Illegal Migration: English Channel

Part of Home Department – in the House of Commons on 9th November 2020.

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Photo of Joanna Cherry Joanna Cherry Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Justice and Home Affairs), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Justice), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Home Affairs)

May I start by extending my sympathies to the relatives and friends of all who have died attempting these crossings?

As a matter of international law, entering a state to seek asylum without a visa is not illegal—I am happy to share with the Minister the advice from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees on the matter—but the crossings are certainly most irregular and very unsafe. Rather than fanning the flames of people’s desperation for political reasons, would it not be better for the Minister to focus on creating safe legal routes for asylum seekers? While he is attending to that, will he encourage the Home Secretary to stop her anti-lawyer rhetoric and acknowledge that there is a responsibility on politicians and other public figures to avoid saying anything that could make tensions worse or put people’s lives at risk?