Priti Patel’s threat to send the Royal Navy to the English Channel has been ridiculed and her department’s border policy questioned on Twitter.
The Home Secretary’s threats follow suggestions that a record number of migrants crossed the Channel on Thursday.
The BBC reports that as many as 235 migrants have made the perilous journey across the British maritime border with France, bringing the total arrivals since January to nearly 3,900.
According to a Home Office source in the Daily mail, Patel accused the French border force of deliberately allowing migrants to make the crossing and has now threatened to deploy the Royal Navy to tow the new arrivals to France.
This decision could be illegal under international maritime law and risks alienating the French government, which has partnered with the Interior Ministry to stem the flow of crossings.
Patel said the Navy could be used to deploy floating “dams” to block the passage of migrant dinghies or stop boats by obstructing their propellers with nets.
A government source acknowledged that these were “all [the] options considered ”. The source added: “She [Patel] instructed his officials to talk to the defense ministry about how we can proceed. She also asked for a discussion with the French Minister of the Interior, Gerald Darmanin.
People have expressed frustration with the approach on Twitter, while others have questioned its effectiveness.
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