Illegal Seaborne Migration

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:16 pm on 4th June 2019.

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Photo of Caroline Nokes Caroline Nokes The Minister for Immigration 4:16 pm, 4th June 2019

The right hon. Lady is absolutely right to say that we should not seek just to make big announcements, which is why I am not making a big announcement on resettlement today, although I could have been tempted to do so by the previous question. I have always made my position clear, and I have worked closely with non-governmental organisations and Ministers across Government on resettlement. I am conscious that we should be proud of the vulnerable persons resettlement scheme, on which we have done, and continue to do, some fantastic work. It is important that we keep our commitment to resettling the most vulnerable individuals from very difficult parts of the world.

On the deployment in the channel, it is a matter of record that we had to bring cutters back from the Aegean. It was important to have a presence in the channel during the intervening period offering coverage in case there was an horrendous incident in which lives were in peril. It was better to have capacity in the shape of a Royal Navy ship than to have nothing. The Home Secretary made it clear that we should make the preservation of life and limb our priority and have the resources in place to rescue people if needed. We should be incredibly thankful that there was no such requirement while the Royal Navy was there in the channel.