Royal Navy ends Channel migrant patrols

The Royal Navy is firming up plans to end its role in trying to stop migrants crossing the English Channel, Britain’s Ministry of Defense announced on Tuesday.

Four months ago, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the first navy ships would patrol the busy waterway and help ensure that “no boat comes into the UK undetected”.

Since then, the number of migrants reaching the UK’s south coast has risen to more than 20,000 and the government announced the deportation plan from Rwanda, in part to deter migrants taking the dangerous Channel route.

Policing in the English Channel has turned the beleaguered navy into a ‘super taxi service’ for migrants at a time when its ships are needed for other key military tasks, MPs have said.

The new prime minister, either Foreign Secretary Liz Truss or former chancellor Rishi Sunak, will have to decide whether to overrule the military advisers’ decision.

Both Tory leadership candidates have said the Channel migrant crisis will be a top priority if they get the keys to Downing Street.

Despite the navy monitoring the Channel, the number of migrant crossings has already doubled this year.

However, Home Office officials are said to be concerned that a sudden end to the Navy’s role could send the wrong message to smugglers.

“As planned, defense support to the Home Office will continue until January 2023, when operational and wider arrangements will be reviewed,” a Defense Ministry spokesperson said. The National.

“We are working across government to ensure the conditions are in place for defense to hand over the task to the Home Office after review, this includes supporting training and capacity development.”

The Ministry of Defense said the original idea was to end the operation on January 31, but it was also possible the plan could be revised.

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Last week it was announced that the department had sunk plans for an asylum camp at a base in North Yorkshire, a centerpiece of Home Secretary Priti Patel’s plans to cut the £3million ($3.6 million) of the daily cost of accommodation for migrants in hotels.

A day earlier, Mr Sunak, a local MP from North Yorkshire, had spoken out against it.

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The government gave the department £50million in April to take care of the migrant crisis in the Channel.

An 80-meter offshore patrol vessel was to support Border Force interceptions, along with six fast training boats, three rigid-hulled inflatables and a Wildcat helicopter.

The ships were first used in Operation Isotope when Mr Johnson unveiled plans to deport Channel migrants to Rwanda to seek asylum in the central African state and break smugglers’ business.

The navy will continue the operation “until the deterrent effect is achieved and the cross-Channel route for small boats collapses”, James Heappey, the Minister for the Armed Forces, told MPs in January.

The main role of the navy has been to coordinate Border Force and Coast Guard vessels at sea to rescue migrants and bring them back to shore, with sailors docked to guide people to migrant processing centres.

But senior MPs and Border Force officials say the operation has failed to stem the flow of migrants and has diverted navy resources from other functions at a time of heightened tension with Russia.

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Tobias Ellwood, chairman of the House of Commons defense committee, told the Telegraph it was a Downing Street ‘mad scheme’ to distract from the problem that attempts to stem the flow of migrants across the Channel had failed.

John Spellar, a former Labor minister for the armed forces, said: ‘There was never a clear rationale as to what role they would play.

“They ended up providing a super taxi service that they had to do under age-old laws of the sea to save lives. It was a totally flawed intervention.”

UK minister says Britain will continue deporting migrants to Rwanda – video

Updated: August 16, 2022, 10:12 a.m.