Suella Braverman announces new Illegal Migration Bill
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Rishi Sunak’s charm offensive with the French President has paid dividends with an advantageous deal to secure greater cooperation to end the Channel migrant crisis. The Prime Minister has won over Emmanuel Macron to bolster patrols on French beaches but will have to pay millions of pounds more to guarantee French support.
Mr Sunak declared he wants to “strengthen and deepen” cooperation between London and Paris to end the Channel migrant crisis.
He will travel to Paris on Friday for the first UK-France summit in five years.
He is set to announce a fresh agreement with the French President to put more “boots on the ground” just months after a £63million deal saw the number of officers increase by 40 percent.
Sources in France have revealed officials are ready “to do more”, warning that a crackdown on people smuggling gangs needs “concerted co-operation”.
The PM said: “I was really pleased at the end of last year that we managed to announce the largest ever small-boats deal with France, which led to a 40 percent increase of patrols on French beaches and increased coordination between our teams.
And, in general, a re-establishment of the Calais Group of northern European countries, of which we are a part, to tackle this. Because it is a shared challenge that many countries are facing, we’re not alone in facing this challenge.
“So on Friday, hopefully, we can continue to strengthen and deepen that cooperation in those areas.
“More broadly, I think there’s a range of things that we want to work closely with our partners and allies on – whether it’s standing up to Russian aggression and supporting Ukraine, whether it’s improving our energy security, or indeed whether it’s illegal migration.
“I think there’s a range of things where we can productively collaborate with France to the benefit of our country.”
Sources say the proposed agreement – set to be announced on Friday – will build on the 40 percent increase in French Gendarmes patrolling beaches in Northern France. UK officials have been pushing for more personnel to detect migrants attempting to cross the Channel.
Under the previous deal, signed within weeks of Mr Sunak becoming Prime Minister, the UK also paid towards extra drones and surveillance equipment.
A Number 10 source said: “Tackling illegal migration is a global challenge and it is vital we work with our allies, particularly the French, to prevent crossings and loss of life in the Channel.
“We want to work together with the French so we can build on the joint approach we agreed last year and keep stepping up patrols and enforcement activity to clamp down on the gangs and stop more boats.
“This Friday’s summit will be an opportunity to do just that.”
But Britain will have to pay France millions every year to secure the deal, it emerged on Wednesday. President Macron is demanding “a multi-annual financing framework” to boost personnel and equipment.
A French source said: “We’re trying to agree with our British counterparts a multi-annual financing framework that would allow us to better plan our actions and increase our human resources, equipment and infrastructure.”
Another French source said: “It needs a very large and concerted cooperation which includes police cooperation on French beaches on the Channel.
“We are doing this and we are ready to do more, but we have to be very clear about the responsibilities each other has to assume.” Last year, 45,728 migrants arrived on beaches in Kent in small boats, up from 299 in 2018.
Migrants making the perilous journey across the Channel will be banned from claiming asylum and removed within weeks under the new reforms.
The Daily Express can also reveal the Home Office is considering a “triage” system of deporting migrants. This could see officials target illegal migrants from certain countries, such as Albania, as there are returns agreements already in place.
Migrants in this category could also include those from countries where the governments are prepared to document their nationals swiftly.
The Rwanda scheme becomes particularly important for nationals where countries will refuse to take them back, officials have been told.
If the UK cannot deport an illegal migrant to their home country, they could then send them to Rwanda to continue the “deterrent effect”.
Home Secretary Suella Braverman says the Rwanda scheme is “uncapped” – meaning thousands of asylum seekers could be sent there. Mrs Braverman has admitted 80,000 migrants could cross the Channel this year.
She said: “The Australian government rolled out a similar scheme whereby people arriving on boats illegally on the Australian territory were removed from the territory.
“Once the Australian government was able to actually relocate people away from Australia they saw quite a dramatic decline in the number of people making the journey.”
The Home Secretary insisted the number of people crossing the Channel will fall “dramatically” once the Government’s plans are implemented.
She said: “We won’t need to build 50,000 new detention places. We are going to increase our detention capacity. That is certain.
“But we will see that once we are able to relocate people who have come here illegally from the United Kingdom to another safe country like Rwanda, or back to their own home country, then actually the numbers of people making the journey in the first place will fall dramatically. That is the deterrent effect.”
Furious Tories blast Lineker for ”Nazi post”
Soccer legend Gary Lineker was handed a straight red card by furious Tory MPs on Wednesday after he refused to delete a tweet comparing Rishi Sunak’s migrant plans to the actions of Nazi Germany.
The BBC’s highest-paid star, who earns £1.35million a year, also attracted the wrath of his bosses for the divisive post.
On Wednesday, Downing Street called his intervention “not acceptable”, while Tory MPs lined up to criticise his apparent breach of BBC impartiality rules.
Labour also condemned the comments, with Sir Keir Starmer’s spokesman saying comparisons with the Nazis “aren’t always the best way” to make an argument.
BBC bosses on Wednesday night refused to say if the star had been given a dressing down.
Match of the Day host Gary had said he would continue to speak up for people with “no voice”. But it is understood he has not responded to calls from the BBC to “remind him of his responsibilities”.
Gary said the language used setting out the small-boats plan was “not dissimilar to that used by Germany in the 1930s”. He told his 8.6 million followers: “Good heavens, this is beyond awful.”
Replying to a Twitter user who said he was “out of order”, the former striker said: “There is no huge influx. We take far fewer refugees than other major European countries. This is just an immeasurably cruel policy directed at the most vulnerable people in language that is not dissimilar to that used by Germany in the 30s, and I’m out of order?”
Gary was active on Twitter on Wednesday, saying the “freedom of speech champions” were “demanding silence from those with whom they disagree”.
He added: “I have never known such love and support in my life than I’m getting this morning. I’ll continue to try to speak up for those poor souls that have no voice.”
Home Secretary Suella Braverman said she was “disappointed” with his comments. “It’s unhelpful to compare our measures, which are lawful, proportionate and compassionate, to 1930s Germany.”
South Thanet MP Craig Mackinlay branded the remarks a “step too far” and called on the BBC to fire Lineker.
Energy Secretary Grant Shapps tweeted: “As a Jewish Cabinet minister I need no lessons about 1930s Germany from Gary Lineker. Like Gary, I am hosting refugees in my home. Unlike Gary, I do not believe it right to tolerate criminal gangs trafficking vulnerable people across the Channel.”
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