The French could kill people smuggling trade 'stone dead' by return of dinghies to France, says senior tory

The French could kill people smuggling trade 'stone dead' by return of dinghies to France, says senior tory
Gabrielle Wilde

By Gabrielle Wilde

Published: 19/04/2024

- 09:51

Conservative MP Tim Loughton spoke to GB News

has said it would not be possible for the UK to turn back dinghies once they are in territorial waters due to international law and said the French must do more to stop vessels departing the beaches or intercepting them at sea.

Mr Loughton, who sits on the Home Affairs Select Committee, also spoke out against those who stopped failed asylum seekers being deported.

Speaking on GB News, Tim Loughton said: “We've had Labour MPs signing letters and petitioning for various people not to be deported, who then turned out to be criminals and commit criminal acts as well.

“When boats leave French shores, more needs to be done by the French to stop them leaving French shores. If they do leave at French shores, they should be intercepted at sea and brought back to those French shores.

“That becomes a completely expensive, round trip for migrants to pay people smugglers only to be returned to French beaches. That would absolutely kill off this trade stone dead, but the French won't cooperate in doing that - which is the nub of this problem.

“Once those boats come into British territorial waters, like it or not, they become our responsibility. And it's incredible, frankly, given the danger of what's gone on in the channel that more people haven't lost their lives.

“It's down to the good services and the bravery of many of our lifeboats, our Border Force, our coastguard and others who bring them to the UK as we are duty bound under international law to do. Frankly the French are duty bound under international maritime law to intercept those boats because crimes are being committed by paying people smugglers and criminal gangs to try and get them into the country.

“Frankly, it might sound like a nice idea but you cannot try and turn those boats around at sea because then there would be casualties.

“They shouldn't be leaving the French shores in the first place.

“There are two basic issues. First, there is illegal migration, which we need to be able to do more but we are in this ridiculous situation where people are paying people smugglers to come across the channel and once they're in British territorial waters, they are our responsibility.

“And when you've got people who then cannot be returned to their home country, they come from countries like Iran, Eritrea where they physically will not let them off the plane, that's when we have a problem.

“That's why the government is putting so much effort into this Rwanda scheme as a way of getting people out of the country to a third territory which will be a deterrent.

“There is an issue with high levels of migration. Again, the government is taking steps to reduce that largely because people we need in this country are bringing a lot of dependents who frankly, don't have a place to be in the country. That is being reduced.

“But we also depend on quite a lot of migrant labour in our essential services as well. We need to get the balance right now.

“I'm not embarrassed because we're actually doing something about it. Everyone else has just cried foul and said ‘this is a disgrace’ but come up with no practical solutions, which is what this government is trying to do.”


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