Sunak under pressure over ‘appalling’ small boat deaths – as 500 more migrants cross

Rishi Sunak is under intense pressure to do more to address the small boat crisis following the “appalling and preventable” tragedy that left six dead when a ship sank off the coast of France.

New calls for action emerged when it emerged that, despite the dangerous crossing, a further 509 people had crossed the English Channel in 10 small boats on Saturday, bringing the total for the year to 16,679.

Senior Conservatives joined Labor in attacking the “dysfunctional” Home Office for failing to tackle the “runaway” asylum system – but some Tory MPs appeared to blame the French for Saturday’s tragic deaths.

Tim Loughton, a senior member of the Special Committee on Home Affairs, called for both the Home Office and French authorities to do more.

“Unless the French actually intercept and hold these boats, we’ll have a problem stopping that,” he told Times Radio. He suggested that French intervention would “stop this whole despicable trade overnight,” adding: “What will it take for the French to agree to this?”

Labor Cabinet Secretary Bridget Phillipson said traffickers were “running a ring around the government” and said the Home Office was “increasingly chaotic and utterly incompetent”.

Sir Keir Starmer’s party wants to strike a migrant return deal with the EU after the so-called ‘Dublin Regulation’, which allows irregular migrants to be returned to the country of first arrival, was lost after Brexit.

Some Tory MPs criticized France after the deaths. The French warship PSP Cormoran was reportedly monitoring the overloaded small boat across the canal when it sank. Fisherman Matthew Coker said that post on Sunday the military boat “escorted” the ship.

Sir Iain Duncan Smith told the newspaper that the French policy of escorting small boats into English waters was “insane”, adding: “I think the whole thing encourages them to risk the journey more, which is a mistake – you see what happens when they do that. They end up dying.”

French lifeboat enters the port of Calais after a rescue operation


Former Tory leader Sir Jake Berry renewed his right-wing calls for the UK to withdraw from the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) in the wake of the Channel tragedy, claiming it could help “solve the problem” by allowing flights to Rwanda .

But former Conservative Deputy Prime Minister David Lidington warned that the idea of ​​leaving the ECtHR would be “seriously off-putting” to voters. He said the Tories risk being eclipsed as an “evil party” once again.

“There will be a section of the electorate that will like this and want a hard line, no matter how rational or irrational that policy is,” the former deputy prime minister told the Observer.

The moderate added: “But I think the number of seats in the seats, particularly in the suburbs and home counties, will be at least as great and probably even surpassed, and those who are unfazed at best and earnest at worst by this type of rhetoric will be repelled.” and such a policy.”

A withdrawal from the ECHR would put the UK at odds with most European nations and could lead to serious complications with the Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland and the post-Brexit trade deal with the EU.

Suella Braverman faces resignation calls

(PA cable)

Mr Loughton said it was a year since the “dysfunctionality” at the Home Office and that the Department “must do a lot better to reduce the processing times of people who then come to the UK to see if they have legitimate asylum,” the claim or not”.

He said the government’s ‘Small Boats Week’ was ‘probably not a good idea’, adding: |It has been a hostage of fate and clearly depends on how many people risk their lives crossing the English Channel, which depends on the weather and how people smugglers operate.”

The investigation into the tragic English Channel incident, which left six dead, 59 rescued and two may still be missing, continues after an overloaded ship carrying migrants ran into trouble near Sangatte on Saturday.

Care4Calais said the incident was an “appalling and avoidable tragedy”, while the refugee council warned that “more people will die” unless safer routes to the UK are created.

Home Secretary Suella Braverman described the incident as a “tragic loss of life” and said she chaired a meeting with Border Patrol officers later on Saturday.

The barge Bibby Stockholm had to be evacuated on Friday


The plan to put migrants on the Bibby Stockholm barge has been called a “complete farce” after the first 39 people on the Dorset barge were evacuated because of Legionella bacteria found in the water supply.

However, ministers still intend to find further piers to accommodate migrant vessels elsewhere in the UK Sunday telegraph.

Welsh Minister David TC Davies said on Sunday it was “quite possible” that more migrants would be housed on barges as the government had “no problem in principle with barge hire”.

Mr Davies called the six deaths in the canal a “tragedy” and claimed that the “very rapid action taken by the Government this week to remove people on the only possibility that legionnaires could spread actually shows how we keep people safe.” First”.

Senior Tory David Davis said the Home Office’s “appalling incompetence” had been exposed. Former Tory MP Scott Benton said the barge plan had become a “complete farce”. Senior moderator Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown said the Home Office should be split into different departments.

There are calls for Home Secretary Suella Braverman to be fired. A former Tory minister told The Independent It was announced on Friday that Ms Braverman was to be fired for “losing control” over the Channel crisis.

But right-wing Tory MP Sir John Hayes, a leader of the Common Sense Group, said he remains in favor of a “concentration of arrivals” and said “the barges are a great idea.”

Russell Falcon

Russell Falcon is a USTimesPost U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Russell Falcon joined USTimesPost in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing

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