Statement on the major incident in Essex

23 October 2019

Priti Patel, Home Secretary, made a statement to the House on the recent major incident which occurred in Essex in which 39 people were found dead in a lorry container.

Following the news that police have found 39 bodies in a lorry container in an industrial estate in Essex, the Home Secretary updated MPs about the investigation.

In her statement to MPs, the Home Secretary stated the available facts of the case. She told the House that a 25-year-old man from Northern Ireland has been arrested on suspicion of murder. She commended the work of law enforcement, highlighting the work of the border force.:

The Minister said:

"Day in, day out, they [law enforcement agencies] work tirelessly to secure our borders against a wide range of threads, including people trafficking. And we will continue to work with international partners to keep people safe. Mr Speaker, this is a tragic loss of life, and I, and every one of my team, will continue to update the House as more facts on this dreadful incident become known."

Responding on behalf of the Opposition, Shadow Minister Diane Abbott praised the work of the emergency services. She emphasised that the victims should be shown compassion and noted that there are a range of circumstances that force people to flee their homes in dangerous circumstances. She advocated for safe and legal routes for refugees. The Shadow Home Secretary also asked the Minister for assurance that the Government would continue to cooperate with the EU 27 on people trafficking.  

The Shadow Minister said:

"It's important to remember that these 39 poor unfortunate people are the victims in this. They are preyed on by the greedy, the unscrupulous and people who simply have a wilful disregard for life. But we should take account of the wider context. Nobody leaves their homes on a journey like this, with so much risk and fear, on a whim. They often do it because they are actually desperate." 

Image: aitoff via Pixabay

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