Dan Wootton: Only tough and perfectly executed policies are going to stop the migrant crossings

The political careers of Priti Patel and Boris Johnson depend on it


Now as you know, I have been critical of the government’s inability to stop the boats.

On Tuesday night – one day before an almighty tragedy in the Channel – I declared the illegal migrant crisis a national emergency.

For over 18 months, as most of the mainstream media and the bulk of our political leaders have looked away, I have been advocating tougher policies, including turnback where possible and offshore processing, as a sure-fire way to smash the despicable people smuggling trade.

It’s a disgrace that it’s taken the death of 27 poor souls – including seven women and three children – to move the story to the top of BBC bulletins and finally focus political will on finding a solution.

As the Conservative MP Sir John Hayes put it to embattled Home Secretary Priti Patel in the Commons today: Wasn’t Brexit meant to see us take back control of our borders and stop having to rely on the Europeans to keep us secure?

But my real rage today is reserved for the French President Emmanuel Macron and his government who have spent the past year attempting to exploit the migrant crisis for political gain – and to try unsuccessfully to humiliate post-Brexit Britain.

Oh so predictably, today both Macron and his ministers tried to blame Britain…

In a new column for the MailOnline, I have written that the ‘French government has blood on its hands’.

Macron’s ‘weasel words are totally meaningless when the French police unfathomably continue to allow small boats packed with illegal migrants to set off on a daily basis and the French Navy are known to help shepherd some of those vessels into British waters.’

His total lack of action – even though we’re paying him £54 million to patrol his own coast and have offered to send our own police to help – is particularly ironic given that Macron is more than happy to send his French armada against British fisherman while ignoring the people smuggling catastrophe in the channel.

So Boris Johnson is correct when he accuses France of not doing enough to stop the smuggling gangs who are “literally getting away with murder”.

But that’s only part of the story.

The swashbuckling Boris of old would have had the political might and willpower to stop the boats. Just like he delivered Brexit.

The Australian experiment of 2013 proves that offshore processing, while controversial, makes such an aim completely achievable.

They went from 20,000 arrivals to none, zip, zero within just two years.

So yesterday’s tragedy means the mainstream media and the Leader of No Opposition Keir Starmer have finally caught up with a crisis that I have been talking about for 18 months.

Tough words are no longer enough; only tough and perfectly executed policies are going to stop the migrant crossings.

The political careers of Priti Patel – and even Boris’ chances of staying in Number 10 – are riding on it.