‘Time for Tony’ Boris Should Tap Former Aussie PM Abbott to Tackle Migrant Crisis, Says Nigel Farage

CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 31: Opposition leader Tony Abbott during his address at the National Press Club on January 31, 2013 in Canberra, Australia. Prime Minister Gillard yesterday set Australia's election date for September 14, making the campaign period the longest in Australia's history. Opposition leader Tony Abbott used his …
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Former Prime Minister of Australia Tony Abbott should be tapped to head up the United Kingdom’s efforts to combat the scourge of illegal boat migration, Brexit leader Nigel Farage has said.

After two years of failure from Home Secretary Priti Patel to “take back control” of Britain’s borders, Nigel Farage has warned that the Brexit voters who gave power to Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government are losing patience.

“Millions of Brexit voters who expected British borders to be secure after leaving the EU can see that the opposite is the case. Our borders are being breached daily with such ease that is it hard to accept the idea that the government has anything approaching a firm grip on the situation. Whatever the liberal elite claims, the electorate really cares about this. It matters a lot,” Mr Farage wrote in The Telegraph.

The Brexiteer said that the government’s inability to stem the tide of illegal boat migration, which has already surpassed the yearly record with five months left to go in the year, will spell political trouble for Boris Johnson, who has seen his popularity fall in recent weeks over his scattershot response to the Chinese coronavirus crisis.

“I am as certain as I can be that the cross-Channel migrant emergency will become the biggest non-Covid story of the summer. Voters’ growing anger at the impotence of the government will start to be felt,” Farage warned.

Offering advice to the government, the veteran political campaigner turned prime time tv show host said that Johnson should look to former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott to spearhead a tougher approach to the migrant crisis in the English Channel.

“Abbott showed true steel when his own country faced a similar situation in 2012 by returning illegal vessels to Indonesia. If Johnson has any sense, he will call Abbott into Number 10 Downing Street immediately and give him an active role in dealing with this crisis,” Farage wrote.

In 2013, Mr Abbott’s government launched Operation Sovereign Borders, under which migrant boats are intercepted at sea and either returned to their country of origin or brought to offshore processing centres. The programme has effectively cut off all illegal boat migration to the country since its implementation.

In September of last year, the British-born former Aussie PM was appointed to Boris Johnson’s Board of Trade to advise the government on post-Brexit trade policy, through which he helped craft the UK’s first major trade deal after leaving the European Union with Australia.

Mr Abbott’s ‘send back the boats’ immigration policies have long been pointed to by immigration hardliners such as the Migration Watch UK think tank and Nigel Farage as a model for the newly independent Brexit Britain.

While the UK government has claimed that Britain’s Border Force and the French Navy are prohibited under international maritime law to turn back the boats in the English Channel unless given consent from the migrants themselves, Mr Abbot said last year that when he faced similar claims as PM he “simply obtained different and better legal advice.”

“You’ve got to be firm to be fair, you’ve got to be tough to be kind in the end, and the kindest thing you could do is to close down the people-smuggling trade. That means as soon as you come across a people-smuggling boat, you stop it and take it back to the place from where it came,” Abbott argued last June.

“If you keep giving the people-smugglers a product to sell, you will keep getting people smuggling and inevitably if you have people smuggling you will get deaths at sea,” Abbott warned.

He said that “as long as the French facilitate their passage, France will have a problem as well as Britain. If it takes a bit of toughness on Britain’s part — Bojo has his mojo, let’s face it — let’s send them back.”

Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here @KurtZindulka

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