Top Admiral says Boris Johnson's plan to use Royal Navy to tackle migrant crisis won't work

AN ADMIRAL has warned Boris Johnson’s plan to use Royal Navy warships to tackle Britain’s migrant crisis simply won’t work.

The embattled prime minister has reportedly drawn up the proposals as he seeks to draw eyes away from the lockdown party fiasco at Downing Street, which is currently plaguing his premiership.

The navy is expected to be taking the lead on the migrant crossings as part of the PM’s ‘Operation Red Meat’ initiative – which also seeks to ban boozing in Downing Street and fire failing advisers in Number 10.

Under Mr Johnson’s drive, the Senior Service would take over from the Border Force within the next few weeks in the battle to prevent migrants crossing the Channel in small boats to get into the UK.

Offshore patrol ship HMS Tamar pictured leaving Portsmouth on December 31, 2020.

Read More

Read More
Two veterans kill themselves in Portsmouth as city charity faces a surge in suic...

Government insiders believe the sight of navy vessels patrolling will deter people-smuggling gangs from sending dinghies across the stretch.

It follows threats by Portsmouth-based Border Force officers to strike over home secretary Priti Patel’s ‘pushback’ policy for migrants’ dinghies.

However, a former head of the Royal Navy has today said the PM’s new plan would do nothing to tackle the overall migrant issue, which has seen hundreds of refugees landing illegally in Britain in recent months.

Admiral Lord Alan West, former First Sea Lord.

Speaking to The News, Britain’s former top sailor, Lord Alan West said: ‘I’m delighted that the navy has been put in charge of all the various government departments that look after our security, national waters and and exclusive economic zone

‘However, this will not stop the migrant crisis. Picking them up at sea does not solve the problem of not giving them back… We don’t have an agreement with France to give them back yet.

‘All you're acting as is a very efficient conduit for people smugglers, with migrants being picked up nice and safely by a Royal Navy warship.’

The Labour peer also blasted the government’s handling of the the reported parties that took place at Downing Street during lockdown.

The results of an official inquiry into the claims is still on-going. But pictures of boozy shenanigans at Number 10 have ramped up pressure on Mr Johnson, who is facing calls from some of his MPs, as well as Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, to quit.

Lord West blasted the government, with the former First Sea Lord branding Downing Street a ‘shambles’.

He said: ‘The government has got themselves in a real old muddle. Downing Street is a shambles at the moment. The one thing you expect from government is competency. The only thing they have shown so far is incompetence.’

Mr Johnson is not expected to be seen out in public again until Wednesday, when he will face the wrath of his MPs at prime minister’s questions.

He is awaiting the outcome of senior Whitehall civil servant Sue Gray’s report into the allegations that government officials broke lockdown with their Downing Street parties.

Looking for the latest Royal Navy updates from Portsmouth? Join our new Royal Navy news Facebook group to keep up to date.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

You can subscribe here for unlimited access to our online coverage, including Pompey, with 70 per cent fewer adverts for less than 20p a day.