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Sun 20 September 2020
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New Government figures show the Brexit Party Leader’s asylum ‘invasion’ for what it is: a myth

The number of people applying for asylum in the UK has fallen in 2020 – exposing the fallacious warnings of an ‘invasion’ stoked by Nigel Farage and the right-wing press.

New figures released by the Home Office today show that, in the first half of 2020, asylum applications in the UK stood at 13,305, compared to 19,118 in the second half of 2019 – a fall of 31%.

This drop in asylum applications was particularly stark in quarter two of this year – the period from April to June – with only 4,850 applications recorded, 37% fewer than during the same period last year.


Asylum Applications UK

2019 Q12019 Q22019 Q32019 Q42020 Q12020 Q2
TOTAL896276579179993984554850
Source: Home Office

This stands in stark contrast to the assertions of the political right, which has insisted that the UK is experiencing an uncommon, unacceptable influx of asylum seekers. Indeed, this is such a priority for the Home Office that it yesterday released a video taking aim at “activist lawyers” allegedly blocking the deportation of these individuals.

Farage’s lockdown project has been to direct his newly unassigned political fury at vulnerable individuals crossing the Channel on dinghies. In response to his outrage campaign – amplified by the tabloid media – Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Home Secretary Priti Patel have buckled to pressure, deploying the Government’s military and rhetorical might to scare off the asylum seekers.

While the Prime Minister was labelling the actions of the asylum seekers “stupid and dangerous and criminal”, he was scoping out whether the Navy could be used to repel their small vessels, and even let loose an RAF aircraft to patrol the strait between the UK and France.

Yet, even ignoring statistics from the past few months, the UK welcomes far fewer asylum seekers than its European counterparts.

In both 2018 and 2019, Germany received 150,000 asylum applications, while the UK received roughly 40,000. The UK’s combined total over these two years was less than France, Spain, Greece and Italy.


Turning Against the Technocrat

The pet project of Farage, Johnson and Patel will actually make their war against asylum – incidentally, a human right enshrined in the 1951 UN Geneva Convention – more difficult.

Currently, under EU law, the UK has a right in some circumstances to return an asylum seeker to the first EU country they entered. So, if the asylum seeker in question had made the journey from Iran to France and had then crossed the Channel, the UK could attempt to hand responsibility back to Paris.

However, after Brexit, the UK’s participation in this agreement – known as the ‘Dublin III Regulation’ – will end, and the EU has given no indication that it will seek to negotiate a new deal with Johnson’s Government.

Having paraded the ‘technocrat’ as an enemy of the people, it seems that Brexiters now have no other option than to pursue irrational, fact-free policies devoid of expertise that simultaneously drum up nationalist fervour while making the nation weaker.

As Mike Buckley has noted in these pages, the climate of foreign loathing institutionalised by Brexit and the consummation of Johnson is hollowing out British society and the economy. Doctors, nurses, labourers and academics are either leaving the country or have simply chosen not to arrive.

The myths of populism – such as the asylum invasion fantasy – are not just slogans. They are now the prevailing beliefs of the Government, and the nation is suffering the predictable, dire consequences.


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