Migrant crisis ‘cutting through’ to voters as key Brexit pledge not upheld by Tories

Immigration matter to voters due to broken promises says expert

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Research fellow of the Henry Jackson Society, Dr Rakib Ersan, spoke to Express.co.uk about the migrant crisis in the Channel and why it was seen to be such a big issue in the UK. Polling from YouGov has shown immigration has overtaken environmental issues in Briton’s top three “important issues facing the country” tracker. When asked why the issue was seen to be more important than crime or education, Dr Ersan suggested the electorate had been promised by the Government they would handle border control better post-Brexit but they have failed to deliver on escalating crossings.

Speaking to Express.co.uk, Mr Ersan was asked why is the migrant crisis becoming a big political issue for voters around the country.

He explained: “I think that for Brexit voters, in particular, I feel that concerns over immigration, border control and just the desire for the restoration of national sovereignty…

“When it comes to immigration and more broadly border security, that played a strong part in the Brexit vote that was delivered back in June 2016.

“And much of that was that desire… you’ve heard the slogan take back control, but at the moment it doesn’t look like the UK Government has control of our own national borders.

“So of course, there is a cut through because there are voters who felt that there’s going to be a fundamental restoration of national sovereignty and we’re going to be able to take control of how our national borders operate.

“But the illegal channel crossings have shown that the Government does not have a firm grip of the situation when it comes to matters of immigration.”

According to YouGov, 36 percent of Briton’s have immigration and asylum in their top three important issues facing the country.

The issue comes behind the economy which is second place with 38 percent and health with 51 percent.

In November, YouGov found 71 percent of respondents believe Boris Johnson is handling immigration badly.

Dr Ersan also explained to Express.co.uk he was confused why the UK Government did not continue the “Dublin III” regulation post-Brexit.

France ‘refuse to patrol Channel’ says former immigration officer

The regulation lays out the mechanisms for returning asylum seekers to their country of origin and determining who is responsible for their applications.

However, the agreement was not continued after the UK left the European Union meaning it is harder for the UK to send asylum seekers entering the country illegally to the European countries they came from.

Disagreements between the UK and France have ramped up over the past few months as the UK sees record numbers of migrants crossing the Channel.

The UK provides France with funding and support to police its northern beaches to prevent boats from illegally entering the UK.

But French authorities have been accused of not doing their job after record numbers have made the journey and images emerged of French police doing little to prevent them from leaving.

In November, 1,185 migrants made the journey to the UK which is the highest daily record.

Data also shows 1,327 migrants have been detained by Border Force this month, compared to 211 at the same time last year.


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ITV reporter Jonathan Swain revealed he spoke with French police but they told him they were in a tricky legal position.

He explained: “French patrols will just pass them by and won’t stop them at all or intervene.

“And we saw those pictures from yesterday as well where dozens of people get into a boat that potentially make it across the channel.

“I spoke to French police officers, they’re very reluctant to deal with the media, particularly British media, but the ones that have sort of spoken to say that well actually it’s not their job to stop migrants from crossing the water.

“Because actually, they’re not doing anything illegal by getting into a boat on a beach and crossing the water.

“It’s illegal to get into the UK, but not illegal to leave the French coast so politically it needs to come down from the top from President Macron to put that pressure on the French police to stop them even before they get into the water.

“I have to say having been here and seen it for myself, it’s not that difficult to stop them from getting into the water because they are openly walking to the beaches carrying dinghies around the villages.”

On November, 27 people died in the Channel after a boat capsized on its journey to the UK.

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