We are hugely concerned by the new plans to turn back boats with people attempting to cross the English Channel. At a time where there are very few official and safe ways to enter the UK to claim asylum, the utmost priority should be the safety of those escaping war or persecution. No one should be punished for the manner in which they reach this county or put at even greater danger on this perilous journey.

Just a matter of weeks ago we all watched scenes in Afghanistan demonstrating the urgency and desperation of forced displacement, and in an act of compassion, huge numbers of British people offered food, clothing, cash donations and even their homes. The UK can, and should, set an example of this kind of compassion and humanity on our own doorstep.