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Border Force staff join legal fight against Patel’s pushback plans

A TRADE union representing Border Force staff has joined a legal fight to stop Priti Patel’s “morally reprehensible” plans to turn around small boats in the Channel. 

Public services union PCS announced that it has joined charity Care4Calais’s legal challenge following the deaths of 27 people in the Channel last week.  

The union has also said it would not rule out all forms of industrial action, including disrupting the implementation of the Home Secretary’s “pushback” policy if she refuses to back down. 

PCS and Care4Calais are demanding Ms Patel publish the details of the policy and the legal basis for implementing it. 

The deaths of 17 men, seven women — including one who was pregnant — and three children in Wednesday’s disaster has piled more pressure on the Home Secretary to ditch the policy, which also faces two other legal challenges.

Announcing the move on Saturday, PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka described the policy as “unlawful, unworkable and above all morally reprehensible.

“Our Border Force members are aghast at the thought they will be forced to implement such a cruel and inhumane policy,” he said. 

Care4Calais founder Clare Moseley said the charity was incredibly proud to be joined by PCS, adding: “Not only will this challenge represent the interest of desperate people forced to risk their lives, it will also represent those who may well be forced to implement it.” 

More details of the victims of Wednesday’s disaster emerged over the weekend. The first to be named was 24-year-old Maryam Nuri Mohamed Amin, a Kurdish woman from northern Iraq, who was trying to reach her fiance in Britain when their inflatable dinghy collapsed in the Channel. 

Her family said she had tried to reach Britain legally twice and had been to the British embassy but the process was “delayed,” forcing her to take the route across the Channel. 

Ms Amin’s father Nuri Hamadamin told the BBC: “The whole world talks about Europe as a place that is calm, that is pleasant, is this what calm means? Around 30 people dying in the middle of the sea? This is a sin to put people through this.”

A family from the Iraqi Kurdish town of Darbandikhan — Khazal Hussein, 45, and her children Haida, 22, son Mubin, 16 and younger daughter Hasti, seven — were also among those who died, according to the Observer. 

EU leaders met in Calais today to discuss small boat crossings without the involvement of Britain, after Ms Patel was disinvited over France’s anger at PM Boris Johnson’s letter to his French counterpart.  

That morning, shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy described the “blame game” between the two nations “while children drown off our coastline,” as “unconscionable.”

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