Graham Watson MEP

Liberal Democrat Member of the European Parliament for South West England and Gibraltar

A local champion with an international reputation

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Illegal immigrant people-smuggling ring caught by bodies Tories oppose

A cross-border people smuggling ring which illegally brought a total of 5,000 people from Afghanistan into the EU and the UK through Turkey, Greece and France was recently broken up by European policing and justice cooperation organisations Europol and Eurojust.

South West Liberal Democrat MEP and President of the European Liberal Democrat & Reform party Sir Graham Watson, who supports EU judge and police cooperation, has demanded that the Tories stop putting their Eurosceptic ideology before the UK's security. He said:

"This people trafficking ring, which charged Afghan migrants on average €10,000 per head to get them to the United Kingdom, ferrying 120 to 160 migrants per week into EU countries and making up to €18 million in profit, would not have been foiled if not for Europol and Eurojust."

"And yet, the Tories have repeatedly opposed these two bodies and are against any increase in their powers or resources, despite Eurojust only having about 300 full-time staff, which is less than half of the number of people who work for Ginster's Cornish pasty makers."

"UK prosecutors have said that thanks to Eurojust, procedures that used to take weeks or months are being done in hours. The UK asks for Eurojust's help in more cases than any other European country."

"The Conservatives are blinded by their anti-EU prejudice and cannot see how working together with other European countries and institutions can make our citizens safer and our borders more secure.

"It seems the Tories' knee-jerk anti-European prejudices would make us the victims of illegal immigration"

ENDS