Government ‘throwing good money after bad’ with migrant spending, MP says


he Government is being “fobbed off” by the French authorities, a Conservative MP has said, after it announced it will send them a further £54.2 million to help stem the flow of migrants crossing the Channel in small boats.

The Home Office said the money would be spent on doubling the numbers of police patrolling France’s northern beaches, improving intelligence sharing and on new technology to target people smugglers.

The announcement followed the news that a record-breaking number of people have crossed the Channel already this year.

At least 8,452 people have made the journey, according to data compiled by the PA news agency, surpassing the total for all of 2020.

But during a Commons Home Affairs Committee hearing on Wednesday, Conservative MP Tim Loughton pointed out that last year the Government had sent France 31.4 million euro (£27.1 million) to tackle the issue.

“Since that time, you now have a record number of boats which have come across the channel, and the number of interceptions by the French has actually fallen,” Mr Loughton said.

Referring to the new £54 million sum, he asked: “Isn’t that throwing good money after bad?”

Priti Patel (Aaron Chown/PA) / PA Wire

Priti Patel replied: “This is an evolving situation, the numbers of migrants attempting these crossings from France has increased considerably.”

She added: “Our counterparts in France, our operational partners as well as our operational partners in the UK which involves our intelligence partners, have seen complete change in modus operandi in terms of the crossings.”

Mr Patel said that instead of the majority of migrants coming from Calais, there was now a “widespread dispersal” of launches along the entire French coastline.

Mr Loughton accused the Home Secretary of allowing France to “make a mockery” of international law, obliging them to intercept boats and return them to French territory if they have launched from France.

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