The Hard Financial Facts From Former MEP Ben Habib

Graham Charles Lear
5 min readJul 3, 2023

Former MEP Ben Habib presents his thoughts on the migrant crisis.

I simply do not understand why the Sunak Government does not call out the French and the EU for refusing to take back their illegal migrants. If the French agreed to take them back immediately, it would not only stop the rapidly-increasing daily costs of housing them, it would also reduce the daily traffic across the English Channel to a trickle.

In the article below written by former MEP and businessman Ben Habib, he takes no prisoners. He says it like it is

“Why doesn’t the UK Government insist on Macron taking his illegal migrants back?”

- By Ben Habib

History has for centuries pitted France against England. Two proud great nations adjacent to each other, separated only by a sliver of water, forever competing on the World stage.

There are not many French or British citizens unaware of our shared and often disharmonious past. Two empires, two legal codes, two political systems, similar but markedly different cultures.

Neither prepared to yield to the other. To be French is, in part, to define yourself by France’s rivalry with England. And to be English is, in equal part, to define yourself by England’s rivalry with France.

We should have expected nothing less from France

So, when it came to Brexit, we should not have expected any favours from France — and we got none.

The French establishment did not respect our democratic decision to leave the EU. It did everything it could to make it as difficult as possible for the UK elegantly to leave. Macron repeatedly said the UK had to be punished. His mercantilist approach to trade had to come at a hefty cost for Britain. And in most ways, France won that battle.

We did not successfully break away from the EU. Northern Ireland was annexed on our way out. The rest of the UK did not get back control of its laws, cash, and borders.

We gave up one of our island’s most important natural resources to the French — our fish. Even though most licenses rapaciously to fish our waters went to France, Macron did not hesitate to take draconian action to get every last licence sought by his fishermen. Remember his illegitimate threat to cut off Jersey’s electricity and his equally illegitimate impounding of British ships?

Since 2016 all Macron has done is brief against the UK

Shuttling tirelessly between Paris, Brussels and Berlin he has been delivering anti-British messages

If only our leaders had his resolve. But our leaders are close to useless. Knowing full well France unremittingly looks after her own interests and having already experienced Macron’s Brexit beatings, they still have not learnt their lesson.

When it comes to stopping the boats it is utterly idiotic that Sunak, and Johnson before him, have sought French help; paying over oodles of British taxpayers’ money in the hope of changing the French leopard’s spots.

The hard financial facts

In 2019 we paid France £3.2 million to stop the boats; the result: the number of illegal migrants increased from 1,800 in 2019 to 8,500 in 2020. In 2020 we paid a whopping £54 million; the result: the number of illegal migrants increased to 28,000 in 2021.

Sticking to the same failed plan, we paid £55 million in 2021; the result: the number of illegal migrants increased to 46,000 in 2022. And in 2022 we paid £63 million; the result: the number of illegal migrants is forecast to increase to 80,000 this year.

The more we have paid, the greater the number that has crossed the Channel.

Encouraged by his complete failure, Sunak has promised to pay £500 million to the French over the next three years for the same end!! Is he stark raving mad? Even the bluntest knife in the box knows he is rewarding bad behaviour and encouraging the crossings.

Prime Minister take note: it is in France’s interest to allow the crossings to continue; especially if you pay them ever-increasing sums of money in return for nothing!

The problem is not just about the money wasted on France, or indeed the massive cost of housing, feeding, caring for and seeking to deport those that succeed in making the journey. It is also fundamentally about the dangers posed by these illegal entrants, about whom we know absolutely nothing.

Sunak is being grossly negligent with our money and our security

The solution to the illegal crossings is not through blowing cash on France; or on Rwanda (a cool £140 million and rising); or on useless domestic legislation trying to contort human rights law to enable the UK to step around the European Convention of Human Rights.

The solution lies in our using the sliver of water which separates us from France as it has been used for centuries, as a natural buffer.

The solution

We must use long-established international law to enforce our sea border. We do not need France’s blessing or support to do so. It is our right as an independent sovereign nation.

Border Force must do its job. Cease being a taxi service and start defending our border. Physically stop and then turn round the boats back to France.

- By Ben Habib, former MEP, CEO of First Property

Ben Habib says it like it is. If the French and the EU took their illegal migrants back — as they should — the problem of illegal crossings of the English Channel would dry up in a week.

Quite why the UK Government does not call out the French and the EU over this is completely beyond me. They should be shouting this from the rooftops at home and at every international gathering.

As I have stated many times, these are the EU’s illegal migrants as a result of its repeated failure to control its external borders. Why should the British taxpayer fund the EU’s failures to the tune of £6 million per day and rising?

Sources: Ben Habib



Graham Charles Lear

What is life without a little controversy in it? Quite boring and sterile would be my answer.