Former Rear Admiral Dr Chris Parry has slammed the French authorities for failing to prevent record numbers of migrants from crossing the Channel to reach Britain.
The UK has now seen more than 10,000 new arrivals by dinghy this year, with some predicting that figure will treble by the end of 2021, and the former admiral believes that the French simply aren’t doing enough to stop the boats.
Speaking to Tom Swarbrick on LBC, Dr Parry dismissed the reasoning provided by French authorities who argue that maritime law dictates they can only step in and save migrants crossing in boats if they ask to be rescued.
“I think that is an excuse,” claimed the former admiral. “If they think that a crime is being committed in their territorial seas they are perfectly at liberty to go and find out what is going on.”
Radio host Swarbrick asked Dr Parry why the UK Home Office has handed £58 million to the French authorities and what they are supposed to be doing with the funds.
“It’s supposed to stop the migrants coming off the French coast but part of the problem is that the French aren’t doing their job very well.
“I think if you look at the various solutions which are available at the moment, on the real hard-edge you have the Australian method which is you tow people back like they did in the Pacific,” Parry said.
“Make it an offence to try and get into Australia and if you committed that offence then you’re never allowed to settle there and everybody else is processed offshore.
“The Government at the moment here in the UK would like to have a turn back policy but of course France won’t accept that.”
“The real way to deal with this is to have water-tight surveillance and interception on the French coast before these people actually get in the water, and that’s technically and tactically possible. The French aren’t co-operating to the extent that we can put that in place.”
Another 475 migrants on 15 boats reached the UK on Thursday, just shy of Wednesday’s record figure of 482 as calmer sailing conditions encouraged more undocumented migrants to make the trip.
The Clandestine Channel Threat Commander, Dan O’Mahoney called the numbers “unacceptable” and escorted Home Office minister Chris Philp to France on Thursday to discuss with the French authorities “what has gone wrong over the past few days”.