'It's Not Illegal, Is It?': Kay Burley Leaves Minister Squirming Over Small Boats

Tom Tugendhat clashed with the Sky News presenter over whether migrants crossing the Channel are breaking the law.
Kay Burley quizzed Tom Tugendhat on Sky News
Kay Burley quizzed Tom Tugendhat on Sky News
Sky News

A government minister was left squirming on live TV as he repeatedly refused to say whether asylum seekers crossing the Channel on small boats were breaking the law.

Tom Tugendhat tried to dodge the question as he was grilled by Kay Burley on Sky News.

The security minister had insisted there were “legal and lawful” ways in which refugees fleeing the war in Sudan could come to the UK.

Referring to small boats, he said: “They really should not be empowering people traffickers or organised crime groups by using illegal means.”

But Burley said: “It’s not illegal though, is it? Crossing the Channel on a boat is not illegal.”

Avoiding the question, Tugendhat replied: “It’s wrong to subsidise or support in any way organised crime groups and I don’t think any of us would support the idea that we should have organised crime groups profiting from human misery, and sadly that’s what we’re seeing in the Channel.”

Burley then hit back: “But we acknowledge it’s not illegal, don’t we, to come here on a small boat?”

Tugendhat said: “What we acknowledge is organised crime groups are making an absolute fortune out of human misery and it is deeply wrong. It’s a form of human trafficking which has brought misery to quite literally millions.”

Burley responded: “Is it illegal though to get on a small boat and cross the Channel? Is it or not?”

Eventually, the minister said: “It’s not illegal to be a victim of human trafficking.”

Burley replied: “Thank you. So it’s not illegal.”

However, Home Office sources insisted it is illegal under the Nationality And Borders Act to enter the UK on small boats.


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