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A Tortoise File

Immigration & Asylum

As the post-Brexit era begins, what does Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s vision of “global Britain” mean?

First published
Monday 4 January 2021

Last updated
Monday 15 February 2021

Why this story?

The English Channel has been the focus of intense media and political outrage as the number of migrants crossing the narrow sea grew dramatically in 2020 – partly as a result of tighter security around the Calais port and partly because freight transport was massively cut during the pandemic.

But while the numbers of very visible migrant journeys rose last summer, asylum claims actually fell overall. So how significant is the issue, really? And is the UK honest about the burden it shares when it comes to asylum applications?

As the post-Brexit era begins, what does Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s vision of “global Britain” mean? By looking at what’s going on in the Channel, we thought we might learn something about who we are and what kind of country we want to be: one that opens up and is part of something bigger, or one with the sovereign right to shut the door and turn away? Are we global Britain, or fortress Britain? David Taylor, editor

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