News, Culture & Society

Boris Johnson urges Macron to act on migrant crisis

Boris Johnson warned last night that tackling the migrant crisis is impossible without tougher action from France after 1,185 people crossed in a day.

The record number on Thursday smashed the tally of 853 set on November 3. French authorities are only stopping as few as one in 13 of the migrants heading across the Channel for the UK.

Britain previously indicated it expected France to stop three in four, and could withhold £54million in funding as a result.

The Prime Minister insisted ministers were dealing with the crisis ‘in the most effective way possible’. But he added: ‘They are coming from France. In the end, if the French will not or cannot control those departures it is very difficult for us to turn them back at sea. We want to do that in a humane and safe way but it is very difficult.’

Mr Johnson stressed the Government was changing the law to distinguish between those who arrive legally or illegally. He said this would make an ‘important difference’ but would ‘not be the end of the story’.

The record number on Thursday smashed the tally of 853 set on November 3. French authorities are only stopping as few as one in 13 of the migrants heading across the Channel for the UK. Pictured: Migrants heading for UK

He urged French President Emmanuel Macron to do more, saying that shutting down the Channel route would result in fewer migrants being attracted to France.

‘The whole of Europe faces a migration crisis but we need to focus on those French beaches,’ he said. ‘What I would say to our French friends is… you need to close down that movement from the French beaches to the UK if you want to stop people coming to France to come to the UK.’

With no solutions in sight a UK Border Force source warned the numbers are likely to rise even further thanks to the thousands of asylum seekers now being funnelled by Belarus into Europe.

Boris Johnson urged French President Emmanuel Macron to do more, saying that shutting down the Channel route would result in fewer migrants being attracted to France

Boris Johnson urged French President Emmanuel Macron to do more, saying that shutting down the Channel route would result in fewer migrants being attracted to France

Almost 20,000 are in the ex Soviet republic with about 4,000 already in the freezing forests on Poland’s porous eastern border.

Yesterday Polish defence minister Mariusz Blaszczak revealed Britain is sending military engineers to help with constructing a new fence on its frontier with Belarus.

A Border Force source said: ‘How many massing on the border with Poland now will be in northern France in six weeks’ time, and then the UK a week after that?’

With no solutions in sight a UK Border Force source warned the numbers are likely to rise even further thanks to the thousands of asylum seekers now being funnelled by Belarus into Europe. Pictured: Children arriving at Dover docks being helped

With no solutions in sight a UK Border Force source warned the numbers are likely to rise even further thanks to the thousands of asylum seekers now being funnelled by Belarus into Europe. Pictured: Children arriving at Dover docks being helped 

In total 1,185 migrants were detained by Border Force officers from 33 craft, the Home Office confirmed. French authorities intercepted just seven voyages, with 99 people on board – just under one in 13 of those known to have attempted the trip.

However, three people were feared drowned after French coastguards were alerted to two kayaks adrift near Calais. Two migrants on board were rescued – but a search was unable to find their companions.

The latest figures take the number known to have crossed the Channel to more than 23,500 this year, almost treble the 2020 record of 8,400.

Home Secretary Priti Patel has authorised tactics to stop and turn around the small boats, but they have yet to be deployed.

Pierre-Henri Dumont, the MP for Calais, warned that France’s hundreds of miles of coast could never be completely secure, saying: ‘We are doing whatever we can. But when we are talking about hundreds of people trying to cross every night, we cannot stop everyone because of the length of the shore.’

But Dover’s Tory MP Natalie Elphicke said: ‘It’s simply not credible that 1,000 people in one day can go down the beach and hop onto small boats without the French authorities noticing.

Home Secretary Priti Patel has authorised tactics to stop and turn around the small boats, but they have yet to be deployed

Home Secretary Priti Patel has authorised tactics to stop and turn around the small boats, but they have yet to be deployed

‘The French need to get a grip and clamp down on the organised criminal gangs who are behind this problem.’

The Immigration Service Union complained that the huge numbers arriving at the migrant reception centre at Dover had left hundreds sleeping on concrete floors.

The Home Office’s Clandestine Channel Threat Commander Dan O’Mahoney said: ‘Migrants making these dangerous crossings are putting their lives at risk. As part of our response it is important we have a maritime deterrent in the Channel and Border Force officers are authorised to use safe and legal options for stopping small boats.’

A spokesman for French interior minister Gerald Darmanin failed to reply to requests for comment.

But Dover's Tory MP Natalie Elphicke said: 'It's simply not credible that 1,000 people in one day can go down the beach and hop onto small boats without the French authorities noticing

But Dover’s Tory MP Natalie Elphicke said: ‘It’s simply not credible that 1,000 people in one day can go down the beach and hop onto small boats without the French authorities noticing

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk