ILLEGAL migrants coming to Britain on small boats should “worry us all”, a Cabinet Minister warned today.
Nadhim Zahawi said preventing treacherous Channel crossings was “a tough one” but insisted Priti Priti had a plan to slash the numbers.
The embattled Home Secretary will this afternoon be hauled over the coals as Tory fury over the migration crisis reached a crunch.
Conservative backbenchers are furious that only five out of 24,000 refugees who came to the UK this year have been sent back.
The Iraqi-born Education Secretary – whose parents fled Saddam Hussein when he was a baby – said asylum seekers crossing the sea in rickety dinghies were taking an “extraordinary” risk.
Grilled on LBC about voters’ anger, Mr Zahawi said: “Of course it worries us. It should worry us all.
“Net migration into the UK at the moment is negative. But of course illegal trips across the Channel in treacherous waters is not something that we should just turn away and think ‘well we can’t do anything about it, it’s too difficult to handle.’”
He threw an arm around under-fire Ms Patel and praised her new law that will “close the loophole” that means illegal migrants can’t be deported.
The Nationality and Borders Bill is currently passing through Parliament, but Tory MPs are demanding instant action.
Ms Patel faces a Commons mauling this afternoon over the issue amid backbench grumblings.
one fed-up Cabinet minister warned Ms Patel to get a grip or face the chop.
They told HOAR: “Boris has a soft spot for her and she is broadly unsackable since the reshuffle, but she’s running out of road.”
The senior minister also suggested the current approach to small boats is failing, adding: “If you’re not going to change the personnel, you’ve got to change the policy.”
One usual Priti loyalist told HOAR: “The postbags are overflowing. She is battling for her job now.”
Craig Mackinlay, Tory MP for South Thanet, yesterday blamed the crisis for the party’s plummeting poll ratings.
He said: “It looks like state failure. How about we make a generous offer to the French and say, ‘How many of our police, border force and troops do you need to patrol this 100 miles of beach to stop this?’.”