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Natalie Elphicke is MP for Dover.

There’s an old and true saying – a stitch in time saves nine. Nowhere is that more true than tackling the small boats crossings, about which is wrote on this site earlier this week.

Firm action, when the numbers were still in tens rather than tens of thousands, would have been quicker, easier and cheaper to fix and, more likely to be successful. Now we are undoubtedly in for a longer haul, but the destination must be the same” to bring the small boats crossings to an end and to reclaim control of our borders.

This is the right thing to do for the country, and the compassionate and sensible thing to do for those who are making these illegal crossings. It is also what we said we would do when we left the EU. So how is this going to happen and what needs to change? There are three elements to that – operational, legal and international.

Operationally, there is much more that undoubtedly can be done in Britain and in France. Many people wonder why the French don’t intercept, and why Border Force pick up, migrants both in our waters, and on occasion in French waters too.

The reason is simple and shocking. Faced with the French border authorities at sea, migrants bounce their dinghy, threatening to capsize, or strip lifejackets from children and babies and hold them over the side. Next time you hear the phrase ‘safety at sea’, that’s what the French are really talking about. People threatening to drown themselves and other people if they don’t get their own way.

Well, people don’t get to choose which country to come to by threatening the lives of others. It’s got to stop. That’s why I’ve long called for a joint security zone and cross-channel agreement between Britain and France. So that wherever boats are intercepted on the Channel, they are done so under joint operations.

There’s existing precedent for this. Under the Le Touquet Agreement, there are juxtaposed controls. In addition, there are existing operational security and policing teams that work together, hand in glove, tackling the criminal gangs. It’s my view that no further financial agreements should be made with France unless a joint approach to the Channel is taken. Both sides need to work together if they are to change tactics successfully and face down the people traffickers.

The second element is part legal and part operational. On boat interception, it’s my view that they should be returned back to France. That’s the quickest and most certain way of ending the small boats crisis.

However, the new Nationality and Borders bill is also legislating for offshore processing centres. These are used in other countries and are considered a vital piece of the jigsaw in tackling illegal migration routes. They have been used in Australia and other countries, including EU nations, are looking at offshore processing.

One suggestion is that people may be flown to third countries where their claims will be processed. If so, then it will become ever more urgent to reform the Human Rights Act – which has played such a pivotal role in preventing the repatriation of people who have no legal right to be here, including those who have committed serious crimes while in the UK.

All this is welcome, and I have been supporting the new legislation coming forward. However, as night follows day, it follows that if legislation action is broad and bold and big and cross-departmental, then the opportunities for broadsides, and for dither and delay are made all the greater.

Labour is having a field day with misinformation and deliberate confusion. Let’s take family reunion as an example. Contrary to the out-of-date Labour lines, family members, including those not so closely related, can already apply from the UK to bring in children in the greatest need. The application can be made online, and the fee can be waived for those without the money to pay it.

This family reunion route includes people who are refugees or have other humanitarian needs. We play a leading role nationally and internationally helping those in need. We shouldn’t be afraid to say so. We need to say so much louder and clearer.

The problems we have are not limited to the UK. Indeed, they are global. Around the world, some 80 million people are displaced by conflict. People overwhelmingly stay close to conflict zones and in the regions of their homelands. The UK plays a leading global role in helping such displaced people, as it should do.

However, a fresh international compact is needed to tackle the challenges of this humanitarian need.  This is the third element of action.

I would like to see a new ‘COP26 for migrants’ – a new global agreement to update the post Second World War Refugee Convention for the modern era. That compact should include creating permanent homes, jobs, and towns in affected regions. It should help people who are long-term displaced to rebuild a life that can be additive, fulfilling and independent. Not simply stuck in a tent in a migrant camp reliant on aid handouts, while the years turn into decades.

2022 must be the year in which we tackle the small boats crisis effectively. It must also be the year where we show global leadership at tackling the migration crisis and the unacceptable international trafficking and trade in human misery that goes with it. If we do this, and I believe we can, we will fulfil our pledge to have strong borders – and show the values of what it means to be Global Britain too.

The author’s first ConservativeHome article on this issue published earlier this week can be read here.