Tom Brake – 2016 Parliamentary Question to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Tom Brake on 2016-06-14.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the potential role of the UK in reducing the number of people trying to cross the Mediterranean in dangerous circumstances; and what plans he has to tackle the issue of deaths in the Mediterranean of people attempting to make that crossing.

Mr David Lidington

The Government’s focus is on addressing the root causes of irregular migration so as to reduce the need for people to make perilous journeys to Europe. We have taken action to tackle smugglers and save lives at sea: HMS Enterprise is deployed as part of the EU’s counter migration operation, Operation Sophia. The UK has rescued almost 18,000 people, and disrupted suspected people smugglers, in the Mediterranean since 2015. At the G7 Summit in Japan on 27 May, the Prime Minister, my Rt Hon. Friend the Member for Witney (Mr Cameron), announced that the UK will work on a plan to boost the capability of the Libyan coastguard to stem the flow of illegal migration across the Mediterranean into Europe. Following adoption of the UN Security Council Resolution 2292 on 14 June, we are working with EU partners to ensure Op Sophia can begin its new taskings as soon as possible, including capacity building for the Libyan Coastguard. As the Prime Minister announced following the June European Council, RFA Mounts Bay will also be deployed to stop the flow of weapons to terrorists, particularly Daesh, in Libya. As the Prime Minister also said at the G7, the UK stands ready to deploy an additional naval vessel to the South Central Mediterranean.