Thank you to all those who have contacted me about recent reports of Government proposals for processing asylum seekers.
I believe the Government has lost control and all sense of compassion when it comes to dealing with asylum seekers. From plans to send asylum seekers to remote islands, create waves in the English Channel to wash boats back, and buy ferries and oil rigs to process asylum claims, the Government is lurching from one inhumane and impractical idea to another.
I am concerned at the increase in small boat crossings of the English Channel and the danger involved in these. I believe it is wrong that these crossings are happening and that so many people, who have already faced extraordinary hardship, are risking their lives in doing so.
However, I am particularly concerned by the Government’s response to this situation, which seems to be made up of unconscionable and absurd proposals trying to sound tough. I think the Government’s attempt to militarise its response to a humanitarian crisis is also shameful.
The Home Secretary said as long ago as August 2019 that she was working with the French government on small boat crossings of the Channel. However, lives are still being put at risk and the number of crossings increased. I believe this is in part due to the Government’s approach and rhetoric. Indeed, the cross-party Foreign Affairs Committee warned last year that the Government’s approach would likely lead to increased Channel crossing attempts.
Clearly, this situation requires multifaceted solutions with international partners that are viable, practical and humanitarian. More generally, we know that one of the key drivers of people fleeing their homes to seek sanctuary elsewhere is the impact of poverty, wars and persecution. I think it is therefore deeply regrettable that the Government has taken the decision to abolish the Department for International Development.
I will continue to press the Government to treat asylum seekers with the dignity they deserve and to address what I believe to be deeply entrenched structural problems within our current asylum system.
Thank you once again for contacting me about this issue.