The Home Office has ditched plans to turn small boats around in the English Channel as the migrant crisis shows no signs of abating, with more than 800 more making the crossing in one day. Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick said analysis has shown there are only “limited circumstances in which small boats can be turned around safely in the English Channel”. He said in a parliamentary written answer the proposals are “currently withdrawn and there are no current plans for the turnaround tactics to be reintroduced under defense primacy”.
On Monday, another 426 migrants crossed the Channel – a two-week high – but that figure more than doubled on Tuesday when 884 people in 17 boats were brought to Dover by the Border Force and the RNLI.
The total since the beginning of the year making the dangerous crossing has surged beyond 43,000. This compares to just 28,526 in all of 2021, with four weeks still remaining this year.
To add to this, a further unconfirmed number of migrants arrived from crossing the Channel on Tuesday, despite poor visibility in the busy shipping lane.
Mr Jenrick said in his parliamentary written answer on Tuesday: “There are limited circumstances in which small boats can be turned around safely in the English Channel. In view of this, the policy is currently withdrawn and there are no current plans for the turnaround tactics. to be reintroduced under defense primacy.”
The comments from the immigration minister appear to end all possibility of the pushback measures being introduced, which Emmanuel Macron’s French government warned are in breach of international maritime law.
These proposals would have seen small migrant boats intercepted in the Channel, turned back around and sent back to France. Alternatively, passengers would have been transferred to UK Border Force vessels and delivered to a French port.
In April, former Home Secretary Priti Patel conceded the turnaround tactics had been put to one side but insisted they would remain under review.
Earlier this year, Parliament passed legislation introducing powers allowing small boats intercepted in the Channel to be turned back.
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A New Labor policy from the beginning of the 2000s saw asylum claimants from so-called “white list” countries have their applications processed in less than 10 days, and quickly removed if their applications failed.
But a Home Office source insisted on Tuesday the plans are not being considered, according to a report from MailOnline.
At the Conservative Party conference last month, Mrs Braverman said all migrants who cross the Channel will be barred from claiming asylum, but the Home Secretary is yet to reveal details of how that will be achieved.