Natalie Elphicke and migrants landing on the coast
The Tory MP for Dover has poured scorn on Rishi Sunak’s deal to solve the migrant crisis saying it “falls short”.
Natalie Elphicke slapped down the Home Office’s latest plan to stop boat crossings just a few hours after it was announced.
Elphicke, whose constituency is at the forefront of the crisis, went on to call for joint border patrols and a Channel-wide joint security zone.
She tweeted: “The deal announced with France today falls short of what’s needed.
“It doesn’t match the scale or urgency of the small boats crisis, or the increased risk of loss of life as winter approaches.
“What’s needed is a step-change in approach with joint border patrols and a Channel-wide joint security zone.
“It’s only when migrants and people smugglers alike know that they can’t succeed in crossing the Channel in a small boat that this crisis will come to an end.”
However, it is unlikely France would agree to such a deal as they have been reluctant to intercept boats leaving their shores and there are additional questions over sovereignty if British boots are on the ground.
The deal announced with France today falls short of what’s needed. It doesn’t match the scale or urgency of the small boats crisis, or the increased risk of loss of life as Winter approaches.
— Natalie Elphicke MP (@NatalieElphicke) November 14, 2022
Under the new deal, the UK will pay France £63 million - a slight increase on the £54 million agreed by Patel last summer.
For the first time, UK police officers will now be embedded with their French counterparts in control rooms and on beaches.
The number of officers patrolling the French coast in a bid to stop people leaving will increase from 200 to 300.
Home secretary Suella Braverman has conceded that there are “no quick fixes” or “silver bullet” to the crisis of migrants trying to cross the Channel.
The agreement, signed with French interior minister Gerald Darmanin, includes drones and night vision equipment to help officers detect crossings.
They will also step up surveillance around ports to prevent migrants entering the UK in lorries, with more CCTV and sniffer dogs.
Lucy Moreton, professional officer for the Union for Borders, Immigration and Customs, said the government’s deal failed to address the “sticking points” keeping numbers high.
She told Times Radio that interrupting migrants to “just let them go to try again” would not have the required impact and nothing in the deal suggested that “the French are going to move away from that position”.
She said intercepting migrants so they do not try to get to the UK again was not something the French “have ever wanted to do”, because from the French perspective, “they are going the right way and it’s entirely understandable that they are not very keen to interrupt that”.
Others have questioned what the UK got for its last £54 million deal with France after record numbers of migrants continued to cross the Channel.
More than 40,000 people have crossed in small boats so far this year, up from 28,526 last year and 8,404 the year before.