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Home Secretary Priti Patel to meet Italian counterpart Luciana Lamorgese in Rome over asylum crisis

The Home Secretary will tomorrow meet with her Italian counterpart to discuss illegal migration within Europe.

Priti Patel will meet Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese in Rome and they will also discuss the importance of joint working to deal with the problem.

Priti Patel
Priti Patel

Ms Patel will also meet with maritime officials and hear about the identification of vessels used for illegal migration.

The meeting follows last Wednesday's drowning of 27 asylum seekers off Calais after a dinghy capsized.

This was the worst tragedy to come from the present trend of people trying the UK by small vessels.

Ms Patel, speaking from Rome, said: “The appalling and tragic events in the Channel last week served as a reminder of how people are put at peril when in the hands of criminal gangs.

“It is not just in the Channel that we are seeing this appalling trade in human cargo or the weaponization of people.

The sunk dinghy off Calais after last week's mass deaths. Picture: Local lifeboat crew
The sunk dinghy off Calais after last week's mass deaths. Picture: Local lifeboat crew

"From the thousands of people being smuggled in boats into Europe from Africa or the ongoing scenes at the Poland / Belarus border – this crisis is truly a global one that requires global solutions.

“That is why countries across Europe must come together to respond and strengthen both our resolve and borders to disrupt this trade, and that is exactly why I am in Italy today.

“There is no silver bullet, or overnight solution, but we are implementing our New Plan for Immigration and Nationality and Borders Bill.

"This will overhaul the broken asylum system and reduce many of the historic pull factors by making it firmer on those coming to the UK through parallel illegal routes and fairer on those use our safe and legal asylum routes.”

The mass deaths were followed by a diplomatic spat between Britain and France leading to Ms Patel being disinvited to a meeting of Western European ministers on the crisis in Calais on Sunday.

Dover Western Docks where rescued asylum seekers are often first brought
Dover Western Docks where rescued asylum seekers are often first brought

The row had happened after Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted a letter meant for French President Emmanuel Macron.

That called for joint patrols on French beaches and the return to France of people who succeed in making the dangerous Channel crossing.

The tactic of using small vessels to reach the UK in dangerous crossings has continued regularly for three years, largely replacing the previously preferred method of stowing away in the backs of lorries.

Those arriving have landed on the Kent coast, from Thanet to Dungeness and also Sussex.

Many are rescued at sea by the RNLI or by the Border Force when they are taken straight to Dover Western Docks for interview and processing.

Two days before last week's tragedy more than 25,700 people were counted as making such a crossing so far in 2021, more than three times the number for all 2020.

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