- The UK government considered creating a wave machine in order to stop migrants crossing the English Channel to the UK from France.
- The Financial Times on Wednesday reported that the Home Office discussed a plan to install boats with pumps generating waves in the Channel.
- The idea was dismissed due to the risk that they would cause small boats to capsize.
- The UK is currently experiencing record numbers of people claiming asylum who are crossing the Channel from France, with 7,000 people estimated to have arrived in the UK in small boats this year.
- Labour’s shadow home secretary said: ‘This is a vile example of how degraded an environment the Tories have created.’
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The UK government has considered plans to build wave machines designed to stop migrants crossing the English Channel from France
The Financial Times on Wednesday reported that the Home Office discussed a plan to instal boats with pumps generating waves in the Channel, before the idea was dismissed due to the risk that they would cause boats to capsize.
Officials also considered whether it might be possible to link a series of small boats together in order to form a physical barrier to deter migrants, the FT reported.
Labour’s shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds criticised the mooted plans, tweeting: “This is a vile example of how degraded an environment the Tories have created. The Windrush Review was damning about the inhumane culture they have created at the Home Office. They’ve learned nothing.”
The UK is currently experiencing record numbers of people claiming asylum who are crossing the Channel from France, with 7,000 people estimated to have arrived in the UK in small boats this year, according to PA Media.
Patel in August said the number of crossings was “appalling and unacceptably high” and said she was working to make the route “unviable.”
Multiple reports appearing in Thursday’s newspapers, outline other “blue-sky” plans discussed by her department to deter migrants.
The story began when the Financial Times reported on Tuesday that Patel had asked officials to consider opening an immigration center on Ascension Island, which is in the South Atlantic.
Downing Street on Wednesday did not deny the plans, with a Number 10 spokesman saying: “As part of this work we’ve been looking at what a whole host of other countries do to inform a plan for the United Kingdom.”
A further report in The Times on Thursday claimed that the government is considering processing asylum seekers on disused ferries moored off the UK coast, a plan which a government official confirmed to Politico remains under consideration.
A report in the Mail claimed that the government could alternatively open an immigration facility in the Isle of Wight, the Shetlands, or the Isle of Man.
Allies of Patel suspect that civil servants have leaked details of the plans in order to invite mockery against her following the dismissal of Philip Rutnam, the well-liked permanent secretary at the Home Office who is seeking a claim for constructive dismissal from his post after accusing Patel of belittling officials in meetings.
A Whitehall source told Politico Playbook on Wednesday evening: “There is a rotten core of civil servants who have never gotten over Brexit, want revenge for the incompetent Rutnam and fear the hard rain that is coming. They’re the enemy within and will be rooted out.”
Another ally of Patel said that some of the “blue-sky” ideas had in fact originated at the Cabinet Office, where Michael Gove is the secretary of state, according to Politico.
But a Cabinet office official dismissed the idea, telling Politico: “Do you really think the Cabinet Office is spending its time working out how to pump waves across the Channel to France? This nonsense is coming from braindead morons in the Home Office.”
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