France stops less than half of Channel migrants despite £480m from UK

Ann Widdecombe slams France over migrant deal

French efforts were branded “dismal” and “disappointing” after it emerged less than half of Channel migrants have been intercepted so far this year despite a £480million deal with Britain to stop crossings.

Official figures show that 13,759 migrants – or 45.2 per cent – have been stopped by the French since January.

The total is down from 17,032 – 45.8 per cent – over the same period last year.

There have been fewer attempted crossings this year, thought to be partly due to bad weather.

Rishi Sunak agreed to a three-year £480million deal with France in March as part of his pledge to stop small boats.

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READ MORE: Ann Widdecombe rages at France for giving ‘nothing’ in return for £480m deal

Tim Loughton, a former minister and a member of the Commons Home Affairs Committee, told The Telegraph: “These figures are very disappointing given the huge investment of resources funded by the British taxpayer, which we have been assured has led to enhanced patrols and therefore much better interception rates.

“Clearly we are paying more money for the French police to continue failing to stop even more migrants on the beaches before they get into the water.

“We need an immediate value for money assessment of exactly what the British taxpayer is getting for their money.”

Natalie Elphicke, the Tory MP for Dover, added that it was a “dismal” record.

She called for the French to agree to joint patrols with the UK on French beaches, which Paris has resisted.

Ms Elphicke said: “It’s important to remember that stopping the boats – and the brazen criminality that goes with them – is in the interests of both the UK and France.

“That’s why we all need to work together to bring this crisis to an end.”

It comes days after it emerged the EU has rejected a migrant returns agreement with Britain.

More than 17,000 people have made the dangerous journey from France so far this year.

The Prime Minister has made curbing Channel crossings one of his top five priorities.

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