Priti Patel pledges 'crackdown' on eco protesters and migrant Channel crossings in 2022

1 January 2022, 17:50 | Updated: 1 January 2022, 18:03

Priti Patel has pledged to crack down on eco protesters and migrant Channel crossings.
Priti Patel has pledged to crack down on eco protesters and migrant Channel crossings. Picture: Alamy/Twitter

By Emma Soteriou

Home Secretary Priti Patel has pledged to "crack down" on eco protesters that caused road chaos throughout 2021 as well as ending the "legal merry-go-round" of the migrant crisis.

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In a video message shared on Twitter, Ms Patel said she was proud of many things the Government had achieved over the last year but acknowledged that there was still "much more to do".

She said it was "vital" the Government's Police and Crime Bill passed through Parliament to halt protesters causing "misery to the law-abiding public" as well as the Nationality and Borders Bill being introduced to prevent illegal migrant crossings.

"The [Police and Crime] Bill will introduce mandatory life sentences for those who kill an emergency worker in the course of their duty and also crack down on the so-called eco-protesters on our roads and motorways that have caused misery to the law-abiding public," Ms Patel said.

"I will also continue to prioritise fixing our broken asylum system. It has been untouched for two decades, but passing our [Nationality and] Borders Bill into law in 2022 will finally give us the powers we need to deliver long overdue change.

"A fairer system deterring illegal entry across the channel by cracking down on people smugglers and ending the legal merry-go-round of spurious asylum claims is what the British people expect and we will deliver."

Read more: Extinction Rebellion block entrance to Glasgow Home Office over Borders Bill anger

Read more: Migrants held in 'unacceptable, degrading' conditions, UK inspectors find

It comes after eco protesters caused road chaos throughout the second half of 2021, with campaign group Insulate Britain blocking the M25 and major A roads in a bid to get the Government's attention over the severity of climate change.

Last year also saw a record number of migrants attempt the Channel crossing, despite the British and French Government's efforts to stop them.

Read more: Migrant crisis: France rejects calls for British border patrols amid growing tensions

Ms Patel also addressed crime in her New Year's message, saying streets were safer thanks to a reduction in knife crime, gun crime and murders.

She said: "The start of a new year is always a special time to reflect upon the previous year, but also to look ahead to what we want to achieve in the year to come."

Ms Patel added: "Whether it be cutting crime, keeping our country safe from terrorism, or controlling our borders, we have a range of plans in progress to deliver for the British people.

"That is an ambitious programme, but one I will be relentless in delivering as we focus on building back safer in the year ahead.

"I know we've got a lot of work to do in 2022. So let's get to it."