Will Sunak’s asylum reforms prevent small boat tragedies?

Split image. Left image: Rishi Sunak. Right image: Forensic officers enter a tent at a port in Kent after a migrant boat capsized in the Channel.
Rishi Sunak's reforms on asylum claims could take weeks to come into effect. Credit: PA

It is literally a miracle that more asylum seekers didn’t die in the Channel in the early hours, according to an informed source. The rescue by the fishing vessel was exemplary.

Tragically, some on the flimsy craft are still not found though. There was a mix of nationalities - Syrians, Eritreans, only a small proportion from Albania.

They were drifting in sub zero temperatures for hours. It is unusual for these journeys to be so late at night.

The people smuggling gangs, who take desperate asylum seekers money and push them out to sea alone, are without consciences, appalling criminals.

ITV News Political Editor Robert Peston discusses how the latest Channel crossing tragedy could increase pressure on the government to act against human traffickers

Surveillance by French authorities failed miserably on this occasion.

Lessons must be learned and fast, because the dangerous crossings are continuing in big numbers well into December, when in previous years they tapered off in November.

Sunak’s reforms - much more coordinated investigation, patrolling and policing - will take weeks or longer to be effective.

And who knows whether the proposed new law, which would seek to automatically expel anyone seeking asylum via a small boat crossing, will deter those seeking haven in the UK and rob the gangsters of their criminal earnings.

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