Priti Patel accused of “overall failure” to limit crossings by small boats | Immigration and asylum

Labor accused Priti Patel of ‘overall failure’ to curb the growing number of people crossing the Channel in small boats after record numbers arrived on UK shores in small boats this week last.

Shadow Home Secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds told Sky News on Sunday that “his counterpart’s incompetence on this issue is dangerous.”

It follows reports that Boris Johnson is “enraged” by his government’s inability to stem arrivals, fearing that there is no viable policy on the table to reduce the number of people coming on board. small boats.

Senior officials believe at least 10 people have died in recent weeks as they attempted to cross one of the world’s busiest shipping canals. As of Friday, 24,700 people had already crossed this year in small boats, nearly triple the 8,404 arrivals last year. Over 1,000 have crossed in a single day twice in the past fifteen weeks.

Sunday Telegraph polls have shown that 55% of the public and 77% of voters who backed the Tories in the last election believe the government’s approach to managing the Channel crossings is “too soft”.

Thomas-Symonds said Patel and the Home Office generated dozens of headlines with promised plans that did nothing to prevent the number from reaching the Kent coast.

“It was the Home Secretary who, under her leadership, said she would make this road unsustainable… If the numbers were to increase at the same rate next year… we will have more people risking their lives in the Channel than voters in the constituency of Priti Patel, “he said.

Sajid Javid, the Secretary of Health, defended Patel’s record. “The Home Secretary is doing all she can, I think, and she hasn’t taken anything off the table. She has introduced legislation to Parliament that will bring many improvements – the Nationality and Borders Bill – which will bring a multitude of changes, ”he told the BBC One’s Andrew Marr Show.

Downing Street’s concerns over the Channel crossings fell into the public domain last week when Johnson announced that Steve Barclay, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, had been asked to consider policy options and oversee inter-ministerial collaboration on the question.

Barclay is expected to chair its first interdepartmental meeting on the issue this week. The meeting is likely to discuss the need for more dispersed accommodation amid fears that hotel use is seen as too much of a ‘pull factor’. It should also focus on more diplomatic efforts around the government’s “relocation policy” – paying other countries to accept asylum seekers and provide a basis for processing claims.

Tory MPs clashed with Johnson over the Channel Crossings at a 1922 committee meeting on Thursday. Former Tory leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith was the first to challenge Johnson, saying: “Migration was in our manifesto, it was in our DNA. If we don’t, they won’t forgive us.