Gainsborough MP speaks out about the illegal immigration debate

The MP for Gainsborough has joined in on the debate of illegal immigration and challenged Home Office Minister, Richard Harrington.

Sir Edward Leigh
Sir Edward Leigh

Sir Edward Leigh argued that Britain had become a ‘soft touch” and its efforts to tackle illegal immigration were at an ‘all time low’.

The remarks came as new figures showed asylum seekers arriving in Europe more than doubled last year.

Sir Edward said: “Traditionally, the sea has been an opportunity for us British people to take our values across the world.

“The sea has never really been seen as a threat to this island nation, except in terms of armed conflict.

“It is important that we debate it and that the Government take these arguments seriously and reply to them, because, frankly, in terms of illegal entry into this country, the system is out of control.

“If someone decides illegally to enter the channel tunnel, which is a very dangerous thing to do in any circumstances, and they cause massive disruption, delaying train after train, delaying hundreds of people going on holiday or returning, or, even more important, preventing people from getting to business appointments, and if someone actually walks through the entire length of the channel tunnel, what people cannot understand is why, when they are caught, having caused that massive, criminal disruption, there apparently are no consequences.

“They are not even returned, it seems, to France. It brings the whole system of law into disrepute.”

The minister admitted that the government could not deport illegal immigrants.

Home Office figures showed the numbers of illegal immigrants that were deported out of Britain had nearly halved from 21,425 in 2004 to just 12,056 last year.