Fury as France seeks to expel migrants to UK
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Clement Beaune, the French Europe minister, said Britain should agree to take on a share of the people trying to cross the English Channel. He said it is Britain’s “responsibility” and suggested the UK is a soft touch on immigration, fuelling the growing number of crossings.
But Tory MPs said asylum seekers should make their claim in the first safe country in which they arrive.
They also criticised France for failing to stop migrants making the dangerous journey, despite being given around £80million to tackle the issue.
Andrew Bridgen asked: “Why should Britain take on the EU’s migration problem?”
He added: “It’s clear that France is playing politics.”
France has repeatedly rejected UK demands to turn back boats at sea or allow illegal migrants to be returned to deter others from making the crossing.
Tom Hunt said: “If you are a genuine refugee or asylum seeker you seek asylum in the first safe country you end up in.
“We have paid the French a significant amount of money to stem the flow of illegal migrants attempting to enter our country and it’s clearly had limited effect at best.
“If in addition to this we have [President] Macron’s ministers making these sorts of demands I do think it is the time to consider changing our approach to the French on this issue.
“One of those approaches could be intercepting boats and taking them back to France.”
Mr Beaune called for a “new migratory deal” between the EU and Britain so “we can expel, or direct a certain number of migrants to the UK so they can request asylum”.
“It’s [Britain’s] responsibility,” he said, suggesting the “attractiveness” of our asylum system has caused problems.
A Tory source said: “Day after day French boats are escorting migrants into UK waters.
“We would love a new deal with the EU or France. But so far both are refusing to discuss it.”
A record 828 people crossed the Channel in small boats last Saturday.
Huge rise in citizenship bids from EU
EU nationals now account for more than a third of all applications for British citizenship.
They soared by 83 percent in a year to 74,384 ‑ the highest number since comparable records began in 2004.
Some 37 percent of all requests in the year ending June 2021 were from EU nationals, compared with 12 percent in 2016, the Home Office said.
It added that the increase is likely to reflect more people seeking to confirm their status in the UK after Brexit.
Since March 2019, EU nationals resident in the UK, and their family members, can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to stay.
The latest data show that 6.09 million such applications had been received up to July 31, 2021.
Overall, there were 200,177 applications in the year ending June ‑ a 35 percent yearly rise.
There were 147,369 grants of citizenship, a four percent hike.
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