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Migrant boats crossing channel will be turned back to France, Home Secretary Priti Patel says

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Home Secretary Priti Patel has approved the use of ‘pushback’ tactics to prevent migrants reaching Kent from France.

Her intervention comes after recent days saw hundreds of people making the journey to seek asylum in the UK.

One vessel at sea carrying in excess of 13 people (43629366)
One vessel at sea carrying in excess of 13 people (43629366)

And it follows a meeting with her counterpart Gerald Darmanin in which she said the British public ‘expected to see results.’

Border Force vessels will have the authority to redirect boats away from British waters back to France.

It is expected the measure will only be used in ‘very limited circumstances’ and will target studier migrant boats rather than dinghies.

However, the move will put the Home Secretary on collision course with the French, who have refused to intercept or turn back migrant boats.

She has been given the full support of Prime Minster Boris Johnson, who told MPs the Government would ‘use every possible tactic to stop what I think is a vile trade.’

Priti Patel (51048723)
Priti Patel (51048723)

At her meeting with her French counterpart, Ms Patel made clear tackling the number of people making their way from France to the UK on small boats was her “number one priority”.

The discussion came just days after she was said to have told MPs she is prepared to withhold millions of pounds of cash promised to France to help step up patrols unless an improvement in the number of migrants intercepted by French authorities is seen.

Despite this, it is understood funding was not explicitly discussed at the meeting.

Read more: All the latest news from Dover

Dover Kent KentOnline reporter



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