Migrant boat crisis is hitting Tory support in Red Wall seats, Boris Johnson is warned
- Boris Johnson was warned migrant crisis is hitting Tory support in Red Wall seats
- MP said it was ‘hitting support’ in constituencies gained from Labour in election
- A record number of migrants, more than 6,600, have arrived in the UK this year
Boris Johnson has been warned that the failure to tackle the migrant boats crisis is hitting Tory support in Red Wall seats won by the Conservatives at the last Election.
An MP representing one of the constituencies gained from Labour by the Tories told The Mail on Sunday that the issue was ‘starting to hit support’.
A record number of migrants – more than 6,600 so far this year – has arrived in the UK after crossing the Channel in small boats. In the whole of 2020, there were 8,420, up from 1,835 the previous year.
Yesterday, between 30 and 40 migrants, including at least one toddler, arrived in Kent in three boats.
Boris Johnson has been warned that the failure to tackle the migrant boats crisis is hitting Tory support in Red Wall seats. Pictured: Migrants arriving at Dover in August 2020
In response to the crisis, the Government proposed a Nationality and Borders Bill in Parliament last week that will allow Border Force officials to use ‘reasonable force’ to detain would-be asylum seekers at sea and return vessels in the Channel back to safe countries.
But the power to send boats back to France – where most migrant boats are launched – will require an agreement with the French, and talks on a deal have broken down.
After the Bill was unveiled, the Crown Prosecution Service created a further headache by advising its lawyers not to prosecute migrants entering the country illegally.
It told prosecutors to stop charging passengers arriving in small boats or lorries, claiming they were typically victims of exploitation or had no choice in how they travelled.
It caused consternation among some Tory MPs who warned it represented a ‘new low’ for the CPS as the issue of illegal immigration continued to dent party support.
The MP said: ‘In the past few weeks it has become noticeable how much it is coming up on the doorstep, and Boris is being personally associated with it. That and Matt Hancock’s resignation are the issues which are really cutting through with voters.’
A record number of migrants (pictured in September 2020) – more than 6,600 so far this year – has arrived in the UK after crossing the Channel in small boats
The warning comes in the wake of the party’s failure to take the Batley and Spen seat from Labour this month.
The Tories’ working majority of 83 MPs was built on the Red Wall of former Labour seats in the North and Midlands seized by the Tories on the back of Mr Johnson’s promise to deliver Brexit.
But party strategists have warned that support in the areas is ‘soft’, with voters sensitive to the perception that the Tories have not been sufficiently tough on issues such as crime and immigration.
Last month, it was claimed that the Prime Minister had privately lashed out at the failure of Home Secretary Priti Patel to get to grips with the problem of migrants crossing the Channel.
He was reported to have told a Minister: ‘What the f*** is the Home Office doing? When is she going to sort this out?’