• Keir Starmer will announce plans to create a ‘Border Security Command’ 

Labour will today unveil plans for a new quango to make Britain’s shores ‘hostile territory’ for people smugglers.

In a speech on the Kent coast, Keir Starmer will announce plans to create a ‘Border Security Command’ to tackle the small boats crisis.

The body will bring together key agencies including MI5, the National Crime Agency, Immigration Enforcement and the Crown Prosecution Service.

It will be bolstered by new counter- terror powers to smash the smuggling gangs, Labour said.

A border security commander – a former police, military or intelligence chief – will be appointed to lead the body and report to the Home Secretary.

Keir Starmer (pictured) will announce plans to create a 'Border Security Command' to tackle the small boats crisis

Keir Starmer (pictured) will announce plans to create a ‘Border Security Command’ to tackle the small boats crisis

Officers escort migrants picked up by the RNLI whilst attempting to cross the English Channel on December 9, 2022

Officers escort migrants picked up by the RNLI whilst attempting to cross the English Channel on December 9, 2022 

Labour also said it would hire hundreds of specialist investigators, intelligence agents and cross-border police officers to work across the UK and Europe to protect the border.

The plans will be paid for by redirecting £75million of the allocated costs for the Rwanda scheme, which Labour has repeatedly vowed to scrap – even if it is working. Sir Keir is expected to be joined for the speech by his party’s newest MP, Natalie Elphicke, who defected from the Tories on Wednesday.

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She accused Rishi Sunak of failing to deliver on his promise to stop the boats, but her shock move caused a major backlash in opposition circles.

The Labour leader will say his plan replaces ‘gimmicks with graft’, and he will accuse the Tories of overseeing a ‘talk tough, do nothing culture’ that has led to record numbers of small boat arrivals. But last night Home Secretary James Cleverly said Sir Keir’s ‘big new idea is an amnesty’.

Labour has previously said it will overturn the Government’s asylum ban by considering the claims of all those who have entered the UK illegally since March last year.

Mr Cleverly said: ‘Rather than starting the flights and stopping the boats, Sir Keir Starmer’s big new idea is an amnesty for all illegal immigrants.’

A smuggler jumps into the water after embarking migrants on the beach of Gravelines, near Dunkirk, northern France on October 12, 2022

A smuggler jumps into the water after embarking migrants on the beach of Gravelines, near Dunkirk, northern France on October 12, 2022 

Graph showing the number of migrants that have arrived in the UK by crossing the Channel since 2019

Graph showing the number of migrants that have arrived in the UK by crossing the Channel since 2019

A source close to the Home Secretary likened the plans to a ‘rearranging official deck chairs to create a quango directed to do work they’ve already been doing under this Government’.

The source added: ‘He’s setting himself up as a Labour King Canute claiming his hollow words can stop the waves. Meanwhile this Government will continue working to stop the boats.’

Sir Keir will declare it is his ‘firm belief’ that ‘we also need new and stronger powers to enforce the law and bring these smugglers to justice’.

He will say: ‘I know we use the term small boats, but these boats are not, for the most part, that small.

‘The gangs now use dinghies on a scale way beyond anything you would see for legitimate recreational activity. We should be working with our European partners to seize those boats, and seize material here in the UK to collect further evidence.

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‘We should turn over every stone and use every reasonable power – that is my message to the smugglers: these shores will become hostile territory for you.’

A total of 8,826 migrants have arrived in the UK after crossing the Channel so far this year, provisional Home Office figures show. This is up 32 per cent on this time last year, when 6,691 migrants were recorded, and a 14 per cent rise compared with the same period in 2022 (7,750).

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