- Sir Keir Starmer Negotiates with Europol to Combat Human Trafficking Across the English Channel
- Controversy Over Potential Return Policy with Concerns of Accepting EU Migrants
- Labour Government’s Asylum and Immigration Plans in Case of Office, Including EU-Wide Returns Agreement
The leader of the Labour Party, who is in The Hague for negotiations with the EU agency, stated that the destruction of gangs should be viewed “on par” with terrorism.
Sir Keir stated that it was “embarrassing that the government is spewing this nonsense” and that his discussions focused on sharing information on people smuggling organizations to “prevent boats from entering the water in the first place.”
Gang bosses are now putting people on boats to cross the English Channel because the government has lost control.
“That’s why I’m here at Europol discussing how to improve intelligence sharing and joint operations to bring down these gangs.”
A Labour government, he added, would halt the use of hotels for asylum seekers within a year of taking office.
To clear the backlog of asylum cases, Labour has pledged to hire an additional one thousand caseworkers at the Home Office, create new asylum courts to expedite legal challenges, and establish a returns unit to expedite the removal of failed asylum applicants.
Sir Keir stated that “everyone” recognizes the necessity of a new EU-wide returns agreement.
In exchange for a deal, the Labour leader may accept a UK migrant quota. Sir Keir, when pressed by reporters on Thursday morning, refused to specify the number of asylum claimants he would be willing to accept as part of a deal.
He added that Labour is “not in a position to negotiate that, and that’s not what I’ve been discussing today.”
Robert Jenrick, the immigration minister, stated that under a returns agreement based on proposed EU migration rules, “Britain will be forced to take more than 100,000 illegal migrants from the safety of Europe each year, despite the desire of the British people to reduce numbers and stop boats.”
Mr. Jenrick stated, “Sir Keir is completely unprepared to make the difficult but necessary decisions to halt the boats, opting for the easy way out, which will not solve the issue. For all their political theatrics, Labour remains the party of unlimited and uncontrolled immigration.”
The 100,000 estimate comes from planned EU migrant quotas for member states based on population and economic strength.
Sir Keir said negotiations would not be affected by these restrictions since “we are not a member of the EU.”
Sir Keir admitted that negotiating stronger EU collaboration would be necessary but claimed that it would weaken his Brexit position.
In 2022, a total of 45,755 migrants crossed the English Channel, the highest number since data collection began in 2018. According to the most recent statistics, 23,382 individuals have made the crossing so far this year.
The Labour Party leader hopes a Europol accord will replace the EU’s live police data and intelligence-sharing system.
Labour has already pledged to abandon government plans to deport asylum applicants to Rwanda and instead increase funding for the National Crime Agency, which conducts anti-trafficking operations.
Mr. Jenrick has argued that Labour’s proposals “wouldn’t even stop the boats”
“The experience with Albania is you have to have a strong deterrent – that means you need a policy like our Rwanda plans,” he said.
More than a quarter of the migrants who arrived in the United Kingdom by small boat in 2015 were Albanian. Since the government signed a return agreement with Albania in December, the number has decreased by more than 90%.
The agreement between the European Union and the United Kingdom supplanted some of the previous arrangements, including a new surrender agreement to facilitate the transfer of dangerous criminals between the two territories.
In addition, there was a new agreement regarding the exchange of criminal record information, biometrics, and license plate information.
However, senior police have expressed concern that the EU’s criminal database, the Schengen Information System II (SIS II), was a quicker method of sharing police information than its replacement, I-24/7, which will be implemented after Brexit.