Priti Patel ‘doesn’t get invited to discussions’ says Trevor Phillips
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Priti Patel was originally scheduled to meet with her counterpart Gérard Dermanin on Sunday to discuss solutions on how to tackle the exponential rise of Channel Crossings. Sky News presenter Trevor Phillips probed Health Secretary Sajid Javid on how the British Government is planning to reduce the number of arrivals without fixing the relationship with France. Mr Phillips said: “Let’s look at the numbers – they’re going up, and up, and up.
“Since you were Home Secretary, they went from being a couple of thousands a year to eight to ten thousand a year, and now this year it will up to 25,000.
“Whatever you say you’re doing, the reality is more and more people are coming in through this route risking their lives as well as creating illegal landings.
“You haven’t got enough off-shore base through which to process them.
“You haven’t got a relationship with the French – I mean, Priti Patel doesn’t even get invited to meetings anymore.
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“The French won’t have them back. What is your plan to solve this?”
Mr Sajid said: “The Home Secretary is doing a lot.”
But the Sky News presenter cut him off to point out “it’s a thing we have to do in cooperation with others and she doesn’t even get invited to the discussion to solve it.”
The Health Secretary replied: “Part of it, of course, is about cooperation, that is a big part of it.
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“Part of it we can do domestically so the Nationality and Borders Bill that we have in front of Parliament now will make dealing with this challenge easier than it is today.
“It will mean that if you are someone who comes from a safe country like France and somehow get to the UK and then claim asylum, the understanding is you’re more likely to be an economic migrant because otherwise you would have claimed asylum in the first safe country you were in.
“And I think it is important to have these changes to the law so these measures are being taken forward.
“At the same time, whatever we can do, we still need to have cooperation with our French friends.
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“I think reaching out to them and proactive suggestions around whether there’s joint patrolling, whether there’s a returns agreement, I think these are the right things to do.”
As her European counterparts met on Sunday, Priti Patel warned the lack of increased co-operation could cause “even worse scenes” in the Channel this winter than the capsizing that killed 27 people.
The Home Secretary vowed to “continue to push” for improvement next week, despite being disinvited by the French from a meeting of European colleagues to tackle the migration crisis.
Interior ministers from France, the Netherlands, Belgium, and the European Commission are to meet in Calais on Sunday to discuss small boat crossings.
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