Sir Keir Starmer accused of 'trying to thwart efforts to stop boats crossing the Channel'

Sir Keir Starmer accused of 'trying to thwart efforts to stop boats crossing the Channel'

Updated: 3 months, 1 day, 20 hours, 28 minutes, 37 seconds ago

Sir Keir Starmer sought to change the law so Channel migrants with a ‘fear of return’ could qualify for asylum, it has emerged.

The Labour leader also tried to ensure small boats arriving in UK waters could not be pushed back at sea.

He was accused of ‘trying to thwart efforts to stop boats crossing the Channel’ after his comments from 2015 were unearthed.

They show Sir Keir - then the shadow immigration minister under Jeremy Corbyn - wanted to change the law so that migrants crossing the Channel who expressed a ‘fear of return’ may qualify for asylum.

The Labour leader (pictured) also tried ensure small boats arriving in UK waters could not be pushed back at sea The Labour leader (pictured) also tried ensure small boats arriving in UK waters could not be pushed back at sea

The Labour leader (pictured) also tried ensure small boats arriving in UK waters could not be pushed back at sea

An amendment, which was dropped, to the Immigration Bill said: ‘If in the course of questioning or otherwise a person expresses to or in the presence of an immigration officer, a fear of return that may be a claim for asylum then the person shall be taken to the UK for that case to be considered.’

Sir Keir also sought assurances that powers granted in the Bill would not be used to push back asylum seekers at sea.

Tory MP Lee Anderson told the Mail: ‘These comments show Keir Starmer was trying to thwart efforts to stop boats crossing the Channel as far back as 2015, when he was serving in Corbyn’s team.

Tory MP Lee Anderson (pictured) told the Mail: ‘These comments show Keir Starmer was trying to thwart efforts to stop boats crossing the Channel as far back as 2015, when he was serving in Corbyn’s team.' Tory MP Lee Anderson (pictured) told the Mail: ‘These comments show Keir Starmer was trying to thwart efforts to stop boats crossing the Channel as far back as 2015, when he was serving in Corbyn’s team.'

 Tory MP Lee Anderson (pictured) told the Mail: ‘These comments show Keir Starmer was trying to thwart efforts to stop boats crossing the Channel as far back as 2015, when he was serving in Corbyn’s team.'

‘He has spent years campaigning to keep freedom of movement and it once again shows that Labour have no interest in protecting our borders or controlling immigration.’

Almost 40,000 people have crossed the English Channel in small boats so far this year, provisional Government figures show. 

The Ministry of Defence recorded 46 people arriving in one boat on Monday.

Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick acknowledged that the number could reach 50,000 by the end of the year.

Sir Keir also sought assurances that powers granted in the Bill would not be used to push back asylum seekers at sea (Pictured: An inflatable craft carrying migrant men, women and children crosses the shipping lane in the English Channel in July) Sir Keir also sought assurances that powers granted in the Bill would not be used to push back asylum seekers at sea (Pictured: An inflatable craft carrying migrant men, women and children crosses the shipping lane in the English Channel in July)

Sir Keir also sought assurances that powers granted in the Bill would not be used to push back asylum seekers at sea (Pictured: An inflatable craft carrying migrant men, women and children crosses the shipping lane in the English Channel in July)

Last year Sir Keir accused the Government of failing to deliver on its pledges to tackle the migrant crisis, and said the UK had not secured ‘strong’ agreements with France.

‘The Home Secretary repeatedly says in strong language what she is going to do about the immediate problem and delivers absolutely nothing,’ he told the BBC at the time.

‘You have got to do the work upstream otherwise you will never solve this problem.’

A Labour Party spokesman said: ‘Keir has been consistent. The Labour Party has been consistent. What isn’t consistent is a Tory government’s excuses and scapegoating for why after 12 years, on their watch, 40,000 people are crossing the channel this year.

‘The Government has failed miserably. Labour is urging them to get a grip: fix their system, take stronger action, and implement Labour’s 5 point plan to prevent the dangerous boats crossing the Channel.’

hit counter