Operation Sophia

Oral Answers to Questions — Defence – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 27th November 2017.

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Photo of Mark Lancaster Mark Lancaster The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence

The UK has been involved in the European Union’s Operation Sophia in the central Mediterranean since its start in June 2015. Since then, Royal Navy vessels have saved over 12,500 lives and over 500 smuggling vessels have been destroyed.

Photo of Alex Burghart Alex Burghart Conservative, Brentwood and Ongar

I thank the Minister for that response. It is welcome that Operation Sophia has saved so many lives, but it is clearly failing to disrupt human trafficking in the way that was intended. Will he talk to our European partners to ensure that it can be recalibrated to achieve that goal?

Photo of Mark Lancaster Mark Lancaster The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence

We routinely assess our contribution against the operation’s core objectives. We recognise that it has not prevented the flow of migrants, but it has lessened the ability of smugglers to operate in international waters, and forms just one part of a wider Government strategy.