Clause 41 - Maritime Enforcement

Part of Nationality and Borders Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 12:45 pm ar 28 Hydref 2021.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Tom Pursglove Tom Pursglove Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Ministry of Justice and Home Office) 12:45, 28 Hydref 2021

In response to numbers of migrants using dangerous maritime routes to enter the UK illegally, this Government are committed to providing Border Force with the tools and legislation they need to combat this illegal migration threat more effectively. We need to strengthen and broaden our current powers not only to improve the effectiveness and capability of Border Force’s current maritime interception tactics, but to better equip them for future operational developments, which may be enhanced through agreements with our near border partners.

The clause and schedule will also provide new powers allowing Border Force to return vessels and those on board, when appropriate, to non-UK locations. Finally, the Government will use this clause to provide bespoke seizure and disposal powers intended for Border Force use against the small boats threat specifically. It will provide far more flexible options for the seizure and disposal of the vast majority of unflagged, ownerless vessels that are being used to transport illegal migrants.

I turn to Government amendments 82 and 83. We are seeing an unacceptable rise in dangerous and unnecessary small boat crossings. Our primary focus is on preventing people from embarking on dangerous channel crossings to enter the UK illegally, tackling the criminal gangs responsible and protecting lives. We must send a powerful message that people should not leave the safety of countries such as France or Belgium to enter the UK illegally in an unseaworthy boat, and if they do, they could be taken back.