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Home Office in the media

Home Office in the media blog: Friday 4 January

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Home Office in the media

Today’s Home Office stories include coverage of Channel migrant crossings, Northern Ireland police and an assessment of the Immigration White Paper.

Channel migrant crossings

There is widespread coverage in the Telegraph, Times, Guardian, FT, Mail, Independent, Express, Sun, and Metro covering the latest on the Channel migrant crossings.

The Telegraph reports that the Home Secretary is in talks with his French counterpart to send migrants crossing the Channel by boat back to France rather than allowing them to seek asylum in Britain.

The Telegraph, Times, FT, Mail, Independent and the Today Programme report that the Home Secretary has agreed that the Home Office will pay the Ministry of Defence the reported £20,000 a day required to deploy HMS Mersey.

The Guardian, Express and Mirror report that the Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has “backed” the Home Secretary after he was criticised for questioning whether people crossing the Channel in small boats were “genuine” asylum seekers.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid said:

My focus continues to be on protecting the UK border and preventing loss of life in the Channel. For these reasons, the Government has decided to deploy a navy vessel, HMS Mersey, to support our existing efforts. This will be an interim measure while the two Border Force cutters I have redeployed from abroad make their way back to UK waters.

It is vital that we are working on all fronts to tackle this ongoing situation and I am grateful to Border Force and other agencies for the tireless work they have done in response to this activity.

1,000 police officers on standby for Brexit chaos in Northern Ireland

The Guardian splash reports that almost 1,000 police officers from England and Scotland are to start training to deal with unrest that could be prompted by a no-deal Brexit.

The paper says the plans were put in place after the Police Service of Northern Ireland “asked for reinforcements to deal with any trouble arising from a hard border” and that training is expected to begin next month.
The paper says that the prospect of large numbers of English and Scottish officers on Northern Ireland’s streets could anger republicans and complicate efforts to restore the power-sharing executive at Stormont.

A Home Office spokesperson said:

We are committed to managing the policing implications of EU Exit in the UK through a collective approach, despite the devolution of policing in Northern Ireland and Scotland.

Decisions about specific training or mutual assistance are operational matters for the police.

Migration Watch report on Immigration White Paper

The Daily Express and Sun both carry think tank Migration Watch’s response to the Immigration White Paper.

The Express says that the report’s analysis shows that there were no measures to cap migration, and that there would still be free movement for EU citizens to come to the UK and possibly wider access for migrants from outside the block.

Migration Watch’s chairman, Lord Green, is quoted throughout coverage saying that the White Paper is “a betrayal of all those who voted for Brexit in the expectation that immigration would be reduced.”

A Home Office spokesperson said:

As the Home Secretary emphasised when announcing the future immigration White Paper, we are delivering on the referendum result by ending free movement and remain committed to reducing net migration to sustainable levels.

For the first time in a generation, we will have control of our immigration system. The new skills-based immigration system will allow us to attract the talented workers we need but everyone coming to the UK for work or study will need to get permission before doing so.

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