Britain should build partnerships with other countries rather than “indulge in an international blame-game” to stop English Channel crossings, a senior Tory MP has said.
Tom Tugendhat said the UK’s politicians and border police “need to fight much harder” and identify and prosecute people traffickers.
Writing in the Mail on Sunday, the chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee said Britain and France need to work together.
It comes after 1,185 people reached the UK on Thursday after risking death on board small boats in the Channel, a new record for a single day in the current crisis.
More than 23,500 people have now reached the UK after crossing the English Channel on board small boats this year, according to data compiled by the PA news agency.
Mr Tugendhat wrote in the Mail on Sunday: “This isn’t just a story about human lives. It raises very important issues about Britain – about its borders and how the country’s infrastructure and services cope with the seeming inexorable daily increase in numbers of people wanting to live here.
“Our politicians and border police need to fight much harder to stamp out this illegal trade. We need to identify and prosecute those driving it.
“But we cannot do this alone. As illustrated by the huge numbers of people massing on the border between Belarus and Poland trying to get into the European Union, the problem affects the whole of Europe.
“If successful, many of these too will attempt the Channel crossing to settle in the UK.”
The Tonbridge and Malling MP said that “turning failing national economies into prospering societies” can create new trading partners and “conditions where people don’t feel the need to migrate”.
He added: “By building up the defences of southern and eastern Europe, we can stem the flows of people. And by making clear how all migration is connected – from Syria to Libya and from Iraq to Belarus – we can build partnerships rather than indulge in an international blame-game.
“Tragically, today’s crisis is a lesson in failure.
“However, by using common sense and co-operation, we could turn it into a lesson in success.”