Channel Tunnel boss issues warning over Kent travel
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The Home Secretary was accused of having “lost control” of the situation in the Commons this afternoon. Official data indicates more than 25,600 people have so far made the treacherous crossing over the Dover Strait in 2021.
The figure is more than triple the total for the whole of 2020.
Ms Patel has repeatedly pledged to put a stop to criminal gangs exploiting vulnerable people and coercing them into making the dangerous journey.
But a lack of results has led to rising anger among Conservative backbenchers.
Conservative MP Sir Edward Leigh in the Commons today: “We told the people at the referendum, us Brexiteers, that we would take back control.
“It’s clear that in this we have lost control.
“If you tell the most desperate economic migrants in the world that we will provide a free border service, taxi service across the Channel, we will never deport you, we will put you up in a hotel as long as you like, is it any wonder that more and more come?
“This is now a national emergency.”
He urged the Home Secretary to consider an “emergency powers act to override the Human Rights Act if necessary”.
At least 886 people succeeded in reaching the UK on Saturday, with no sign in numbers letting up despite the winter weather.
Crossings are usually highest in the summer months when sea conditions are more preferable.
The remarks echoed Dudley North MP Marco Longhi, who warned in the Sunday Express at the weekend that “Brexit in the Red Wall was primarily about border control”.
He wrote: “It was illegal immigration that (largely) fuelled Ukip. It was illegal immigration that (largely) drew voters to the Brexit Party; the MEP elections led to the demise of former PM Theresa May.
“Stop illegal immigration, by getting Brexit done, was the tool that delivered. The people trusted and the people voted so in 2019.
“But the unrelenting arrival of boats on our shores provides the most visible expression of our failure to deliver on that promise.”
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Addressing MPs in Parliament this afternoon, Ms Patel said the Nationality and Borders Bill currently passing through Parliament would have the Government to crack down on crossings.
She told the Commons the Bill would help “around asylum, around processing, around deportation, around fast-tracked removals, and importantly, around making sure that we break the business model of those traffickers who are smuggling people into the United Kingdom.”
She added: “These changes are pivotal to absolutely bring a comprehensive reform to the entire system.
“There is no single solution to this and that is why this Bill is so important.”
Pressure has also been heaped on France to do more to stop those looking to make the journey from Calais.
This afternoon the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said that, while the UK and France are working together to reduce crossings, it is vital both sides increase their efforts.
He said: “We continue to believe that there is more that can be done on both sides.
“We are introducing these new powers, we will continue to work closely with our French counterparts.
“By working jointly, we have stopped more than 20,000 migrant attempts so far this year – 400 arrests, 65 convictions.
“But, absolutely, there is more that can be done to step up this enforcement.”
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