Patel: There is no reason for asylum seekers to travel from France to the UK

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Home Secretary Priti Patel will set out the UK’s stance on immigration when she addresses the Tory party conference (Marc Edward/PA) (PA Wire)
Home Secretary Priti Patel will set out the UK’s stance on immigration when she addresses the Tory party conference (Marc Edward/PA) (PA Wire)

The Home Secretary will tell Tory supporters there is “no reason” for an asylum seeker to cross the Channel from France as she renews her vow to control the flow of small boats arriving into the UK.

In her speech to the Conservative Party conference on Tuesday, Priti Patel is preparing to say she wants to put a stop to “these horrific journeys” by securing Britain’s borders.

“France is a safe country, one not riven by war or conflict,” the Cabinet minister is set to say at the Manchester conference.

“There is no reason why any asylum seeker should come to the United Kingdom directly from France.

The number of migrants crossing the Channel from France to England has increased this year (Gareth Fuller/PA) (PA Wire)
The number of migrants crossing the Channel from France to England has increased this year (Gareth Fuller/PA) (PA Wire)

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

Ms Patel will argue that clamping down on cross-Channel crossings will tackle the “greed” of the people smugglers who enable the migrants to make their journeys.

Since the start of the year, more than 17,000 migrants have succeeded in reaching the UK – double the figure for the whole of 2020.

PA news agency data also shows that since the beginning of last year, more than 25,000 people have risked death crossing to the UK aboard dinghies, kayaks and other small boats.

But despite the sharp rise in the number of boats arriving on the south coast, asylum applications in the UK fell in 2020 to 29,456 – significantly lower than the 93,475 asylum applications made in France and the 121,955 made in Germany.

The Home Secretary will add: “What is happening in the Channel with small boats is unsafe, unfair, and unacceptable.

“From the vast camps outside Calais of mainly male, economic migrants, to the shocking images of people crammed onto flimsy boats crossing the Channel, exploited by people smugglers – vile criminals characterised by ruthlessness and greed, who even threaten to drown small children to line their pockets.”

Britain will be fair but firm

Priti Patel, Home Secretary

She will argue that it is “not unreasonable” for her immigration plan to be based on control, saying: “Britain will be fair but firm.”

In her speech in the main hall, Ms Patel will also touch upon the topic of violence against women and girls following the rape and murder of Sarah Everard, whose killer, Wayne Couzens, a serving police officer at the time, was convicted last week.

Ms Patel will say that the safety of citizens is “paramount” and that she will ensure those targeting women and girls will “feel the full force of the law” upon them.

She is scheduled to say: “I know all our thoughts remain with Sarah Everard’s family and friends.

“Her murderer, whose name I refuse to repeat, was a monster.

The murder of Sarah Everard has raised wider questions about male violence towards women and girls (PA) (PA Media)
The murder of Sarah Everard has raised wider questions about male violence towards women and girls (PA) (PA Media)

“His explicit intention was to instil fear and terror in women and girls. I say this as Home Secretary, but also as a woman.

“Such unconscionable crimes and acts of violence against women and girls have no place in our society. And that is why I have redoubled my efforts to ensure women and girls feel safer.”

In comments already briefed, the Home Secretary will announce tougher powers to rein in the protests of the likes of Insulate Britain and Extinction Rebellion, in which environmentalists have used direct action to shut down major transport networks.

Ms Patel is preparing to announce an increase in the maximum penalties for disrupting a motorway, while also criminalising interference with major roads, railways and the press.

The Home Office will also give the police and courts new powers to deal with the “small minority of offenders” who are “intent” on travelling around the country with the aim of “causing disruption and misery across our communities”.

Part of those powers will be to extend police stop and search rights, to allow officers to inspect activists for “lock-on” equipment used to prevent them from being moved.

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