Plans to use ‘pushback’ tactics against small boats in the Channel have been ditched by the Home Office, the immigration minister confirmed yesterday.
Robert Jenrick said analysis showed there were only ‘limited circumstances’ in which the turnaround idea could be deployed against dinghies.
He said the proposals were ‘currently withdrawn’ and there were ‘no current plans’ to bring them into operation.
Another 426 migrants crossed the Channel on Monday – the most in a fortnight. It brings the total since the start of the year to 42,588, compared with 28,526 in all of 2021.
A further unconfirmed number arrived yesterday despite poor visibility in the busy shipping lane.
The minister’s comments appeared to draw a final line under the pushback measures, which the French government insists break international maritime law.
It would have seen migrant dinghies intercepted in the Channel and sent back to France. Alternatively, passengers would have been transferred to UK Border Force vessels and delivered to a French port.
Former home secretary Priti Patel conceded in April – as the Ministry of Defence took control of UK operations in the Channel – that turnaround tactics had been put to one side. But she insisted they would remain under review.