What will the verdict of history be on a country that turns its back so flagrantly upon human rights in general and the right to seek asylum through any available means in particular (Priti Patel to send boats carrying migrants to UK back across Channel, 9 September)? Priti Patel and Boris Johnson will join Donald Trump and Viktor Orbán et al as the embodiment of all that is most repugnant in the rightwing agenda, rejecting definitively any residual claim to moral leadership these once humane countries might have possessed. I doubt that I am alone in telling European friends of the shame I feel at allowing such people to lead my country. Their contribution to the defeat of the democratic ideal should not be underestimated by history.
Stonegrave, North Yorkshire
I am writing to you to express my disgust at Priti Patel’s plans to implement laws for the UK Border Force to allow “pushbacks” in the Channel. I have witnessed and documented pushbacks by the Hellenic Coast Guard while volunteering for rescue charities in Greece. They are never humane or safe, with a hugely increased risk of weak and scared men, women and children who cannot swim entering the water.
In addition to it being completely unsafe, it is in violation of international law. I understand that we must not let smugglers and those who prey on the innocent and vulnerable get away with their dangerous actions, but that is not achieved by endangering the lives of those they prey upon. I am ashamed to be represented in the eyes of the world by a government which thinks that pushing helpless people back in incredibly dangerous conditions is acceptable behaviour.
Eleuthera du Breuil
I was absolutely appalled to read this article. I have worked supporting asylum seekers for the past 10 years and almost everyone has been fleeing intolerable persecution, desperate to escape to a country where they feel safe. For those coming from former British colonies the UK seems the obvious place, although why they would seek sanctuary from a country which has already plundered and generally mistreated theirs seems counterintuitive to me. Priti Patel would do well to stop spending scarce resources on cruel policies and work out what to do about knife crime and gang culture.
Huddersfield, West Yorkshire