Debates between Giles Watling and Chris Philp during the 2019 Parliament

Wed 2nd September 2020
3 interactions (344 words)
Mon 8th June 2020
6 interactions (384 words)

Channel Crossings in Small Boats

Debate between Giles Watling and Chris Philp
Wednesday 2nd September 2020

(1 year, 1 month ago)

Commons Chamber

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Home Office
Chris Philp Portrait Chris Philp
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When it comes to helping vulnerable people, it is far more effective to help those who are in dangerous locations rather than shipping people from, say, Spain to the United Kingdom, because countries like Spain are already safe countries. As I say, we do more than our fair share when it comes to protecting vulnerable people. I have already referenced the fact that we have the highest number of UASCs of any European country, and our resettlement programme, in the five years from 2015 to 2020, took in more people directly from conflict zones than any other European country. So any suggestion that this country is not doing its fair share is completely wrong and completely misguided.

Giles Watling Portrait Giles Watling (Clacton) (Con)
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2 Sep 2020, midnight

This issue just seems to be maundering on and on; we keep coming back to it again and again. On 9 June this year, I asked Ministers about this issue, as my constituents in Clacton expect this matter to be dealt with—it is what they voted for. People’s lives are at risk. Criminal gangs are getting rich and it has to stop, so what concrete progress has been made since I last asked this question? I reiterate that we need to get the French navy to step up to the plate and take those people off the boats in international waters. How are we going to ensure that that happens, and soon?

Chris Philp Portrait Chris Philp
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Since we last spoke, the French officers operating on or near French beaches have stopped hundreds of crossing attempts—they have stopped about 3,000 crossing attempts so far this year. We have also established the joint intelligence cell that I mentioned earlier, and intelligence passed from the National Crime Agency here in the UK to our French counterparts contributed, I believe, to 84 crossing attempts being prevented this morning alone, so that is good progress. However, there is undoubtedly more that needs to be done, because these crossings are continuing at frankly unacceptable levels, and negotiations and discussions are continuing as we speak with our French colleagues to step up our efforts and activities even more.

Oral Answers to Questions

Debate between Giles Watling and Chris Philp
Monday 8th June 2020

(1 year, 4 months ago)

Commons Chamber

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Home Office
Giles Watling Portrait Giles Watling (Clacton) (Con)
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What steps her Department is taking to stop migrants crossing the English Channel illegally. [903019]

Chris Philp Portrait The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (Chris Philp)
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I am very glad that this question has arisen. We should be absolutely clear that these crossings of the English channel are extremely dangerous. They are crossing the busiest shipping lines in the world. They are facilitated by criminal gangs who are ruthlessly exploiting vulnerable people. The crossings are also entirely unnecessary because France is a safe country and it has a very well-established and functioning asylum system. We are therefore working with our French counterparts around the clock, sharing intelligence between our National Crime Agency and the French authorities, to stop illegally facilitated crossings and to prevent on-the-beach embarkations.

--- Later in debate ---
Chris Philp Portrait Chris Philp
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8 Jun 2020, 12:04 a.m.

I entirely agree with the point my hon. Friend makes, and with the similar points made by my hon. Friend the Member for Dover (Mrs Elphicke), on this topic. We have a points-based system coming into force shortly. We granted asylum or protection to 20,000 people last year, one of the highest figures in Europe, and we welcomed 3,000 unaccompanied asylum-seeking children, the highest number of any country in Europe. Our legal migration methods are entirely fair. We should therefore be policing illegal migration routes with complete effectiveness, and the Home Secretary and I are determined to do that.

Giles Watling Portrait Giles Watling
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I thank my hon. Friend for his earlier answer, but we know that the migrants, as they cross the channel, sometimes threaten the French navy that they will throw themselves or their children into the sea. That is an appalling act, and we need to get the French navy to step up to the plate and take those people off the boats in international waters. What are we doing now to ensure that this happens?

Chris Philp Portrait Chris Philp
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8 Jun 2020, 12:05 a.m.

Discussions are under way between the UK Government and the French Government. Indeed, I am speaking to my opposite number, the French deputy Interior Minister, Monsieur Nunez, on Thursday this week. There is more we are doing as well, including working with the French OCRIEST, the French gendarmes and the Police aux Frontières—the PAF—to ensure that as many of those embarkations are stopped before they even get on to the water. About 50% are stopped before they get on to the water, but we would like that number to be a great deal higher.