Ministers scrap ‘pushback’ tactics against migrant boats attempting Channel crossing

30 November 2022, 06:58 | Updated: 30 November 2022, 07:22

Ministers have scrapped plans to turn boats around
Ministers have scrapped plans to turn boats around. Picture: Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

Ministers have scrapped plans to introduce ‘pushback’ tactics against migrant boats making the dangerous trip across the Channel.

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Immigration minister Robert Jenrick confirmed the plans had been ditched by the Home Office on Tuesday.

Analysis showed there were only "limited circumstances" in which it could be used against the small boats, he said.

The minister added that the proposals were "currently withdrawn" and there were "no current plans" for them to be brought in at all.

It comes after a further 426 migrants crossed the Channel on Monday – the highest amount in two weeks.

Read more: 'Not all Albanians are criminals!': British-Albanian reacts to Tories plan to ban Albanian migrants

Read more: Man arrested over deaths of 27 migrants killed crossing the Channel in a dinghy

A group of migrants brought in to Dover, Kent, onboard a Border Force vessel following a small boat incident in the Channel
A group of migrants brought in to Dover, Kent, onboard a Border Force vessel following a small boat incident in the Channel. Picture: Alamy

Mr Jenrick said in a parliamentary written answer: "There are limited circumstances in which small boats can be turned around safely in the English Channel.

"In view of this, the policy is currently withdrawn and there are no current plans for the turnaround tactics to be reintroduced under defence primacy."

The controversial strategy would have seen migrant dinghies intercepted in the Channel and sent back to France.

Immigration minister Robert Jenrick
Immigration minister Robert Jenrick. Picture: Alamy

Parliament passed legislation earlier this year introducing powers allowing the small boats to be turned around.

But former Home Secretary Priti Patel admitted in April that the tactics had been put to one side.

She insisted they would remain under review, despite the French government previously saying it would break international maritime law.

But the latest update appears to completely axe the plans.

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