Royal Navy to end Channel migrant operations in 2023

The Ministry of Defence is to end its control of Channel migrant operations early next year, GB News can confirm

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The Royal Navy took over Command and Control functions in April, as part of a three-pronged plan to deal with the growing number of small boats crossing the English Channel.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the plans at Lydd airport in Kent, which included proposals to send thousands of asylum seekers to Rwanda for processing.

The Rwanda policy is currently on hold due to multiple legal challenges in the courts.

A second initiative to house up to 1,200 asylum seekers at a former RAF base in the Yorkshire village of Linton-on-Ouse was abandoned last week, after the Ministry of Defence withdrew permission to use the base.

It followed fierce backlash from villagers, concerned the number of asylum seekers would far outnumber the local population and cause potential problems in the community, which has little in the way of amenities.

Now the Ministry of Defence has also confirmed to ministers that it intends to cease Command and Control operations in the Channel when the current scheduled period in command is up for renewal on 31 January.

An MoD spokesperson said: “As planned, Defence support to the Home Office will continue until January 2023, at which point the operational and wider arrangements will be reviewed.

“We are working across Government to ensure the conditions are set for Defence to hand the task back to the Home Office following the review, this includes supporting training and capability development."

The confirmation by the MoD comes as the number of people crossing the Channel in small boats reached 20,300 at the weekend, twice the number who crossed into UK waters at this time last year.