Migrant crossings continue as charity says Home Office has ‘lost control’

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The record number of migrants continuing to cross the Channel to UK shores shows the Home Office has “lost control”, a charity has claimed.

At least 235 migrants made the dangerous journey across the world’s busiest shipping lane on Thursday in 17 boats, setting a new single day record.

The crossings continued on Friday morning as calm waters remained amid warm and sunny weather.

Pictures showed Border Force officials escorting a young family ashore at Dover, Kent, after the body’s vessels Seeker and Speedwell were both active in the Channel.

This came amid speculation the Royal Navy could be drafted in to patrol the busy shipping lanes if the high number of migrant crossings continues.

Thursday was the second time in just over a week that a new single-day record has been set, after 202 people crossed to the UK on July 30.

The Home Office has not yet provided a full breakdown of Thursday’s crossings – which also included 15 migrants being apprehended on Dungeness beach – so the total number could be higher still.

Human rights charity Detention Action has accused the Home Office of “fuelling chaos, criminality and untold trauma”.

(PA Graphics)
(PA Graphics)

Detention Action director Bella Sankey said: “The Home Office has lost control and all credibility on this issue, fuelling chaos, criminality and untold trauma for those who feel forced to make these dangerous crossings.

“Trying to make this route ‘unviable’ through greater enforcement is naive grandstanding and amounts to more of the same.

“What is needed is recognition that people who reach France will have valid claims to protection in the UK and the urgent development of safe and legal routes for them to do so.

“This would end the crossings overnight and ensure we are standing by our age-old tradition of protecting those seeking sanctuary on our shores.”

Chancellor Rishi Sunak
Rishi Sunak said the UK would work closely with France (Andy Buchanan/PA)

He told Sky News: “I think people are absolutely right to be frustrated at the scenes they’re seeing. I’m frustrated, everyone is, which is why we’ve been working much more closely with the French government in recent time to improve our co-operation and intelligence-sharing to police crossings.

“The immigration minister will be visiting France again, I believe next week, to discuss how we can step up that co-operation and take further action, further measures and stronger measures as required to stop and reduce the tide of boats coming.”

Asked about reports that the Navy will be used, he said: “I wouldn’t want to speculate on exactly what measures will be put in place.

“It’s important that we work closely with our French allies on this situation.

“Obviously France is a safe country for migrants to be. We all want to see these crossings reduced and, pending the outcomes of those conversations, we can decide on the best next steps to take.”

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