, unfair, and unacceptable,” Mr Patel remarked to a crowded room on the conference’s main stage.
“From the vast camps outside Calais of mainly male, economic migrants, to the shocking images of people crammed onto flimsy boats crossing the Channel, exploited by people smugglers.”
“Vile criminals characterised by ruthlessness and greed, who even threaten to drown small children to line their pockets. This cannot continue.”
The Home Secretary stated that she would make “no apology for securing our borders” and that she would do whatever it took to stop the crossings.
Last month, Ms Patel threatened to withhold £54 million in financing from France unless the number of vessels intercepted increased.