Libya is key to stopping UK-bound African migrants, LBC hears

22 June 2022, 10:52

Libya is key to stopping migrants, country's designate PM tells LBC
Libya is key to stopping migrants, country's designate PM tells LBC. Picture: Alamy
Theo Usherwood

By Theo Usherwood

Libya is the key to stopping migrants from Africa travelling to Britain, the country’s Prime Minister-designate has told LBC.

Fathi Bashagha said that with the right training and equipment from the Home Office, he would be able to stop tens of thousands of migrants travelling to southern Europe.

It is estimated there are 600,000 migrants in Libya as of last year, many of whom will leave the country’s north coast in small boats to make the dangerous journey across the Mediterranean sea to southern Europe.

It is then possible for the migrants to travel through Italy and France to Calais, where people traffickers are charging thousands of pounds for another dinghy crossing to Britain.

But speaking through an interpreter, Mr Bashagha told LBC he could cut the number of migrants leaving Libya in the first place if he had the right support.

“With respect to the British Government, it is mainly training, logistic support and technology support to secure our borders,” he said.

“We need to build our border security force. Libya is a pass-through for immigrants from Africa, sub-Saharan countries, all the way to Europe.

“We are capable to (secure our borders), if we get the right resources and support.”

Fathi Bashagha
Fathi Bashagha. Picture: Alamy

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Mr Bashagha isn’t currently recognised by the British Government as the country’s Prime Minister. But he has been designated PM by Libya’s own House of Representatives.

Yesterday, he was in Parliament to meet MPs and peers from the All Party Parliamentary Group on Libya.

Among those at the meeting was former Cabinet minister, and MP for Ashford in Kent, Damian Green.

He told LBC that if Mr Bashagha can stop the Mediterranean crossings, and in turn reduce the number of migrants arriving in the UK, then the Home Office should support him.

“It’s hugely important to everyone in Kent that we try and control the flow of migrants across the Channel,” he said.

“Obviously, it would be better for everyone if they didn’t start with an even more dangerous journey across the Mediterranean.

“If we can actually stop people leaving Africa then there will be fewer that end up in the UK and so it is a win-win all round. It is a dangerous journey for them, as well.”

A Whitehall source told LBC that as things stand Mr Bashagha is not currently recognised by the British government.