• Wednesday, March 29, 2023


Suella Braverman vows action after ‘terrible tragedy’ of migrant deaths

“There is a multi-agency response to this terrible tragedy,” Braverman told MPs.

Suella Braverman (Photo by ISABEL INFANTES/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Mohnish Singh

Britain’s Home Secretary Suella Braverman on Wednesday pledged to work hard to destroy the business model of “people smugglers” after the deaths of four migrants attempting to cross the English Channel to reach the UK border illegally in a small boat.

As a major search and rescue operation was mounted, the Indian-origin home minister issued a statement in the House of Commons to update Parliament on the incident.

Around 43 migrants have been rescued alive in the operation that began in the early hours of Wednesday after their small boat capsized amid freezing temperatures.

“There is a multi-agency response to this terrible tragedy,” Braverman told MPs.

“These are the days that we dread. Crossing the Channel in unseaworthy vessels is a lethally dangerous endeavour. It is for this reason above all that we are working so hard to destroy the business model of the people smugglers, evil, organised criminals who treat human beings as cargo,” she said.

The minister referred to British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s announcement to Parliament on Tuesday that a new permanent, unified small boats operational command will be formed to bring together military and civilian capabilities and the UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA).

Braverman said the latest incident shows why new legislation, to be introduced next year, is needed which will make it “clear that if someone comes to the UK illegally, they should not be able to remain here” and will be “detained and swiftly returned to either their home country or to a safe country where their claim for asylum will be considered”.

“Late or spurious claims and appeals will not be possible, and once someone has been removed they will have no right to re-entry, settlement or citizenship,” she told Parliament.

Earlier, Sunak opened his weekly Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) by expressing his “sorrow” at the capsizing of a small boat and the tragic loss of human life.

“Our hearts go out to all those affected and our tributes to those involved in the extensive rescue operation,” the British Indian leader said.

Opposition Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer added: “Our prayers go out to those who capsized in freezing waters of the Channel last night.

“It’s a reminder that the criminal gangs running those routes put the lives of the desperate at risk and profit from their misery. They must be broken up and brought to justice.” Thousands of people make dangerous journeys from various European countries and further afield in small boats and dinghies in an attempt to cross into the UK illegally and claim asylum.

The issue has been identified by the Sunak-led government as a priority, with a boost in border staff members to process claims speedily among the key plans unveiled this week.


Eastern Eye

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