Sir David Davis comments on how to tackle Channel migrant crossings


As published by The Daily Express:

DAVID DAVIS has claimed a “pushback plan” with France can solve the Channel crossing crisis in a discussion with ex-Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage on GB News.

Mr Davis, the Conservative MP for Haltemprice & Howden, is one of a number of Tory MPs who have rebelled against the Government’s reforms to the controversial Nationality and Borders Bill.

The bill makes it a criminal offence for asylum seekers to arrive in the UK “without permission rather than via a designated scheme or route”.

Mr Davis suggested a better way to deal with the issue of migrants crossing the English Channel in dangerous boats would be a pushback arrangement with France.

The ex-Brexit Secretary said: “The answer has got to be pushback, either we settle something with the French, because the French haven’t behaved well in this whole exercise.

“But they are in the middle of an election campaign, but we have to settle that with them.

“I think we’re going to have to look at maritime law closely, maritime law is built around safety first and foremost.

“What do these people smugglers do, they put these people in deliberately unsafe boats.

“The Australian analogy, I was talking to the ex-Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott about this, and he said they used to scuttle the boat so they had to pick it all up.”

Scuttling the boat refers to deliberately sinking a vessel by allowing water to flow into the hull.

Mr Davis, who stood against David Cameron in the 2005 Tory Party leadership contest, added: “What did the Australians do?

“They took their own boats.

“Here’s a boat that will get you back to Indonesia and just enough petrol to get there.”

Despite facing a Tory rebellion, the Government successfully reinstated measures which would punish those who arrive in the UK without valid clearance for entry by up to four years in prison.

They were also able to reinstate a rule which would treat asylum seekers differently based on the methods they used to enter the UK.

Home Secretary Priti Patel has pushed through a plan to move refugees offshore for processing, another measure that passed with a clear majority.

The original proposal was to move them offshore to Ascension Island in the South Atlantic, however, this has now been abandoned.

Former Tory Cabinet Minister Andrew Mitchell described offshoring as “absurdly expensive” and added, “the taxpayer would be less out of pocket if we accommodated all adults in the Ritz on three meals a day and sent those under 18 to school at Eton.”