The Royal Navy will no longer be responsible for migrants entering the UK illegally from next year. Prime Minister Boris Johnson gave the Royal Navy responsibility for migrants in the English Channel in April as part of a new plan to tackle illegal immigration.
The Royal Navy will divest itself of responsibility for illegal migrants in the Channel on January 31, 2023.
A government source told the Telegraph they wanted to return the charge to Border Force ‘unless there are ministerial actions’.
A MoD source has suggested the Navy will continue to patrol the English Channel and help if needed.
However, another source said the plan was to still review the plan by January 31, a year after the Royal Navy began operations.
A MoD spokesperson said: “As planned, MoD support to the Home Office will continue until January 2023 when operational and wider arrangements will be reviewed.
“We are working within government to ensure the conditions are in place for Defense to hand over the task to the Home Office after review, this includes supporting training and capability development.”
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Despite the responsibility of the Royal Navy, the number of migrants in the English Channel has increased considerably this year.
In 2022, more than 25,000 migrants attempted to cross the Channel compared to 8,466 in 2020 and 1,843 in 2019.
The Home Affairs Committee report on the policy said the Rwandan plan has not been effective.
They said: ‘There is no clear evidence the policy will deter migrants from crossing – numbers have risen significantly since it was announced in April.
The report says one explanation for the rise in Channel crossings could be that smugglers tell migrants to make the journey before the policy takes place.
“An explanation to [the rise in migrant crossings] can be attributed to the fearmongering of human traffickers, that due to new regulations coming in across the channel it will be much more difficult to access the UK in the future, so they better keep going,” the report said.
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Britain’s next prime minister will be tasked with setting a new immigration policy, as both Conservative Party leadership candidates have said the issue of migrants in the Channel is a priority.
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said she would “support and extend” Boris Johnson’s deportation policy in Rwanda.
Liz Truss said in an interview with ITV News: ‘We need to make sure the dreadful human traffickers don’t get the small boats across the Channel.
She continued: “I would support and extend the Rwandan policy to more countries, but I would also make sure in UK law that we cannot be overruled by the ECHR (European Court of Human Rights) so that we let’s be able to protect our borders.”
Former Chancellor Rishi Sunak ruled out withdrawing from the European Convention on Human Rights and would find another solution, but also backed Rwandan politics.
In an article in the Sun newspaper, Mr Sunak wrote: “People are tired of seeing small boats coming to this country, the authorities seeming powerless to stop them.
“I know Sun on Sunday readers are patriotic and generous people who want to help those who play by the rules and need our help.
“They are rightly puzzled as to why the government cannot stop boats from drifting onto UK beaches hour by hour.”