Brexit won’t stop Channel migrants claims Nick Gibb
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Channel migrants aren’t completely monitored by French authorities, according to a new statement from the British Government. Nearly 3,000 migrants have crossed the Channel this month, taking the total for 2021 to nearly 23,000.
According to figures collated by the Home Office, the current total for this year to date is almost three-times greater than the number for the whole of 2020.
Despite low temperatures, nearly 1,200 migrants have arrived in the UK in two days, following a daily record of 853 migrants who crossed the Channel in 25 boats on Wednesday.
“Today, the French government failed in their duty to protect life and to uphold the joint agreement to stop small boats leaving France,” a Whitehall source said on Thursday.
“They let hundreds of people potentially set sail to their death whilst only stopping a couple of boats.
“They appear to have ceded sovereign territory to criminal people smugglers.
“This abject failure will be raised in the strongest possible terms with Gerald Darmanin and the French government.”
A Government source said efforts by France to stop the boats seemed “to be going backwards.”
“We are tied up in much bigger diplomacy,” they added.
“That’s one of the problems.
“There’s all the stuff with fishing and the Northern Ireland Protocol and general UK-French relations.”
Asked whether France was “going slow” as a result, the source said: “I can imagine that.”
The outrage only grew as the UK agreed to pay France £54 million to stop the migrants leaving the beaches through increased patrols in July.
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French General Frantz Tavart, who oversees the 130 gendarmes policing a 45-mile stretch of coastline covering the Pas-de-Calais region, assured The Telegraph his team was on the lookout for any illegal boats.
“I can tell you categorically that the orders coming from French authorities are to be as effective as possible to try and intercept a maximum number of migrants,” he said.
“It would be as stupid to suggest we would open the migratory floodgates due to a fishing dispute as it would to suggest we shouldn’t turn out to commemorate the British soldiers who died on French soil on Armistice Day, which I did today in Arras.”
On British soil, volunteers from Royal National Lifeboat Institution said they were at a “breaking point” given the number of migrants they have to save.
The RNLI was heavily involved in rescuing migrants on Thursday.
They dispatched lifeboats from across Kent and Sussex, including at Ramsgate, Dover, Dungeness and Hastings.
“This should really be a job for the Government, not the RNLI,” a volunteer told The Telegraph.
“What happens when there’s an emergency somewhere else and we are all out at sea rescuing migrants?
“It’s a very difficult situation.
“To be honest, we are all completely knackered.”
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