Migrants at risk of drowning

Independent: 9 August 2020 Migrants at risk of drowning if Priti Patel sends Navy warships to Channel, warns ex-home secretary

Hardline Australia-style tactics to block fragile vessels also condemned as ‘completely potty’ by defence official

Priti Patel’s plan to use Royal Navy warships to stop migrants crossing the Channel will put them at risk of drowning, a former home secretary says.

Jack Straw issued the warning after the home secretary’s idea – which would see the rising number of boats blocked before they can enter British waters – was branded “completely potty” by a defence official.

“I don’t think that just trying to push these people back is going to work,” said Mr Straw, who wrestled with the same problem 20 years ago.

“It will only take one of these dinghies to capsize and everybody to drown – which is perfectly feasible – for there to be a hullabaloo, including in the Conservative party, and for the policy to have to be reversed.”

The tactic, modelled on the approach taken in Australia against migrants from Indonesia, could involve both the Navy and Border Force intercepting vessels after they leave France.