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‘Stop making waves over refugees in the Channel’ Tower Hamlets mayor urges government

PUBLISHED: 10:00 15 October 2020 | UPDATED: 12:01 15 October 2020

Home Secretary Priti Patel... storm over machines to generate waves in the Channel. Picture inset: New European

Home Secretary Priti Patel... storm over machines to generate waves in the Channel. Picture inset: New European

New European

The Home Secretary should “apologise for inhumane proposals” on how to tackle waves of refugees, the mayor of Tower Hamlets is demanding.

John Biggs urging government not to make waves on immigration. Picture: London AssemblyJohn Biggs urging government not to make waves on immigration. Picture: London Assembly

Priti Patel has been looking into options for dealing with asylum seekers that include holding them on British islands the South Atlantic, on board disused ferries and on decommissioned oil rigs, leaked Home Office documents have revealed.

One proposal even suggests using machines “to generate waves” in the Channel to stop them crossing from the Continent.

The Mayor compared the leaked Home Office proposals to the “hostile environment” controversy under Theresa May in 2018 and urged the government to show compassion.

“Clearly ministers haven’t learned any of the lessons from their ‘hostile environment’ policies,” John Biggs said in a statement to the East London Advertiser.

Priti Patel on UK points-based immigration system speaking in the Commons, Picture: Commons/PA WirePriti Patel on UK points-based immigration system speaking in the Commons, Picture: Commons/PA Wire

“Moving refugees to holding pens on remote islands thousands of miles away and using wave generators against small and unsafe boats speaks volumes about the minister’s attitude to these vulnerable people.

“The Home Secretary really should apologise for her inhumane immigration proposals.”

The mayor, who represents a diverse East End historically friendly to waves of refugees fleeing persecution down the centuries, is supporting the House of Lords “for trying to add some compassion” into the government’s Immigration Bill.

“Hopefully the Home Secretary will listen and start to show some compassion,” he added.

Mayor Biggs... Mayor Biggs... "Using wave generators against small boats speaks volumes about minister'’s attitude." Picture inset: Mike Brooke

The government’s “hostile rhetoric” towards asylum seekers that has rippled through Parliament was rebuffed by the Lords last week, which flushed out the Immigration Bill.

Peers voted for a “watering down” amendment by Lord Dubs to ensure that the right to family reunion would continue after the Brexit transition period. It would mean that unaccompanied refugee children would still be reunited with close relatives in the UK.


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