Labor's plan to strike a migrant return deal with the EU has been smashed by Theresa May's former deputy chief of staff.
Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper said the UK needs a “comprehensive new deal” with the Union like the Dublin Regulation.
EU law, to which Great Britain is no longer bound since Brexit, allows asylum seekers to be returned to the first country.
But Nick Timothy, the Tory candidate for Matt Hancock's seat in the next general election, said: “Here we go again.”
“In 2017, 314 migrants from the UK and 461 migrants to the UK were returned under the Dublin Regulation. The year before it was 362 and 558. Dublin didn't work. Workers are not serious.”
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In an interview with BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Ms Cooper admitted the Dublin Regulation was not a ‘cure-all' but insisted a deal must be at the heart of it.
She said: “What we need is a comprehensive new agreement with the EU and with France and also with neighboring countries.”
“To be fair to Theresa May, she has proposed stronger security cooperation, stronger other measures and partnerships, and David Frost abandoned many of those things as they considered what the new deal and arrangements should look like.
“What you need to do is look at safe returns and also safe routes, for example for people who have family in the UK like we had under the Dublin Accord.”
When asked why the EU would agree to such a deal, she continued: “Ultimately, this has to be the focus because these are our closest neighbours. This is a common problem we have in relation to what is happening with the criminal gangs.” If you operate across Europe, your employees travel across Europe.
“So many people argue that things have actually gotten worse since we lost the Dublin Accord.
“I agree that the Dublin agreement was not a panacea, but it included the possibility of repatriation to other European countries and also safe routes, for example for unaccompanied asylum seekers, children who had family in the UK, so they were. “I'm not being taken advantage of by criminal gangs or even trying to make those dangerous crossings.”
At the start of the programme, Immigration Secretary Robert Jenrick said the Dublin Regulation “didn't work well”.
He said: “Indeed, the operation last year brought more people into Britain from the continent than sent the other way.”
“It's not something that other European countries support today, it's evolved significantly now and the EU itself is looking at other arrangements.”