Illegal Migration: English Channel

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

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Photo of Chris Philp Chris Philp The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

Article 31 of the refugee convention, to which I think the hon. and learned Lady was referring, makes it clear that the prohibition on criminalisation of entry applies only to people who are directly—I use the word “directly”—entering a state from somewhere that is unsafe. I respectfully point out that France is not unsafe; France is a safe country.

On the hon. and learned Lady’s question about safe and legal routes, there are a large number of such routes and around about half the people who come here to claim asylum already do so via legal routes. In addition to that, for the past five years we have been running the resettlement programme, taking people directly from conflict zones—for example, Syria—and bringing them to the United Kingdom. Over that five-year period some 25,000 people, half of whom are children, have come via the resettlement route. The resettlement route—a safe and legal route of the kind for which the hon. and learned Lady calls—is the largest resettlement programme of any European country. We have a proud record of supporting people in genuine need and we will continue to do so.

On the hon. and learned Lady’s last question, I of course completely support the Home Secretary and we will continue to fight vexatious, last-minute legal claims when it is appropriate to do so.