Migrant crossings: Host on 'controversial' legislation
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UK ministers are concerned about the low rate of interceptions of migrants after £54million funding was given to Paris last month as part of a new agreement. The UK Government agreed to give French authorities the cash last month to beef up patrols on French beaches and boost surveillance.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesperson said the rise in migrants crossing the English Channel in small boats was “unacceptable”.
They said “more needs to be done” on the “dangerous and unnecessary small boat crossings”.
A UK Government source added: “Its clear results are needed, we need to see action by the French Government as soon as possible.”
Calls are now being made for a joint maritime brigade to turn back migrants to be set up.
The calls, put forward by Tory MPs and a leading French politician, involve new tactics being introduced to prevent the surge.
Xavier Bertrand, president of the regional council of Hauts-de-France said a “Franco-British maritime brigade” would be a solution to “break the traffic in the Channel.”
Mr Bertrand, who is standing as a Republican party candidate in the 2022 French Presidential election, said a joint brigade would “show that the passages to the United Kingdom are impossible.”
But he hit out at Boris Johnson over “British hypocrisy” on its harsh action on French fishermen but not people smugglers.
He added: “The British have been very good at threatening to send the Navy for our fishermen.
“Why don’t they make the same effort to stop the smugglers?
“There is enough British hypocrisy.”
Shoreham MP Tim Loughton said we need “something that effectively deters them”.
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Dover MP Natalie Elphicke added it was time to “bring an end to these illegal and dangerous journeys.”
But Labour claimed the Government was in “chaos” over the migrant problem.
Nick Thomas-Symonds, Shadow Home Secretary, said: “Time and time again, the Government has announced arrangements with France using taxpayers’ money but the numbers keep increasing.
“The Government needs to have a strategy that includes tackling the criminal gangs that operate away from the coast of France that are facilitating these dangerous crossings.
“Ministers must also reopen safe and legal routes to prevent people undertaking this dangerous sea crossing, and reverse the decision to close the Department for International Development that was addressing why people become displaced from their homes.”
On the UK side, the Home Office is also pressing ahead with plans to build a facility to process arrivals in Kent.
A new Intake Unit will be expected to house hundreds of new arrivals seeking asylum in the UK and will be operational next May.
A Home Office spokesperson said: “Our New Plan for Immigration is the only credible long-term plan to fix the broken asylum system and bring this exploitation to an end.”
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