Priti Patel defends her handling of migrant boat crossings

Video: Matt Vickers MP // Twitter

Friday, May 22, 2020

Home Secretary Priti Patel has strongly defended herself after being criticised for her approach to illegal migrant boat crossings during coronavirus lockdown.

It comes as data from the PA news agency showed at least 1,000 migrants have been intercepted in the English Channel and brought ashore by Border Force since lockdown began.

Speaking to fellow Conservative MP Matt Vickers, Ms Patel said she was in touch with her French counterpart every week and that they were deploying “substantial” law enforcement.

“When people say that we’re doing nothing, or I’m doing nothing, they are absolutely wrong and don’t know what they’re talking about,” she said.

WATCH: Priti Patel says laws at sea are about protecting life

The Cabinet minister claimed a “high proportion” of migrants had been taken back to France and more than 100 people were stopped from making the journey to Britain last weekend.

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage has been a vocal critic of the number of dinghies crossing the treacherous waters, yesterday branding Border Force the “illegal migrant taxi service”.

“If Priti Patel doesn’t act, there’ll be many, many thousands that cross the Channel over the course of this summer,” he told talkRADIO’s Mike Graham.

Meanwhile, refugee charities have warned the government against its tone on the issue.

Stephen Hale, chief executive at Refugee Action, said: “The UK has a legal obligation and a moral responsibility to protect people fleeing war and persecution.

“Tough talk will do nothing to stop desperate people risking their lives to find safety here.”

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