'Take them back to France': Reform will have 'standoff' with French over illegal migrants if needed, says Richard Tice

17 June 2024, 21:18

Reform chairman Richard Tice was speaking on Tonight with Andrew Marr
Reform chairman Richard Tice was speaking on Tonight with Andrew Marr. Picture: LBC

By Alex Croft

Reform will “pick up” asylum seekers and “take them back to France”, party chairman Richard Tice has said.

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Speaking on LBC’s Tonight with Andrew Marr, Mr Tice said that “instead of bringing them to Dover”, British authorities should take people attempting to cross to the UK on small boats “back to Dunkirk and Calais”.

The party’s former leader - who became chairman after Nigel Farage replaced him earlier this month - said he would be willing to engage in a stand-off with France if necessary.

It comes as Reform released their manifesto on Monday, which proposed spending £141bn per year, with Mr Farage claiming it was not a manifesto but a “contract” with the British public.

The manifesto explicitly states Reform’s plans to “pick up illegal migrants out of the boats and take them back to France”.

When pushed on how Britain should respond if France refused to let boats dock, Mr Tice said: “Well then we’ve got an international standoff, and there’s going to be a row.

“But sometimes you have to have a row to get stuff done and to make things happen, you cannot just say ‘we’re going to keep letting people leave the beaches and keep dying’. That is unacceptable.

“If we have to have a row with the French, let’s have a major row with the French, and sort this out and stop people dying, and stop the magnet effect through France."

Watch Again: Andrew Marr speaks to Richard Tice | 17/06

Mr Tice said the focus should be on “stopping the deaths”, adding that the “best bit of all is that you stop people dying in the Channel”.

He called for “joint processing centres” in northern France which would process asylum claims in two weeks, allowing one week afterwards for an appeal before sending those who were rejected back to “from where they came”.

Earlier in the interview, Mr Tice also claimed the pursuit of net zero is making people poorer, saying that there is a “direct between the growth in our renewable energy capacity and the growth of our electricity prices”.

It comes after Reform’s manifesto committed to scrapping the net zero plan in its entirety, redirecting much of the money towards extensive tax cuts.

The ‘contract’ pledged to introduce life imprisonment for convicted drug dealers, raise the income tax threshold to £20,000 per year, and abolish all inheritance tax for estates under £2 million.

But the Institute for Fiscal Studies said Reform’s plans for tax and spending “don’t add up” and were out “by a margin of tens of billions of pounds per year”.

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