Makes us a mockery! Outrage at Patel giving French £54MILLION to fight Channel crossings

Migrants left stranded in engineless dinghy in the Channel

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Yesterday the Home Secretary announced a deal with her French counterpart to try and curtail the number of people making the dangerous journey. It included doubling the number of French police patrolling northern beaches and working together to share intelligence on smuggling gangs.

However, Tory MPs were left outraged after the UK pledged a further £54million to help fund France’s efforts to stop small boats crossing the Channel from Calais to England.

East Worthing MP Tim Loughton lambasted the Home Secretary at a committee hearing this morning, saying the extra funding was “ridiculous” and “makes a mockery” of the UK.

He asked: “We’ve given them £31.5million euros last year and you’re now about to give them another £54million to do the same thing.

“Why will it be different this time? The French are not doing their part.”

The number of people who have made the treacherous journey across the English Channel in small boats this year has passed the total for all of 2020 – with more than five months left of 2021.

At least 287 migrants succeeded in reaching the UK on Tuesday, bringing the total for the year to at least 8,452.

This eclipses the figure for the whole of 2020, when 8,417 people crossed the Dover Strait aboard small boats.

Mr Loughton said to Ms Patel: “Yesterday we had a French military naval vessel escorting one of the boats into British territorial waters and then trying to hand over the occupants to a boat full of journalists.

“This is ridiculous and it makes a mockery of it.

“So, just giving the French more money to carry on doing what they’re doing badly is not going to solve the problem.

“When are you going to get the French to admit they can intercept and get them to intercept?

“That is the only thing that is going to cut off supply of people coming to Calais thinking they can get across the channel when in fact they shouldn’t be able to get across the channel if the French did what they are entitled to do under international law.”

Yesterday ITV’s Good morning Britain accused a French navy warship of leaving migrants in the English Channel stranded with the boat carrying the media.

Defending the UK’s co-operation with France, Ms Patel said: “France are intercepting more lifeboats than they did this time last year, so we have to reflect upon that. That is because numbers are so high. The numbers are going up.”

She added: “We have been absolutely been looking at we can do at sea in terms of maritime tactics all within the legal framework – absolutely within the legal framework of saving lives at sea – and international maritime law.

“The French are aware of that as well, they absolutely know exactly what the responsibilities are.”

More to follow…

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