Matt Vickers, Stockton South MP, believes the Home Office – led by Home Secretary Priti Patel – must “pull its finger out” by adopting similar tactics to those used by Australia to deal with its own migrant crisis. Mr Vickers was speaking after the recovery of a man’s body off the coast of Dunkirk by French authorities, with an unknown number of migrants travelling aboard the same boat he had been on rescued.
Separately, a massive rescue operation was launched last week after another dinghy capsized close to the British port of Harwich, with one man, a Somali national, thought to have been lost at sea.
Official figures show authorities had to “rescue or intercept” 456 people in 15 boats on Tuesday.
In total, so far in 2021, 20,198 migrants have attempted the crossing – well over twice the 8,410 arriving in Britain last year.
Mr Vickers, elected in 2019 to what was previously a safe seat in Labour’s so-called Red Wall, said: “The numbers coming across the Channel are totally unacceptable.
“The persistent dangerous and illegal crossings facilitated by violent criminal gangs cannot be allowed to go on any longer. “
Referring to French President Emmanuel Macron, he said: “It’s clear that France cannot be relied upon.
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“We need to take matters into our own hands and employ tried and tested measures to put an end to this route into the UK.“
Australia had managed to cope with its crisis “by utilising turn back techniques and offshore processing centres”, Mr Vickers stressed.
He added: “I’m pleased that the Home Secretary is looking into both of these tactics.
“However she must act now before this issue spirals even further out of control.”
The current situation was manifestly unfair on people who were seeking permission to live in the UK via legitimate means, Mr Vickers stressed.
He explained: “I get emails almost every day from asylum seekers across my constituency who have been waiting years for an interview – let alone a decision – on their case.”
The system was under “unprecedented strain” and adding an extra 20,000 migrants on top of that was “simply inexcusable and unfair on genuine refugees”, Mr Vickers claimed.
He warned: “Channel crossings in dinghies have no part to play in a civilised immigration or asylum system.
“The Home Secretary has stated that 70 percent of those coming over the Channel are economic migrants and we know the impact that can have on driving down wages for ordinary people and adding extra pressures to our public services.
“We must deliver the promised firm but fair immigration system so that immigration occurs in a way which benefits our national and economic interests.”
Mr Vickers declared: “The Home Office really needs to pull its finger out and start turning its words into action.
“We need to see a tangible reduction in the numbers coming across.”
Express.co.uk has approached the Home Office for comment.