The opposition Labor Party has accused the British Home Secretary of “losing control” of small-scale boat migration across the English Channel, as the number of asylum seekers entering the UK by the dangerous route more than tripled by 2020 in total.
Shadow House Secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds criticized Priti Patel for her handling of the canal crisis during questions about the Home Office in the House of Commons on Monday.
Meanwhile, conservative MPs have spoken out increasing concern about the arrivals, which are unpopular with many voters, for fear that the issue poses political danger to the party.
On Saturday, the number of small boat arrivals to the UK reached 25,700 for the year to date, compared to 8,469 for the whole of 2020. Patel maintained the boom in small boat migration reflects a “global migration crisis” also felt in the USA and Pole.
The Minister of the Interior added that the nationality and borders bill, currently going through parliament would provide a “long-term solution” to the problem.
Arrivals of small boats, which increased sharply, even as other secret ways to reach the UK, such as hiding in trucks, declined, becoming a significant political problem for the Conservatives.
The UK received 31,115 asylum applications during the year to June, 4 per cent lower than the previous twelve months to June 2020. Applications made between March and June were 12 per cent below their previous high in the last quarter of 2019.
Patel told the Commons that if MPs had any solutions to the problem that were not already part of the nationality and borders bill, and other new measures being introduced, she would be happy to meet to discuss it. However, she accused Labor, which opposed the bill, of supporting unrestricted migration.
“They [Labour] will always stand up for unlimited migration, free movement and they have always said and will do it, ”Patel said.
Thomas-Symonds responded by pointing out that Patel had repeatedly promised to make migration via the channel “unsustainable”, adding: “The interior minister has blamed everyone but herself.”
He pointed out that Steve Barclay, a cabinet minister, had been called in to review the policy against small boat crossings.
“Is the fact that another cabinet minister had to be brought in not proof of the fact that the interior minister has lost control of this dangerous situation?” asked Thomas-Symonds.
Controversy over the government’s handling of the small boat crisis flared up last week after the Albanian government furiously denies that it was in talks to host a foreign hub to house people seeking asylum in the UK while their claims were being considered.
Albanian Foreign Minister Olta Xhacka condemned a report in The Times that the country was in talks over setting up such a center as “fake news”.
The foreign processing of asylum seekers is one of a number of controversial elements in the Nationality and Borders Bill, which will restrict the rights of migrants who successfully prove their right to refugee status if they pass through a safe country on their way to the UK.
In the Commons, Thomas-Symonds defended Labor’s decision to vote against the bill on the grounds that it violated the UK’s obligations under the 1951 UN Refugee Convention, weakened protection for victims of modern slavery and did not address the issue. the Channel would not resolve.