The UK government will give the French government tens of millions of pounds to stop boat migrants yet again, but there will be no target for reducing crossings and no indication of whether the policy will even work.
Since 2015, a succession of Conservative (Tory) Party prime ministers has made several transfers to the French government totalling hundreds of millions of pounds in the hope that this will persuade them to stop illegal aliens from using their beaches as a launchpad to Britain.
However, the annual influx has continued to rise year after year — and has risen exponentially.
The recent £63 million tranche of funding to France includes a pledge to increase patrols by 40% and reinforce them with British personnel — but no plans for boat migrants who arrive in the UK to be transferred back to France, which would be by far the most obvious way of discouraging them.
Even so, the British government has refused to say whether it believes the agreement with France will reduce the number of migrants crossing the Channel at all, and Downing Street has confirmed that no reduction target was included in it.
“It’s really important you understand that we are we are dealing with an evolving situation,” insisted James Cleverly, the Foreign Secretary, in comments to the BBC — as if “the situation” has not in fact been a fairly consistent one involving migrants in France and Belgium — safe, European Union member-states — paying criminal people-smugglers to carry them to Britain in small boats, and the authorities declining to turn them around, since at least 2018.
Alp Mehmet of the Migration Watch UK think tank, which has been pressing the Conservatives for over a decade to keep their serially broken promises on reducing mass migration, both legal and illegal, was also unimpressed by the scheme.
“Working with France on this crisis is great,” he said in a press release. “But the public will be forgiven for seeing this latest, more-of-the-same, agreement as another one throwing good money after bad.”
“What remains puzzling for most people is why France is willing to stop migrants from setting out from its shores but refuses to take back those migrants if they slip through and are apprehended by the British.”