Displaying items by tag: Priti Patel
Priti Patel is preparing to send back small boats carrying migrants in the Channel despite warnings from the French authorities that it could endanger lives. Border Force staff are being trained to employ ‘turn-around’ tactics at sea. Plans developed for two years would allow UK officers to force small boats back into French waters. It is unclear if the proposals would include taking migrants back to French shores. The proposals have already been rejected by the French government on the grounds that ‘safeguarding human lives at sea takes priority over considerations of nationality, status and migratory policy.’ Border Force will only deploy the tactics, developed in consultation with maritime experts, when they deem it safe to do so. Training is due to conclude this month. Conservative MPs want the home secretary to break international law and send all migrants arriving illegally by boat straight back to France.
Women with babies and very young children alongside significant numbers of teenage and young adult men were among 56 migrants held in a cramped room with thin mattresses covering the floor at a unit in Dover. Members of the home affairs committee have expressed their shock and serious concern after observing this during a visit. It was wholly inappropriate and a clear Covid risk, with some migrants held longer than legal limits. The Home Office said services were pressurised by ‘unacceptable numbers of people’ crossing the Channel by traffickers. Almost 600 migrants crossed last weekend. Yvette Cooper wrote to Priti Patel saying that the holding room facility where migrants first arrive was clearly unfit for purpose. Meanwhile a 14-year-old is among 26 migrants under the age of 16 accommodated in a requisitioned hotel.
England and Italy players took the knee at the Euro final. Priti Patel publicly opposed this at the beginning of the Euros, saying that she did not support ‘people participating in that type of gesture politics’. Asked if she would criticise fans who booed England players taking the knee she said, ‘That's a choice for them, quite frankly’. After they missed penalties in the final, Marcus Rashford, Bukayo Saka and Jadon Sancho were targeted by racist abuse. In response Ms Patel tweeted that she was disgusted. Tyrone Mings said, ‘You don't get to stoke the fire at the beginning of the tournament by labelling our anti-racism message as 'gesture politics' and then pretend to be disgusted when the very thing happens which we're campaigning against.’
The home secretary has said the government will not announce new Covid restrictions before the weekend, but did not rule out further measures being put forward next week. It is thought ministers are considering requiring masks to be worn outside or allowing people to exercise only with people from the same household. Mrs Patel emphasised the current stay-at-home rules, under which people are only allowed to go out for a limited number of reasons, including work, essential shopping and providing care to a vulnerable person. Asked whether further restrictions could include a three-metre social distancing rule, or the requirement to wear masks outside, the home secretary said, ‘The plans are very much to enforce the rules. This isn't about new rules coming in - we're going to stick with enforcing the current measures.’ But she did not rule out new measures being announced next week and would move more quickly to fine people who break the rules.