According to UK news reports, the British government is becoming quite desperate about the asylum seekers braving the English Channel, a record 25,000 so far this year, and all sorts of radical measures to contain the increase in arrivals are being considered, including sending the refugees south to the Falkland Islands.
Furthermore, a poll among voters who backed the Conservatives in the previous election showed that 77% believed the government was too soft with migrants. Reacting Downing St confirmed on Monday that PM Boris Johnson had appointed Stephen Barclay, the Cabinet Office minister, to head a cross-government taskforce to resolve the issue of small boat crossings, which are mostly undertaken by Iranians, Iraqis, Eritreans and Syrians.
One of his key tasks will be to address the low number of returnees after a minister admitted last week that only five migrants had been sent back to their home countries this year, compared with 294 in 2020.
But the issue appears to have become entangled in the broad post-Brexit deal negotiations over the Northern Ireland Protocol, making a bilateral deal with France unlikely and co-operation less so.
Allegedly the Home Office has been in talks with several Overseas Territories to send the migrants to them while they are assessed for asylum, similar to Australia’s use of an off-shore island.
Denmark, St Helena Island, Rwanda and Albania have all been seriously considered, but a far-flung suggestion has now come from a Tory MP who believes the Falkland Islands in the South Atlantic would act as a deterrent.
“I would be in favour of the Falkland Islands,” Lee Anderson, MP, told The Guardian. “The only way we will put these people off is by giving them the message that if you come here you are going to be sent 8,000 miles away,” he said.
Another Conservative MP urged the government to “stop the viability of the route” across 35 kilometres of open water from France to England.
We should perhaps be returning straight back to France those who have made it to the British shores, because at the end of the day that was the deal that was done with France, Craig Mackinlay said.
Britain already pays £54 million for 200 extra French police to patrol their coastline, and Mr Mackinlay has suggested sending British border guards to patrol beaches on the French side of the Channel to prevent the boats from setting out.
This follows on other attempts to contain the tide such as pulling canoes and other small sports' boats from sale in northern France so that they are not used to cross the English Channel. Sporting retailer Decathlon said the boats had been withdrawn from stores in Calais as well as Grande-Synthe, which is near Dunkirk.
The purchase of canoes will no longer be possible... given the current context, Decathlon confirmed to local media reports. It added that people's lives would be endangered if they were used by those hoping to reach England.
Decathlon's decision was first reported by the French regional newspaper La Voix du Nord. It said a journalist had seen migrants on several occasions buying light boats and other equipment from Decathlon in the Calais area.
Canoes will still be available to purchase online and in other branches. Safety equipment such as life jackets will still be available to buy in the Calais and Grande-Synthe stores as well.
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Mr Anderson, if he said this, is a colonialist p***k. Mind you, it is probably just a story in the Express.Nov 23rd, 2021 - 10:28 am +3
Not like you to mince your words, Mike .....Nov 23rd, 2021 - 11:17 am +3
Literally ONE MP said this. It would never happen.Nov 23rd, 2021 - 10:18 am +2