We must ‘smash’ smugglers who ‘treat humans as cargo’, vows Priti Patel following migrant deaths in Channel

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PRITI Patel today vowed to “smash” the evil smugglers who “treat human beings as cargo” following yesterday’s tragic deaths in the Channel.

The Home Secretary said there was “no quick fix” to end the “desperately unsafe” crossings but pleaded with the French to allow British cops on their beaches.

Priti Patel giving a statement on the tragedy

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Priti Patel giving a statement on the tragedy
Migrants are led ashore in Dover this morning by RNLI rescuers Credit: PA

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Migrants are led ashore in Dover this morning by RNLI rescuers Credit: PA

After an emergency call with her counterpart Gerald Darmanin, Ms Patel told MPs she “once again” made the offer that has been constantly rejected.

A pregnant woman and three kids were among the deaths in the Channel yesterday after their inflatable dinghy capsized.

Ms Patel told the Commons: “What happened yesterday was a dreadful shock, it was not a surprise but it is also a reminder of how vulnerable people are put at peril when in the hands of criminal gangs.

“There is also no quick fix. This is about addressing long-term pull factors, smashing the criminal gangs that treat human beings as cargo and tackling supply chains.”

Ms Patel said she also pressed France to agree to a returns policy so migrants who land in Britain know they’ll be sent back.

Just five out of more than 24,000 migrants who’ve made the crossing in small boats this year have been returned.

Ms Patel said more than 20,000 crossings have been stopped, and 17 organised gangs have been dismantled – but vowed to “strain every sinew” to do more.

Emmanuel Macron today snapped back at fury France wasn’t doing enough and insisted it was “totally mobilised”.

In key developments:

  • French cops sat idly by as 40 migrants set sail on another flimsy raft
  • Boris Johnson accused French authorities of allowing migrant
  • The inflatable dinghy that sank in Channel, killing 27, was ‘frail’ and like a ‘paddling pool’
  • UK asylum applications reached an almost two-decade high

During a fiery Commons session angry Tory MPs called for urgent action before the government’s tough new laws enter into force.

Sir Edward Leigh called yesterday’s deaths were “an appalling and entirely foreseeable tragedy” and said the crisis was a “national emergency”.

He urged Ms Patel to copy Australia that uses offshore processing centres and Greece that pushes boats back.

The senior Tory said: ” We have to face down the human rights lawyers. If governments are weak people die .”

The Home Sec said has “not ruled anything out”.

Boris Johnson called the horror a “disaster” and lashed out at evil smuggling gangs he said were “literally getting away with murder”.

In a call with Emmanuel Macron last night he urged the French to step up patrols to stop more making the dangerous crossings.

Alarming pictures of French police sitting idly by while the migrants launched their rickety craft sparked fury in Britain.

The PM’s official spokesman today confirmed the UK has “on a number of occasion” offered to put British cops and border force guards on Calais beaches.

Britain has agreed to pay France £54million for increased patrols but has so far not revealed how much of the money has been wired.

Downing Street said: “We’ve provided the £54 million so they can put in more resources, both on the beaches but beyond that as well to incept those asylum seekers that are making the crossing and to clampdown on the criminal gangs.

“We continue to offer more resources and personnel to the French in terms of things like joint controls, which continues to be an open offer and we know that discussions are ongoing on that.”

It came as new stats revealed more migrants tried claiming asylum in the UK this year than at any point in almost two decades.

The 37,562 applications in the 12 months to September are the highest since 2004 – and even more than the 2015-16 European migration crisis.

A steep rise of claims from Iranians, Eritreans, Albanians and Syrians helped send the total soaring.

Claims from Taliban-seized Afghanistan also increased by more than a third, the Home Office figures show. 

This is the first picture of an inflatable dinghy that sank in the Channel, killing 27 migrants Credit: Sky News

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This is the first picture of an inflatable dinghy that sank in the Channel, killing 27 migrants Credit: Sky News
Immigration minister Kevin Foster emphasises dangers of Channel crossing after UK offerer resources to France to prevent it

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