Publication:

The Guardian Weekly - 2021-11-26

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Channel crossings lead to desperate Tory plans

Global Report

Conservative MPs are urging ministers to send people travelling to the UK by small boats to offshore centres as far away as the Falkland Islands as concern grows that the party is losing support among red wall voters. Priti Patel, the home secretary, should also be willing to automatically return migrants to France if the party is to fulfil the Brexit promise of taking control of the UK’s borders, MPs said. The increasingly extreme demands come as Patel is being put under “immense pressure” from Downing Street and Conservative MPs over government efforts to halt the crossings. The government has repeatedly promised to make such crossings “unviable” and pledged tens of millions of pounds to France to help tackle the issue but more than 25,000 people have made the journeys this year. The Home Office confirmed that last week the number of refugees who had to be rescued reached 1,131 on a single day – the second highest daily figure since the current crisis began in 2019. The home secretary has mooted various solutions including the controversial “offshoring policy”. Earlier last week Albania denied it was willing to process people crossing the Channel, after the UK deputy prime minister, Dominic Raab, confirmed that the government is exploring ways of processing asylum seekers abroad. A report in the Times suggested Albania would be willing to host an offshore processing centre. Patel opened talks on the proposal when she signed an agreement in July for Albania to take back criminals deported from the UK.

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