Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has vowed to continue deploying the Royal Navy to tackle people making crossings of the English Channel in small boats if she becomes the next prime minister.
The Tory leadership frontrunner said she would absolutely maintain the military presence following suggestions the scheme introduced by Boris Johnson could end could end.
Introduced in April as the Prime Minister came under pressure to stem migrant crossings, the scheme is due to be reviewed in January.
But Ms Truss said the Navy would absolutely continue to play a role when asked by reporters in Scotland. It is an absolute priority to make sure we deal with the issue of small boats and the appalling trade by people traffickers, she said in Elgin, northeast of Inverness.
And I will use every tool at my disposal, if I am selected as prime minister, to make that happen. It came after The Telegraph reported that the Navy is planning to end its role in the scheme.
Defense Secretary Ben Wallace denied this was a new announcement, pointing to a previous Government statement saying the naval presence had been agreed until 31 January.
A Ministry of Defense spokeswoman said: As planned, defense support to the Home Office will continue until January 2023, at which point the operational and wider arrangements will be reviewed.
We are working across Government to ensure the conditions are set for defense to hand the task back to the Home Office following the review, this includes supporting training and capability development.”