'Deeply concerning': Why the rise in migrants crossing the English Channel?

Dec 31, 2018, 02:47
'Deeply concerning': Why the rise in migrants crossing the English Channel?

On Friday, Home Secretary Sajid Javid declared the matter a "major incident" prompting him to cut short a family holiday to deal with it.

Sajid Javid said he will keep the number of Border Force vessels under close review, but the Defence Secretary has said that the military was ready to offer help if needed.

The Member of Parliament for Dover on England's southeast coast, Charlie Elphicke, has called for more government funding to deal with the arrivals and the Home Office said Javid has asked border officials to look at options for bringing in extra patrol ships.

Tom Watson and Yvette Cooper.

French authorities rescued eight migrants off the port of Calais
French authorities rescued eight migrants off the port of Calais

The Home Secretary's handling of the issue was described as "Dad's Army" by one critic, the Mail on Sunday says, while one MP called for boats to be seized.

She said: "There are serious safety issues here, there are tiny dingy's in a major shipping channel and children on some of them".

The Home Office said increased activity would be led from the UK-France Co-ordination Centre at Coquelles, near Calais.

Authorities on both sides of the Channel are anxious about the sharp increase in the number of migrants trying to reach Britain by sea.

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But he was it was "vital we strike a balance between protecting them and protecting our borders" after he was urged to deploy more Border Force Cutters.

The National Crime Agency (NCA) has warned that more "highly dangerous" attempts by migrants to reach the United Kingdom are likely.

Mr Javid has appointed a "gold commander" to take overall charge of the situation and make strategic decisions about the response.

Mr Hogben said "significant resources" were being devoted to helping French authorities disrupt trafficking activities and dozens of crossing have been prevented, while "three suspected facilitators" had been arrested and charged.

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Lucy Moreton also said it was "very hard to know" how much the French authorities were doing to prevent people-smuggling from the camps housing migrants around Calais.

"These are extremely risky circumstances in which people are choosing to cross borders", MP Diane Abbott said.

"Instead of laying the blame exclusively at the hands of criminal gangs, Sajid Javid must step up and provide safe passage for those in distress if he wants to avoid further human tragedy".

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