Stopping the Small Boats: a “Plan B”

A Policy Exchange proposal for addressing the crisis

February 16, 2022

This report outlines a plan of action to address the Channel crisis.  Plan A would be an agreement with France to accept the return of migrants and asylum-seekers attempting to crossing the Channel in small boats.  If such an agreement cannot be reached, Plan B would be to remove persons attempting to enter the UK on small boats to a location outside the UK – whether the Channel Islands, Sovereign Bases in Cyprus or Ascension Island – where their asylum claims would be considered.  Economic migrants (failed asylum seekers) would be returned to their home country, or to some other state willing to receive them.  Genuine refugees would be resettled in a safe state other than the UK.  No person entering (or attempting to enter) the UK on a small boat from a safe country would be allowed to settle in the UK, even if a genuine refugee.

The report makes clear that neither Plan A nor Plan B would breach the UK’s obligations under the Refugee Convention 1951.  However, Plan B would require express legislative authority to avoid being frustrated in the courts. The report also recommends that Plans A and/or B should be integrated with an enhanced programme of resettling UNHRC-sponsored refugees.

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