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Major Incident in Essex

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:43 pm on 28th October 2019.

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Photo of Priti Patel Priti Patel The Secretary of State for the Home Department 3:43 pm, 28th October 2019

I thank the right hon. Lady for her remarks. There are a number of points I would like to make.

First, the right hon. Lady is absolutely right about the first responders. They cannot unsee what they have experienced and seen through this awful crime. Secondly, she is right to recognise the scale of trafficking and the inhumanity—there is no other word that can describe it—of the perpetrators behind not only this crime but modern slavery, people smuggling and human trafficking.

The right hon. Lady specifically asked about checks at eastern ports. Those ports are not as vast as others and do not necessarily have the large amounts of freight coming through. She will have heard me remark in my statement that, with regard to Purfleet, Border Force will obviously now be increasing its presence, but it will also be working with Essex police on targeting and on the response it needs to the incident itself, providing further information about what has happened.

The right hon. Lady asked about security and the drivers in terms of working in co-operation and in partnership with other agencies. Of course, that is exactly what we are doing right now. The National Crime Agency is, rightly, taking the lead on this investigation. As I said in my statement, it is a complicated investigation, and we are working with a number of agencies across the European Union, and with others, because of the routes that have been taken. I have no doubt that, over time, we will hear much more, and a lot more information will come out in due course.

The right hon. Lady specifically asked about Brexit and security co-operation. I would just say to the House that the way in which we can absolutely ensure that we have the strongest possible co-operation is by having a deal. That is exactly the Government’s position and I would like the right hon. Lady and her party to support it.

On co-operation and security tools, there are no boundaries when it comes to our co-operation. The United Kingdom will remain one of the safest countries in the world, as well as a global leader on security.