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Why fortress Britain is struggling to hold water

September 14, 2021 6:44 PM
By Peter Black in http://peterblack.blogspot.com/2021/09/
Originally published by Babergh South Suffolk Liberal Democrats

bxee (Photo by Callum Wale on Unsplash)The Home Secretary's latest wheeze to turn around small boats carrying migrants in the channel and send them back to France is yet another example of this inward-looking, xenophobic, reactionary government's approach to immigration. It is a disgrace and would add to the sullying of the UK's name in the international community, not that we have much hope of recovering any goodwill at the moment. However, as the Guardian reports, the plan may not be as water tight as Priti Patel hopes.

They quote Lucy Moreton, a professional officer at the Immigration Services Union (ISU), who says she would be surprised if the policy was used "even once":

The proposals, which would require maritime law to be rewritten, have already been rejected by the French government.

Moreton told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "In practical terms, if this happens even once, I would be surprised.

"There are understandably a lot of constraints around it and you cannot do this with a vessel that is in any way vulnerable and more importantly you need the consent of the French to do it.

"Because when you turn the vessel back toward France, when it is across the median line it has to be intercepted and rescued by the French and it appears the French will simply not engage with this, in which case it's - if you excuse the pun - dead in the water."

Tim Loughton, a Conservative MP and member of the home affairs select committee, also poured cold water on the prospects of the tactic being used in practice, although supported the underlying principle.

He said: "It sounds good. But I'm afraid in practice it's just not going to happen. These are flimsy boats coming over. Even those that are tougher are completely weighed down.

"Any boat coming up alongside at speed would capsize most of these boats anyway and then we're looking at people getting into trouble in the water and drowning … and then we'll get blamed for that. It sounds good pushing them back but it's not going to work in practice."

How much longer can this discredited and illiberal politician be allowed to continue in the role of Home Secretary?