Priti Patel slammed for avoiding media scrutiny during visit to Kent coastline

A picture of Home secretary Priti Patel with two men in suits behind her

Home secretary Priti Patel asked staff to explore building an asylum seeker processing centre on Ascension Island - Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire.

Priti Patel has been slammed by journalists for avoiding media scrutiny during a visit to the Kent coastline, instead opting to record her own video to give her thoughts.

A video clip was posted on the Home Office's official Twitter page showing the home secretary touring Dover port and speaking to customs officials.

Her visit on Wednesday comes following a spate of refugees arriving along the Kent coastline by boat and was a chance for the Home Office to promote its border force efforts in the English Channel.

Patel had threatened to 'send in the Royal Navy' to tow vessels carrying refugees back to France.

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She has begun negotiations on a new border cooperation policy with her French counterpart, Gerald Darmanin, after a previous deal collapsed.

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In the video, the home secretary is heard saying that the number of refugees arriving on British shores without a visa was 'absolutely appalling and shameful' and that her government was working to impose 'penalties' on people smugglers.

But Patel's choice to avoid media scrutiny was quickly slammed on Twitter after the video was posted.

BBC Home Affairs correspondent Daniel Sandford said: 'In the end it is up to the UK public to decide whether they want to see their politicians at times of crisis talking in self-crafted promo videos like this, or in a genuine engagement with the broadcast media like ITN, Sky and BBC News.'

Stephen Farry, the deputy leader of the Alliance Party in Northern Ireland, posted: 'Not a word of empathy for those vulnerable and desperate people seeking refuge or asylum who find themselves forced into situation of risking their lives crossing the channel. Needs a different focus @ukhomeoffice.'

Environmental campaigner Gareth Dean said: 'All a distraction from the contracts for friends to deliver non-working Personal Protective Equipment, the Cummings scandal, the Jenrick scandal & the appalling death rate from C19 bungling.'

Other made light of the situation.

Callum May quipped: 'Congrats to the Home Office for getting an interview with the Home Secretary, who doesn't answer questions often.'

Writer Matt Haig wrote: 'In Dunkirk 2 we're the bad guys stopping the small boats.'

Channelling Alan Partridge, Will Davies joked: 'Was this produced by the same people who did the Hamilton Water Breaks ad?'

@Lobster_A wrote: 'Finally! Can't believe it's taken this long but I'm glad to see that the govt is watching the border to protect us from *Checks notes* Refugees??

'Not the f****** pandemic that has killed 40,000 in England alone?'

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