The British government has given the troops a “significant” role in operations against illegal immigrants in the English Channel, said British Home Secretary Priti Patel.
In response to a question at the House of Commons on January 17, Patel said he had commissioned the Ministry of Defense (MoD) as “an important operational partner to protect our channel from illegal immigrants.”
She supported the government’s determination that the British people would “do everything possible to protect their borders” and said that “a mixed approach is absolutely essential.”
Last year, at least 28,000 illegal immigrants arrived in the United Kingdom across the strait in small boats. This is more than three times the number of arrivals in the previous year. This trend continues this year, with more than 770 people successfully landing in the UK so far.
Intersections can be dangerous. A Sudanese man in his twenties died trying to arrive in the UK last week. Less than two months have passed since at least 27 people died when the boat sank off the coast of France in November.
Downing Street refused to confirm British media reports that the military would be responsible for operations against illegal crossings in the English Channel.
An official spokesman for the Prime Minister said on January 17th: It is right to pursue all options to prevent illegal crossings and protect life at sea. “
He added: “The British Army is already working closely with border forces in these operations, building on its expertise and experience in maritime operations, but beyond that, how we improve our response. , I’m not going to speculate on further discussions that we may or may not have. “
“An unacceptable number of people continue to cross dangerous straits, and the tragic death of November last year serves as the strongest reminder of the need to stop them,” a MoD spokesman said.
“The government is looking for every possible way to prevent further crossings, and details on how to achieve that will be revealed in due course,” he said.
The main opposition Labor Party said it supported “wise” measures to save the channel’s lives, but questioned the integrity behind the plan.
Shadow Home Secretary of the Interior Yvette Cooper said:
Conservative Tobias Ellwood, chair of the House of Commons Defense Committee, warned that the plan was “in a hurry” and could be a “massive distraction” for the Navy.
PA Media contributed to this report.