Tony Abbott says the British Government has to 'say the way is closed' after record Channel migrant crossings

The former Australian Prime Minister also said he was "encouraged not to support Brexit" before the vote in 2016

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A former Australian Prime Minister has called on Britain to ‘one way or another’ stop migrant crossings, adding that “serious countries do not allow themselves to be taken advantage of.”

Tony Abbott, who spearheaded Australia’s successful attempt to regain their waters from boats to and from Indonesia, believes the Rwanda policy “is a step in the right direction”.

Speaking on GB News Farage, Nigel told Mr Abbott: “You had exactly the same problem in Australia, the difference was the distance to Indonesia was bigger, the boats were bigger, the numbers per boats were bigger.

“And you were the man that solved it.

Tony Abbott
Tony Abbott
A group of people thought to be migrants are brought in to Dover, Kent
A group of people thought to be migrants are brought in to Dover, Kent

“You did it being condemned by the United Nations, the European Union but you solved the problem.

“Does the British Conservative Party have the muscle to do this?”

To which Mr Abbott replied: “In the end, and I’m talking about Australia, you’ve got to have the will to do it and the problem was the previous government didn’t have the will to do it.

“And I remember going into a very early meeting of very senior officials with heavy responsibilities in this are and I was told that we might risk serious conflict with Indonesia.

“To which I said so be it, if boats were coming from Australia to Indonesia do we think for a second that that the Indonesians would hesitate in taking the strongest possible action in stopping these boats.

“Serious countries do not allow themselves to be taken advantage of by criminal gangs who are smuggling people in for all sorts of purposes as well as people who just want a better life.”

He added: “One way or another the British Government just has to say that the way is closed.

“And I think the Rwanda deal was a big step in the right direction, it’s a real pity that the legal work had not been done to avoid the jurisdiction of that European court.

“But I understand there’s a step in train to avoid anything like that in the future.”

His comments come after a record number of Channel crossings so far this year.

More than 20,000 people have been detected crossing the English Channel in small boats since January, Government figures show.

Some 607 were detected on Saturday – the third time the total has topped 600 since the start of 2022.

There were 28,526 crossings detected throughout the whole of 2021. By this point last year, just over 11,300 crossings had been made.

The former Australian Prime Minister was also “encouraged not to support Brexit” In the lead up to the vote.

He continued: “I was torn because emotionally I have always been a Brexiteer”.