Priti Patel ‘pontificates like some bystander’ says Kay Burley
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France and the UK have been at loggerheads for months over the British Government’s insistence that French border patrol act timely to stop Channel Crossings. Home Secretary Priti Patel threatened to withdraw funds the UK agreed to pay to France to process migrants across the Channel unless immediate action is taken. But Conservative MP Peter Bone demanded the UK be tougher with Paris to put an end to the migrant flows.
Addressing Ms Patel in the Commons, Mr Bone said: “Would the excellent Home Secretary agree that the sensible and humane way to deal with this problem is for the French to agree a return policy?
“So that immigrants turning up on our shore could be given a hot cup of tea, ensured they had warm clothing and put back on the first ferry to Calais?
“This would make the cross-Channel route unviable.
“It will be good for France, it will be good for the United Kingdom and it will be devastating to the criminal people-trafficking gangs.”
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Ms Patel said: “My Honourable Friend has made a very important point about return agreements and in particular with France.
“France assumes the presidency of the European Council next month, this is an ongoing discussion that we’re having with them and I’m actively pursuing this.
“But I want to be very, very clear and realistic about this. There is only one aspect of the wider situation of dealing with illegal migration because it’s not just France.
“People are coming from the Sahel, from Africa, Lybia, through the Mediterranean route. “
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The Home Secretary added: “This is a much wider issue than France but obviously return agreements are crucial, they’re absolutely pivotal. And they’re one part of the plan that we have.”
Ms Patel said the UK Government “still speak to our European counterparts”, adding: “We have a long-term plan to address these issues, of course the party opposite will do everything possible to stop that plan from coming together.”
She added: “This problem will take time to fix and that there is no silver bullet. The only solution is wholescale reform of our asylum system.
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“Labour have consistently voted against the plan to do so. Instead of making suggestions that are practical, they are totally divorced from the reality, they don’t have a viable plan.”
She added: “He has suggested the problem is down to reduced aid, failing to note that France is not a recipient of UK aid.”
Labour, she claimed, “continue to defend the rights of foreign national offenders including murderers, rapists and those involved in drugs trade, criminals”.
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