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Far right mob Britain First launch ‘migrant patrol’ ship off Dover

Refugee rights organisations raise concerns over Priti Patel's plans to use Royal Navy to make the Channel ‘unviable’ for migrants

FAR-RIGHT mob Britain First launched a sailing ship at the weekend to carry out “migrant patrols” in the Channel.

The hate group, whose leader Paul Golding was convicted of an offence under the Terrorism Act earlier this year and was jailed in 2018 for anti-Muslim hate crimes, said the ship, Alfred the Great, spent the day patrolling the waters around Dover searching for “illegal migrants.”

In a video filmed on board and posted on the bigoted group’s website, the ship’s “captain,” Royal Navy veteran Samuel Cochrane, claimed the group would assist any migrants they found in the sea.

“We'll bring them on board and take them to French waters and notify the French authorities to come and collect them,” Mr Cochrane said.

Stand Up to Racism’s Paul Sillett told the Star that Britain First’s latest stunt was designed to instigate further hate against refugees.

“Britain First has taken its lead from Priti Patel’s shameful comments about sending the navy in to stop refugees looking for safe passage.

“It’s another example of fascists being emboldened by leading Tory politicians. Now, more than ever, it’s crucial that anti-racists argue for refugees’ rights be adhered to.

“They are fleeing poverty and war and deserve our compassion.”

At the weekend Ms Patel stepped up the government’s aggressive tactics against refugees crossing the Channel by appointing an ex-marine to make the route “unviable.”

The Home Secretary said that Dan O’Mahoney, who has also worked with the National Crime Agency and Border Force, will work with the French authorities to “urgently explore tougher action in France, including stronger enforcement measures and adopting interceptions at sea and the direct return of boats.”

Ms Patel is also planning to send in Royal Navy ships despite concerns this could put people’s lives at risk.

Recent months have seen an increase in the number of people making the perilous journey from northern France to Britain in small boats. On Friday about 130 refugees landed on the British coast.

Jacob Berkson, an activist from the refugee distress hotline network Alarm Phone told the Star that the real humane solution to the “crisis” is simple.

“Freedom of movement is fundamental for a fully human life,” Mr Berkson said.

“It is essential in a world where the haves have been exploiting the have nots for 400 years on the surprious grounds of the respective skin colours of the two parties. We will do all we can to support those of us, racialised as other, in the struggle for freedom.

"The solution to the 'crisis' is simple. There are two or three ferries per hour. They have had an excellent safety record since they stopped heralding free enterprise. Visa free travel for all would do the trick.

“We know from our experiences in the Mediterranean that militarising the border, as Ms Patel proposes, is really a way of facilitating illegal push-backs, denying rescue to people in distress and shirking international conventions designed to protect people. It means people die.

“You can tell that the government is in trouble when Nigel Farage, Britain First and other allies on the right wing of the Tory Party are wheeled out to stoke hatred and racism. Let’s hope that this time we don’t get distracted.”

Refugee Council director of advocacy Lisa Doyle told the Star that hard-line measures would only serve to further push highly vulnerable people to take even greater risks.

“At the Refugee Council we have been calling for more safe and regular routes to the UK such as an expanded resettlement programme, humanitarian visas and reformed family reunions rules for years,” Ms Doyle said.

“If the government is serious about reducing dangerous Channel crossings, it should introduce more safe and regular routes immediately.”


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