Tory MPs fear that it is too late to solve the channel migrant crisis and the issue could have already lost them the next election. The despair has come just 24 hours after Home Secretary Suella Braverman signed another deal with France to stop the small boats carrying illegal migrants coming across the Channel.
The issue has infuriated Red Wall MPs who have the issue come up on the doorsteps in their constituencies.
Ashfield MP Lee Anderson, chairman of the Blue Collar Conservative movement, said: “The migrant crisis is the single biggest issue entering my inbox. We have lost control of our borders which is leading to a lack of trust from the British public on illegal immigration.
“The clock is ticking and if we don’t sort this out soon our chances at the next election look pretty slim.”
In private other Tory MPs are even bleaker.
One said: “It’s too late. Even if we fix the crisis tomorrow, which we won’t, it will still be too late.”
Another Red Wall MP said: “We have been warning ministers and colleagues about it for ages.”
There was some criticism of MPs from southern traditional Tory constituencies who had previously sneered at the issue.
One said: “Colleagues are coming up now say ‘something needs to be done’ because they have migrants in their hotels, but where were they before? A bit late now.”
According to the latest tracker poll for Express.co.uk by Techne UK, the Conservatives trail Labour by 19 points – 49 percent to 30 percent.
If the split happened in an election then the Conservatives would be looking at a wipeout worse than the 1997 crushing defeat Tony Blair’s Labour inflicted on Sir John Major’s Government.
So far this year almost 40,000 illegal migrants have crossed the English Channel with thousands more in previous years.
Attempts to sort out the problem have so far failed including plans to deport them to Rwanda which got blocked by an unnamed judge in the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).
This week, Ms Braverman announced a new deal with the French to solve the crisis.
The deal will see the UK give France £63 million more to stop migrants making the journey across the Channel.
This followed immigration minister Robert Jenrick saying the crisis had made the UK into “Hotel Britain.”
READ MORE: Suella Braverman signs deal to tackle small boats
But one Tory MP from a former Labour constituency said: “Why are we just giving more money to the French? It’s throwing good money after bad. It won’t solve the problem.”
However, earlier today the Prime Minister admitted the “number one” thing people are most concerned about is illegal migration.
Speaking to GB News today Rishi Sunak said: “I’m committed to getting migration down over time. But I want to be honest with people about the challenges we face, and I know that the number one challenge that people are concerned about right now is illegal migration.
“I made a commitment that I want to reduce the amount of illegal migration. It’s the thing that I’ve spent most of my time on outside of helping the Chancellor prepare for the Autumn statement.
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“And people, I think, are starting to see the fruits of some of that work with our new deal with the French, which is something that I prioritised in my early conversations with President Macron. I’m glad that that dialogue has led to a deal and that is going to help us but it’s not a silver bullet.”
He went on: “The Government’s policy, and my policy, are that we will want to reduce net migration over time, but I don’t want to put an arbitrary number on it. But I want to be honest with people and I think right now our number one challenge is getting a grip on the number of illegal migrants coming and that’s the thing I want to focus on first. I think that’s what, by the way, the British public, rightly, wants us to focus on.
“Our deal with the French this week is the first in a series of things that we’ll need to do, but people should rest assured that this is a huge priority for me, it’s taking up rightly, a good chunk of my time because I want to grip it, and I’m going to do whatever it takes to fix this problem.”