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Patel gives Nationality & Borders Bill speech in Commons

Home Secretary Priti Patel has delivered the opening speech for the second reading of the Nationality & Borders Bill in the House of Commons.

On the day that the Home Office announced that at least 430 migrants had crossed the English Channel to the UK - a new record for a single day - Patel said that British people had had ‘enough of dinghies arriving illegally on our shores, directed by organised crime gangs’ and ‘enough of foreign criminals who abuse our laws and then game the system so we can’t remove them’.

She said that the Nationality & Borders Bill will enable the government to deter illegal entry into the UK, and importantly ‘break the business model of people smuggling gangs and protecting the lives of those they endanger’.

Since 2015, more than 25,000 refugees have been resettled in the UK from regions of conflict through formal schemes – more than any other European country. In addition to that, more than 29,000 close relatives have also joined them in the UK in the last five years - something Patel alluded to in order to showcase that the UK government is not ‘mean-spirited nor ungenerous’ towards asylum seekers.

As part of tougher measures, the Home Office will include a life sentence for those that bring asylum seekers to the UK and facilitate illegal entry, as well as the maximum prison sentence for entering the country illegally rising from six months to four years.

Border Force will also gain additional powers, including the seizure of vessels used to facilitate illegal entry to the UK and the ability to search all freight for people suspected of seeking illegal entry.

The government is making the border fully digital which will allow us to count people in and out, help us to stop dangerous people coming here, with Electronic Travel Authorisations deemed a major step up in our border security. Carriers will check that passengers have this digital authorisation or another form of digital permission like a visa before they travel.

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