A rubber dinghy used by migrants to cross the English channel
A rubber dinghy used by migrants to cross the English channel (Picture: Alamy).

Warning Navy will become 'taxi service' for migrants under 'Operation Dog's Dinner'

A rubber dinghy used by migrants to cross the English channel
A rubber dinghy used by migrants to cross the English channel (Picture: Alamy).

Conservative MPs have warned the Royal Navy will be operating a "taxi service" for migrants crossing the English Channel under what they've named "Operation Dog's Dinner".

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) is expected to take over command of the operation from Border Force by the end of the month – a move signed off by the Prime Minister.

Ministers came under fire from some on their backbenches for not seeking to push back small boats trying to reach England from France.

Armed Forces minister James Heappey said military involvement is part of a wider plan from the Government, set to be announced in the coming weeks.

The details are believed to be announced as part of a Government bid to offer "red meat" to Tory MPs in a bid to drive attention away from Downing Street lockdown party allegations.

However, Conservative former minister Sir Edward Leigh asked "what is the point in appointing a Royal Naval admiral to help Border Force to be a more efficient taxi service".

He added "migrants will know that now 'we have got the Royal Navy going to pick us up and we will be taken safety to the UK, and we will be put in a hotel and we will never ever be sent home'?

"This is just an embarrassment."

Conservative MP Philip Hollobone added in the Commons: "This isn't Operation Red Meat, it's Operation Dog's Dinner.

He added the plan would "incentivise people traffickers".

Watch: Royal Navy set to to take charge of English channel small boat crossings.

"They'll see the Royal Navy ship on the horizon and they'll say 'point your dinghy in that direction, you only need to get halfway' and the Royal Navy will pick them up," he said.

"The only way this will work is if the Royal Navy intercepts asylum seekers and returns them back to France."

However, Mr Heappey said: "The last bit would be impossible without French permission and French permission has not been given.

"But I don't accept his characterisation of what is being spoken about today.

"The MOD's mission is to make sure nobody arrives in the UK on their own terms."

It comes after Ghana's ministry of foreign affairs denied being involved in talks with the UK about potentially processing asylum seekers.

The Times reported that plans are being drawn up to send people to countries such as Ghana and Rwanda for processing and resettlement.

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