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Unaccompanied Child Refugees: EU Transition Period

Volume 683: debated on Monday 9 November 2020

What steps the Government has taken to help ensure co-operation at a European level on unaccompanied child refugees after the transition period. (908402)

The United Kingdom tabled a full draft agreement to the European Commission back in May, which included provisions for unaccompanied asylum-seeking children family reunion. That has sadly so far not been agreed, but the negotiations are still ongoing, and I ask the hon. Lady and others to put pressure on the European Commission to constructively respond to the draft text we tabled. When it comes to the United Kingdom’s record on looking after UASCs, we currently look after more UASCs than any other European country.

I understand that on 9 August this year, the Home Secretary announced that she had appointed a clandestine channel threat commander. Can the Minister confirm precisely what powers the commander has and why the elements of the role could not be addressed by Border Force?

Given that the problems posed by cross-channel small boat crossings, as we discussed earlier, are unique, serious, dangerous—as we have tragically seen—and facilitated by ruthless criminals, the Home Secretary and I felt it was important to have a dedicated person with proper experience. He is a former Royal Marine and can work on completely stopping these crossings. That is the safe thing to do, the humanitarian thing to do, and the right thing to do legally.