CIVIL SERVANTS’ union the PCS, representing Border Force staff, has joined Care4Calais in their legal fight to prevent Home Secretary Priti Patel from pushing back refugees desperately attempting to cross the Channel.
Following the tragic deaths of 27 people in the Channel last week, pressure has mounted on the government to reverse its intention to make Border Force staff prevent boats from reaching the UK.
The PCS along with Care4Calais are demanding Priti Patel publishes the details of the policy and the legal basis of the Pushback policy.
The government is required to respond by today and if it refuses to abandon the policy, PCS could launch judicial review proceedings in the coming weeks.
Several charities have also started legal challenges against the policy.
PCS General Secretary Mark Serwotka said: ‘The Pushback policy being pursued by the Home Secretary is unlawful, unworkable and above all morally reprehensible.
‘Our Border Force members are aghast at the thought they will be forced to implement such a cruel and inhumane policy.
‘Migrants who are trying to reach this country should be allowed to do so via safe routes so that their claims can be assessed here.
‘If the government does not abandon this appalling approach, we will pursue all legal avenues including a judicial review.
‘PCS will not rule out all forms of industrial action, including disrupting the implementation of the Pushback policy if the Home Secretary insists on going ahead.’
Clare Moseley, founder of Care4Calais said: ‘We are incredibly proud to be joined in this action by PCS.
‘Not only will this challenge represent the interests of desperate people forced to risk their lives, it will also represent those who may well be forced to implement it.’
Meanwhile, France hosted German, Belgian and Dutch ministers and European Commission officials for talks yesterday over the issue.
Tory Home Secretary Patel was disinvited from the summit after a row between PM Johnson and French President Emmanuel Macron.
Labour’s shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy said it was ‘unconscionable’ that France and the UK government were ‘engaging in a blame game while children drown off our coastline’.