We’re Not ‘Heartless’ Says Priti Patel After Channel Deaths
Priti Patel today said the government was not “heartless” following the deaths of 27 people trying to cross the Channel.
The home secretary said there was “no quick fix” to the migrant crisis and described the deaths as “tragic drownings”.
She said the UK had a “humane approach” to asylum seekers and blamed traffickers for exploiting people.
However, she has come under fire for some of the measures the government has proposed to combat the problem.
Patel told the Commons: “We are not working just to end these crossings because we don’t care and we’re heartless.
“The United Kingdom has a clear and a generous humane approach to asylum seekers and refugees.
“Yes, people should come here legally and the system must be fair. But the main issue is this: crossing the Channel in small boats is extremely dangerous and yesterday was a moment that many of us had feared for many years.”
She said the criminals who facilitate the journeys were motivated by “self interest and profit” not compassion.
The cabinet minister went on to say they need to break their business model and bring them to justice.
She stressed the UK had been speaking with France and repeated their offer of a joint operation to stop the journeys taking place.
Shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds said yesterday’s “human tragedy” was the “most awful of reminders of the dangers of crossing the Channel”.