A TORY MP says the only way to stop people dying crossing the channel is to bring forward stronger laws targeting the crossings.

South Basildon and East Thurrock MP Stephen Metcalfe is calling for powers proposed in Priti Patel’s Nationality and Borders Bill to be fast tracked – in a similar manner to Covid legislation – to halt the crossing.

At a debate in the House of Commons on Monday (November 22) Mr Metcalfe called for specific powers to be bought forward with haste.

“People across the country are rightly angry about the current situation on illegal channel crossings and want to see action,” he said, a few days before at least 31 people died attempting the crossing.

Following the tragedy, Mr Metcalfe reiterated his position still stood.

“If anything the tragedy in the channel highlights why we need to stop this illegal and very dangerous route that is primarily run by organised criminals who sell the idea of hope,” he said.

“They cram people into unsafe dinghies across the busiest channel in the world and it sadly is inevitable that these sorts of accidents are going to happen and that’s why we need to find ways of stopping it.”

Zoe Gardner from the Joint Council of Welfare for Immigrants disagrees with Mr Metcalfe’s assessment and has called for provision of safer alternatives to smuggling boats.

She told BBC Breakfast: “This tragedy was completely predictable, indeed it was predicted and it was completely preventable.

“This has to be a time for our Government to mark a turning point, this tragedy must not be allowed to continue and that means changing our approach, not more of the same failed policies.”

For years law enforcement on both sides of the English Channel have been playing a game of cat and mouse with criminal gangs as tactics change and evolve.

But despite millions of pounds spent and dozens of arrests, thousands of people continue to attempt the perilous crossing, with many paying huge sums to do so.

Since the start of last year, more than 30,000 people have risked death crossing to the UK aboard dinghies, kayaks and other small boats.

There have been more than 300 border-related deaths in and around the English Channel since 1999, according to a report by the Institute of Race Relations, the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal London steering group and French group Gisti.