Iain Duncan Smith backs Home Secretary on response to migrants trying to cross the English channel in small boats

7th January 2019

Following the Home Secretary’s statement on the Government response to migrants trying to cross the English channel in small boats, Iain Duncan Smith backs the focus on the safety and security of the people attempting this dangerous crossing and asks how long these people have spent in France without declaring themselves as asylum seekers.

My right hon. Friend is absolutely right to stress the safety and security of the people who try this most dangerous crossing. Given that, he is also right to say that people should claim asylum in the first safe country they come to—France is clearly that country—and for one very good reason: if they do not do so they will live in squalor while they seek to get across the channel, putting their own lives at risk. Has the Home Secretary checked how long the people trying to cross the channel have spent in France without declaring themselves as asylum seekers?

I agree very much with my right hon. Friend. It is not always possible to get a definitive answer. Many people are using France as a transit country: in many cases, they have entered through another EU country. The principle is very important. Those who encourage people not to claim asylum in the first safe country are encouraging them to take this dangerous journey and they should reflect on that.