Tory MP tells Patel money to halt migrant boats is wasted
Handing £55m to French authorities to clamp down on people crossing the Channel in small boats is “throwing good money after bad”, the home secretary has been told by a Tory colleague as she was questioned by MPs.
Priti Patel revealed on Tuesday she had agreed to pay the sum as part of a deal with France to double the number of officers patrolling the French coast. The announcement came after 430 people arrived on British shores in small boats on Monday, a record for a single day. A further 287 reached the UK on Tuesday, bringing the total for the year to at least 8,452, according to official data compiled by PA Media.
Appearing before the Commons home affairs select committee yesterday, Patel defended the payment as part of efforts to reduce the number of crossings, despite already paying France around £28m last year for the same purpose.
Tim Loughton, a Tory member of the committee, said: “Since that time, the number of interceptions by the French has actually fallen.”
Referring to the most recent £55m instalment, he asked: “Isn’t that throwing good money after bad?”
Patel said: “This is an evolving situation, the numbers of migrants attempting these crossings from France has increased considerably.
“Our operational partners have seen complete change in modus operandi in terms of the crossings.”
She said there was now a “widespread dispersal” of launches along the entire French coastline.
Loughton told Patel she was being “fobbed off with excuses”.