Deter asylum seekers but any solution must be ‘civilised’

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A group of people thought to be migrants arriving illegally in an inflatable boat at Kingsdown beach, near Dover, Kent, after crossing the English Channel. Source: PA

Tory MP Adam Holloway said the Home Office was “completely right” to look at ways of deterring asylum seekers from coming to the UK but called for any solution to be “civilised”.

It follows reports the Government has considered processing asylum seeker claims on Ascension Island, 4,000 miles from the UK, or even on ferries.

Mr Holloway told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I think there is a humanitarian duty to make sure people don’t make these extremely dangerous journeys and the only way you are going to do that is if you send out a message around the world that if you get to Europe or you get to Britain, you’re unlikely to stay there.

“You’ve got to have some sort of deterrent, you can’t just know that you get to Britain, you’ll be put in a hotel, you’ll eventually be housed and you’ll probably end up staying here.”

Asked what option he preferred, the Gravesham MP added: “Talk of oil rigs and Moldova and Papua New Guinea, to me, is somewhat bizarre.

“You’re determined for me to say it is a great idea to put people on islands – I’m not saying that.

“The Home Office is completely right to look at other options so there is some sort of deterrent but not the Australian model where you have poor welfare standards and everything else.

“We’ve got to find a civilised version of that.”

According to official estimates, by the end of August about 5,000 people had arrived in the UK in dinghies, compared to 1,890 in 2019.

September was a record month of migrant arrivals, with at least 1,880 crossing the Channel in tiny, often unseaworthy boats.

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