HOME Secretary Priti Patel promised to crack down on illegal immigration amid the crisis in the port of Dover following outcry from grassroots Tories.
During a recent Q&A commissioned by the Conservative Party’s newsletter, Home Secretary Priti Patel said she would crack down on illegal immigration and crime and criticised London’s Labour Mayor Sadiq Khan over his cuts to the police.
When asked about curbing illegal immigration coming from France, of which so far over 3,000 have done so this year, she stated that the high numbers were ‘unacceptably high’, noting that ‘France is a safe and prosperous country with a well-run asylum system’, and refugees should seek asylum there, not the UK.
She stated that she was ‘determined to stop this criminal trade and stop these crossings’, henceforth she ‘signed an agreement with the French to create a joint intelligence cell which will crack down on the gangs behind this vile people-smuggling operation’, noting how impressed she’s been with her ‘French counterpart’ so far.
She was then asked about raising the profile of the police to increase public support for them, she noted that it was one of her ‘top priorities since becoming Home Secretary’, hence why she had ‘delivered a £1.1 billion funding boost for our forces’, while planning to ‘meet our promise and recruit 20,000 more officers by 2023’. She also promised to work on, and highlight the ‘diversity’ of the various police forces around the country, planning to recruit more ‘women and ethnic minorities’ in to the job, noting that people would ‘see officers from all walks of life feature in our recruitment campaign’. This goes along with her plans to increase diversity training in the Home Office, comments of which have caused some controversy.
On the topic of London Mayor Sadiq Khan cutting London’s police, of which the questioner accused Khan of destroying our ‘once beautiful city’, she claimed that there was ‘no justifiable reason for Sadiq Khan to be cutting support for London’s police force’, noting her ‘additional £191.2 million for London this year to recruit an additional 1,036 officers by March 2021’, calling Khan’s cuts ‘unnecessary’. She felt that Khan should ‘focus less on governing through press releases and more on keeping Londoners safe’.
When asked about reducing criminality, especially among those of ‘disadvantaged backgrounds’, she stated that ‘Preventing vulnerable children and young people from being drawn into crime and violence is the most effective way to tackle youth offending’. Therefore, she stated that ‘the Government has increased local government funding this year, including additional money for social services, and is investing £200 million in the Youth Endowment Fund to steer young people away from becoming involved in crime, by identifying early indicators such as truancy, substance misuse and family factors like parental criminality’. She also noted the ‘£500 million in new youth services and youth clubs nationally’ that the Conservative Party were funding.
She also responded to a question asking about balancing genuine asylum seekers – like those of Christian origin fleeing the Middle East and North Africa – with controlling borders and immigration, she stated that she remained ‘committed to welcoming those fleeing from persecution and terror to this country’, owing to the UK’s history on the subject matter. She noted that ‘Our country is a world leader in global resettlement and our flagship Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme has resettled over 18,000 since 2014, and in 2018, we resettled more refugees than any other EU member state’. She also boasted about the recent decision to allow in 3.3 million Hong Kongers due to recent crackdowns by the Chinese state against them, claiming that ‘the UK will never duck our responsibilities to vulnerable people around the world who genuinely need our support’.
Patel has been the Conservative Party’s Home Secretary since 2019, and had previously served as the MP for Witham since 2010. She has previously served several Cabinet positions before, including those of Minister of State for Employment and International Development Secretary. She has previously caused controversy, mainly due to her involvement in the 2012 political book Britannia Unchained – which accused British workers of being the ‘worst idlers in the world’ – and meeting Israeli officials without telling the Home Office, leading to her resignation from the Cabinet in 2017. Her handling of the illegal immigration crisis has received a mixed response, leading some MPs to take action, like those of Romford’s Conservative Andrew Rosindell, who has written letters to her expressing a desire to tackle the problem.
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