Illegal Seaborne Migration - Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 4:51 pm on 5th June 2019.

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Photo of Baroness Williams of Trafford Baroness Williams of Trafford The Minister of State, Home Department, Minister for Equalities (Department for International Development) 4:51 pm, 5th June 2019

I thank the noble Lord for his questions. Most of the people who cross the Channel do claim asylum and the vast majority of them are Iranian men. He asked what work the UK is doing with the French to address this problem further. I referred to the joint action plan in the Statement. In more detail, it includes: over £6 million, or €7 million, of investment in new security equipment; increased CCTV coverage of beaches and ports; air surveillance, shared intelligence and a mutual commitment to conduct returns as quickly as possible under international and domestic laws. Just over half of that investment will come from the £44.5 million already allocated under the Sandhurst treaty agreement on UK-France co-operation, signed by the PM and President Macron in January 2018. In addition, there is £3.2 million of new funding for equipment and measures to tackle illegal migration by small boats, such as CCTV, night goggles and number plate recognition capability, which I think noble Lords would agree will help the UK and France to crack down on illegal activity.

To answer a further question asked by the noble Lord on determining asylum claims, we try to do that within six months. He asked a final question—