Tory MP demands immediate return of Channel migrants to France in Chinooks

Six dead and more than 50 rescued after boat carrying migrants sinks in Channel

A senior Conservative MP has said the “national crisis” of Britain’s borders is now so dire that bold emergency measures must be put in place to stop the crossings.

Craig Mackinlay has told the Express that the latest setback from Brussels, who it has emerged crushed hopes for a renewed returns agreement, is merely the “tail-end” of a wider EU failure and a collapse in the political bloc’s borders.

The senior MP now says the “illegal entries of predominantly young men of unknown provenance is now clearly a national crisis with emergency measures needed”.

He said: “Niceties of interpretations of international law, and squeals from the left, need to be set aside in favour of robust action.”

Mr Mackinlay has outlined a bold plan to take back control of Britain’s porous borders and stop the crossings.

READ MORE: EU blocks deal which would allow Channel migrants to be sent back to France

He said: “I’d favour an immediate unilateral return to France, preferably by Chinook helicopter direct from the point of landing.”

The bold plan of action from the Thanet MP comes as he blasted Britain’s failure to advance any policies to stop the boats.

He said: “Plan A of Rwanda is stuck in the courts. Plan B of Barges has not been a proven success. My Plan C for Chinook may at least bear fruit.”

Echoing the Express’s call for France to get on and use the £500million given over by British taxpayers to stop the boats, Mr Mackinlay says: “The problem of the channel dinghy crossings could be solved in a week if the French were to do what UK taxpayers have paid hundreds of £millions for them to do – simply stopping the beach launchings and with it the illegal, dangerous but highly profitable trafficking trade”.

Reacting to the news that Brussels has shot down any hope of a new returns agreement with Britain, fellow Tory MP Jonathan Gullis told the Express it sounds like “petty bitterness over Brexit”.

He said: “The UK and EU are equally impacted by the mass migration we are currently seeing, and until they see deportations for those who illegally come across the English Channel, then smugglers will only encourage more people to needlessly risk their lives.”

The ramping up of Tory divisions over small boats comes as an increasing number of Conservatives call for Britain to quit the European Convention on Human Rights – seen by many as a key obstacle to stopping the boats.

Asked last week whether the Government could quit the top European body if it loses the forthcoming Rwanda court appeal, Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick said: “We’ll do whatever is necessary ultimately, to defend our borders and to bring order to the asylum system”.

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According to the Telegraph, at least eight Cabinet Ministers are in favour of quitting the ECHR.

A vote in Parliament last year, in which members of the Tory Government payroll were banned from participating, demonstrated a groundswell of support among backbench Conservative MPs for leaving the body.

A total of 69 Tory MPs backed calls to quit if it meant allowing Britain to take back control of its borders.

Responding to the news Brussels poured cold water on a new returns agreement, a Government source said: “The UK working closely with our international partners, including the EU and member states.

“We’re focusing on breaking business models of people traffickers and working to agree on a framework for cooperation between border forces.”

The Government argues a returns agreement is just one of many routes being tested by Rishi Sunak and Suella Braverman, but the priority is the Frontex arrangement agreed between Mr Sunak and Ursula von der Leyen in March.

The Frontex plan involves the body and UK agencies working together on critical operation challenges in the Channel.

Craig Mackinlay blasted Frontex, however, calling it a “failed EU system which is failing the EU’s own external borders”.

Despite the knockback, a Government source told the Telegraph Mr Sunak remains “open” to a returns agreement.

He said: “We remain open to working with the EU to take forward negotiations on a UK-EU returns deal, as part of our international efforts to tackle illegal migration and to crack down on these exploitative gangs.”

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