Home Office asks MoD to intervene over English Channel migrants
As migrant crossings across the English Channel continue to escalate, the Home Office has turned to the Ministry of Defense (MoD) for help to stem the tide.
The Home Office apparently wants the Royal Navy to intervene – possibly in the form of a “passive blockade” – with a view to deterring the crossings.
For its part, the MoD officially says it is “working hard” to identify how best to assist the government.
“We are assessing the requirement using the formal Military Aid to the Civilian Authorities process and are working hard to identify how we can most effectively assist,” the MoD said in a statement.
However, privately the MoD is reportedly strongly opposed to any form of intervention. An unnamed MoD source also told the PA news agency that the idea of using the Royal Navy is “completely potty”.
The MoD source claims such action would be “inappropriate and unnecessary” inasmuch as military resources should not be used to address “political failings”.
The private row between the Home Office and the MoD is unfolding against a backdrop of steadily increasing crossings across the Channel by migrants assisted by sophisticated smuggling networks.
Yesterday (August 07) witnessed the largest number of crossings to date, with 235 people reportedly making the potentially dangerous crossing in 17 vessels. It has been reported that 23 of these are under-18s who have subsequently been taken into care.
The government’s inability to stop the crossings is a personal embarrassment for Home Secretary, Priti Patel, who only last month paid a highly publicized visit to Calais (France) where she reportedly secured an Anglo-French deal on immigration and border management.
However, that deal (if indeed there is a viable agreement) is clearly inadequate, with Patel now claiming the problem is “complex” and that the government faces “serious legislative, legal and operational barriers”.
But Patel is coming under increasing pressure from within the ruling Tory party to get a grip on the illegal Channel crossings which are so visibly undermining the government’s tough new legal immigration policy.
It is being reported that about a dozen Tory MPs have signed a letter to Patel calling on the government to top stop the crossings and failing that to return people “who illegally cross the English Channel”.
To that end, Crawley MP, Henry Smith, said the government must “take a much more robust response with France”.
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