Dan Wootton: France's time has come - Priti Patel must stop the Channel migrant boats

'The time has come for Priti Patel to stop the boats. No more ifs, buts or maybes'

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The time has come for Priti Patel to stop the boats. No more ifs, buts or maybes. No more tough talk from the Home Secretary followed by more record days of illegal immigrants streaming to our shores via the Channel, fuelling a despicable people smuggling trade that is now completely out of control.

That’s why Priti must ignore the hysterical response from the French government today and forge ahead with plans for the Border Force to use pushback tactics that would allow us to intercept and redirect migrant boats before they reach the UK, when it’s safe and practical to do so. The French say that’s against international maritime law.

But as long as we ensure the boats end up safely back on French land that’s not the case. The government was very naïve to trust the French government to help us control the wave of migrants making the journey in the first place. In fact, they refuse to intercept the migrants unless they ask to be rescued.

It’s more proof the French government doesn’t want to help a post-Brexit Britain in any way. We’re paying them £54 million, but all they want to do is humiliate us. Boris Johnson told his increasingly frustrated MPs yesterday that he would “use every possible tactic at our disposal to stop what I think is a vile trade”.

More tough talk from the Prime Minister. But after a summer of record arrivals, what we must see now is results. If that puts us on a collision course with the French government then so be it. The NHS is about to receive a ridiculously high 40 per cent of all public spending, with an injection of an extra £36 billion.

So let’s hope they spend that money sensibly and prudently, with a 100 per cent focus on public health… Chance would be a fine thing. Just hours after Tory MPs voted to increase National Insurance by 2.5 per cent, betraying voters by breaking their manifesto promise not to hike taxes, more evidence of reckless spending has emerged within our health service.

The NHS is hiring 42 new pen pushers on salaries of up to £270,000 each, including more than £9 million being spent on a host of chief executives of new integrated care boards. Hardly gives me faith that the Health Secretary Sajid Javid was being honest when he said he would be “watchful for any waste”.

And don’t be so certain that the broken tax promise to fund the NHS and social care is going to be embraced by voters, as Boris Johnson seems to believe. A new Opinium Research poll found that 45 per cent of those asked opposed the tax rise while just 33 per cent backed it. What’s perhaps most worrying for the Prime Minister is the way his old newspaper.

The Daily Telegraph has turned on him in the wake of the tax hike, which increases our tax burden to the highest levels since World War Two. In a scathing column in the newspaper today, Sunday Telegraph Editor Allister Heath said the Tories were now “blue Labour”.

He wrote… “Shame on Boris Johnson, and shame on the Conservative Party. They have disgraced themselves, lied to their voters, repudiated their principles and treated millions of their supporters with utter contempt. And for what?

“To momentarily wrong-foot Sir Keir Starmer? To steal Labour’s clothes, not for a greater purpose but because it’s easier than actually devising their own conservative policies to improve Britain?

“Just when the Left thought they had lost, their assumptions shattered by Brexit, their triumph is about to be near total.”

He went on to say the moment is a “seminal moment in British politics” that could turn out as toxic for the Tories as the ERM crisis, the Iraq dossier or the bank bailouts. Sadly, I think Mr Heath is completely right about the decision by his former star columnist.

If you were watching the end of the show last night, you would have seen my unbridled fury at the revelation that the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust has gone woke and is denigrating the memory of the greatest Briton to ever live.

The charity’s £100,000-a-year chief executive Julie Weston has re-named it the Churchill Fellowship, removed all pictures of Winston from its website, added notes about the former PM’s “unacceptable” views and pledged that the charity will start to focus on “addressing inequality and protecting the environment”.

As I wrote in my column for the MailOnline today: “If we continue to woke-wash every white person from history because they were subjects of their time, then Queen Victoria, Charles Dickens and Shakespeare will be finished too.

“Find me someone rich, powerful, talented or influential from 100 years ago who didn’t have a questionable view. That’s the way societies evolve."