Priti Patel Announces UK Military Will ‘Turn Back the Boats’ to Stop Migrant Crisis

Britain's Home Secretary Priti Patel gestures as she speaks on the third day of the annual
BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images

Home Secretary Priti Patel confirmed that the British government is working with the armed forces to develop “sea tactics” to “turn back the boats” to France in response to the growing migrant crisis in the English Channel.

Speaking at the Tory party conference in Manchester on Tuesday, Priti Patel said that there is no justification for alleged asylum seekers to travel to the UK from France, which she said is a “safe country, one not riven by war or conflict.”

“We make no apology for securing our borders and exploring all possible options to save lives by ending these horrific journeys.

“Boris and I have worked intensively with every institution with a responsibility to protect our borders … Border Force, the police, the National Crime Agency, maritime experts, and yes, the military to deliver operational solutions including new sea tactics, which we are working to implement, to turn back the boats.”

The speech was criticised by Migration Watch UK, with chairman Alp Mehmet saying in a statement provided to Breitbart London: “A very disappointing speech. It may have gone down well with the audience but contained little of substance or new. The flow of illegal Channel crossings, already over 17,000 this year, is not about to slow as a result of what the Home Secretary said.

“There was also nothing in the speech about the overall scale of immigration, which the points-based system was to have controlled and reduced. It won’t. Limits have been abandoned, earnings and qualifications thresholds have been lowered, exposing some seven million jobs to workers from around the world, new uncapped routes into jobs at all pay levels have been opened and employers don’t have to look locally before recruiting overseas. Some control.”

The idea of simply sending boat migrants back to France has long been touted as a means of tackling the scourge of illegal migration by figures such as Brexit leader Nigel Farage and former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, under whose leadership the commonwealth nation implemented such tactics, effectively ending illegal boat migration from countries such as Indonesia.

Whether the British government will have the political will to actually implement the approach remains to be seen, however, as the French and pro-mass migration voices have claimed it will endanger the lives of migrants at sea, with some illegals even threatening to throw children into the water in some cases.

Since 2019, over a dozen migrants have either gone missing or died trying to cross the busy waterway from France, with a family of five Iranian migrants, including three children, aged nine, six, and 15-months-old, drowning in the Channel last October.

The Home Secretary once again blamed the appeals process for the failure of the government to deport illegal migrants, saying “even when seated on the plane, their lawyers can still block their removal.”

“Britain’s asylum system might have worked 20 years ago, but not now,” she said, continuing: “The system is collapsing under the pressures created by these parallel illegal routes to asylum, facilitated by criminal smuggling gangs.

“Labour would have you believe the capacity of our asylum system is unlimited. But the presence of economic migrants – through these illegal routes – is undermining our ability to support those in genuine need of protection.

“To that I say, no. Our system must uphold our reputation as a country where criminality is not rewarded, but where playing by our rules is.”

Proclaiming that the UK’s “immigration system is under the control of the British government,” following the departure from the European Union, Patel said that her legislation will seek to “speed up the removal of those with no legal right to be in our country.”

The left-wing Refugee Council condemned the speech, writing on social media: “Despite what Priti Patel would have you believe, the #AntiRefugeeBill going through Parliament right now will not stop refugees having no choice but to make desperate journeys to be safe.”


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