Boris Johnson has only just noticed that Priti Patel is not up to the job

Editorial: The problem of small boats crossing the Channel is not a new one – Conservative immigration policy has been failing for some time

Saturday 20 November 2021 21:30
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<p>Priti Patel meets a Border Force team in Dover </p>

Priti Patel meets a Border Force team in Dover

Eleven years after the Conservatives entered government, and two and a half years after Boris Johnson entered Downing Street, the home secretary has described the asylum system as “dysfunctional” and the prime minister has ordered an urgent review.

All prime ministers are ill-prepared for some problems, but the current one seems particularly bad at anticipating things that should have been glaringly obvious. The problem of people arriving in the UK by small boats across the Channel has been visible for years, and especially since coronavirus struck 20 months ago.

It was then, with traffic through the Channel tunnel much reduced, that more people seeking unauthorised entry to the country switched to the riskier method of making the 21-mile crossing in small inflatable boats.

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