Natalie Elphicke says small boats deal ‘short of what’s needed’ as PM says reduction in numbers crossing Channel will not happen overnight
James Cleverly, the foreign secretary, was criticised last month for saying that gay football fans visiting Qatar for the Word Cup should “be respectful”, and make allowance for the country’s intolerance of homosexuality.
In an interview on ITV’s Good Morning Britain, Cleverly defended his comments, saying that the Foreign Office always advises people to obey local laws when they are travelling. He told the programme:
My focus is to make sure that British visitors, particularly LGBTQ+ visitors to Qatar going to enjoy the World Cup, are safe and that they enjoy their tournament. So my advice was purely about ensuring that they have a safe and secure time at the World Cup.
We always say that you have to respect the laws of your host nation. That is a universal element of British travel advice.
I’ve spoken at length with the Qatari authorities on this and it’s worth bearing in mind that men and women don’t typically hold hands in Qatar, and other conservative Muslim countries like Qatar, so my strong advice is to look at the UK government’s travel advice.
This deal is just the same as previous deals – spending money and resources on intercepting and obstructing people crossing the Channel, while doing nothing to address their need for safe access to an asylum system.
The inevitable result will be more dangerous journeys and more profits led by ruthless smuggling gangs and other serious criminals exploiting the refusal of the UK and French government to take and share responsibility.