Minister defends decision to deploy Royal Navy for migrant boat patrols in Channel

A British government minister has said the Royal Navy now controls the English Channel as part of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s controversial overhaul of immigration policy. Justice and Migration Minister Tom Pursglove said the service was set up to prevent small boats containing migrants from landing on UK beaches.

He defended the UK’s plan to send migrants to Rwanda in a bid to limit Channel crossings. He said: “The Royal Navy is now in command in the English Channel. It’s the right thing to do because it helps us create resources and develop that expertise.

“One thing I know of in Kent, and I’ve spoken to people in Kent about it, that they’re very concerned about is the beach landings. The additional expertise of the Royal Navy, as well as this additional resource, will help us stop this.

He added that Rwanda’s immigration policy would be implemented “rapidly”, with migrants already in Britain being able to be “transferred”. Mr Pursglove said: “The point I would like to make is that we are committed to pursuing and implementing this policy as soon as possible without unnecessary delay.

“We are now entering the phase where we are rapidly implementing this policy and anyone who arrived in the UK on or after January 1 is at risk of being relocated to Rwanda if they arrived by illegal means. This is an important point to make.”

“If you have since arrived, you may well be transferred as part of this arrangement. The key principle here is that no one should come in a small boat to come to the UK.

Boris Johnson visiting the Maritime and Coastguard Agency at Lydd Airport in Kent

“We rightly have a rich and proud history in this country of providing sanctuary to thousands of people over the years, and you look at recent events with Ukraine and Afghanistan where we have established bespoke programs , and we will continue to do so.

“But what we can’t accept and what we can’t accept are people putting their lives in the hands of these evil criminal gangs, and that’s why we think it’s important that we take these measures. And that’s why we’re pursuing this and we think it’s an important intervention that we’re making as part of a much larger set of reforms that we’re introducing.

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