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Freeze them out: Call for boycott of ‘woke’ US ice-cream company Ben & Jerry’s

Calls have been made to boycott ‘woke’ Ben & Jerry’s after the outspoken ice cream giant criticised Priti Patel’s handling of the migrant crisis.

The company’s UK branch noisily passed moral judgement on the Home Secretary’s call for the Navy to halt the stream of migrants crossing the Channel on Twitter.  

Social media users are now hitting out at Ben & Jerry’s, originally a Vermont-based ice cream parlour founded by hippies Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield in 1978, for ‘virtue signalling’ after it criticised the UK government’s ‘lack of humanity’. 

Twitter accounts are demanding a boycott of the ‘woke’ company, which is accused of launching a ‘shameless marketing attempt during a heatwave’. 

Ben & Jerry’s was slammed for going on a ‘ridiculous rant’ by Twitter users who shared articles about its past business with dairy farm suppliers in Vermont which employed migrant workers in slavishly-poor working conditions until 2017. 

Others claimed Ben & Jerry’s ‘poses’ as a social justice organisation which preaches about racial and climate justice, LGBT equality and democracy, despite its acquisition by Anglo-Dutch food conglomerate Unilever for $325million in 2000. 

Sources close to Ms Patel branded Ben & Jerry’s ‘overpriced junk food’ while ministers angrily told the ice cream maker to keep its nose out of politics.  

Ministers have today slammed outspoken ice cream giant Ben & Jerry’s after its chilly criticism of Priti Patel’s handling of the spiralling migrant crisis

Sources close to Ms Patel branded Ben & Jerry's 'overpriced junk food' after Ben & Jerry's UK Twitter account criticised the government's 'lack of humanity ' for refugees (pictured, a boat full of men is seen on the last leg of their journey from France to England yesterday)

Sources close to Ms Patel branded Ben & Jerry’s ‘overpriced junk food’ after Ben & Jerry’s UK Twitter account criticised the government’s ‘lack of humanity ‘ for refugees (pictured, a boat full of men is seen on the last leg of their journey from France to England yesterday)

Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield at the global announcement of Ben & Jerry's ice cream going 100 per cent Fairtrade on February 18, 2010, in London

Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield at the global announcement of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream going 100 per cent Fairtrade on February 18, 2010, in London

Tories have joined the angry pile-on, with James Cleverly MP tweeting: 'Can I have a large scoop of statistically inaccurate virtue signalling with my grossly overpriced ice cream please'. Ben Bradley MP also told the ice-cream maker to keep its nose out of politics, crowing: 'You're here for ice cream... not moral judgements, thank you very much!'

Tories have joined the angry pile-on, with James Cleverly MP tweeting: ‘Can I have a large scoop of statistically inaccurate virtue signalling with my grossly overpriced ice cream please’. Ben Bradley MP also told the ice-cream maker to keep its nose out of politics, crowing: ‘You’re here for ice cream… not moral judgements, thank you very much!’

TalkRadio broadcaster Julia Hartley-Brewer said: 'Hey @benandjerrys your opinions on ice cream flavours are welcome but I'm not sure virtue signalling about border controls is really your area of expertise. Get back to freezing cream and leave the woke politics to someone else...' Andrew Neil criticised Ben & Jerry's alleged hypocrisy: 'You're now wholly owned by a massive global conglomerate called Unilever. Perhaps if it paid the taxes HMRC thinks you should pay we could afford to accommodate many more asylum seekers'

TalkRadio broadcaster Julia Hartley-Brewer said: ‘Hey @benandjerrys your opinions on ice cream flavours are welcome but I’m not sure virtue signalling about border controls is really your area of expertise. Get back to freezing cream and leave the woke politics to someone else…’ Andrew Neil criticised Ben & Jerry’s alleged hypocrisy: ‘You’re now wholly owned by a massive global conglomerate called Unilever. Perhaps if it paid the taxes HMRC thinks you should pay we could afford to accommodate many more asylum seekers’

Social media users attacked Ben & Jerry's today after its intervention in the migrant crisis

Social media users attacked Ben & Jerry’s today after its intervention in the migrant crisis

Who are Ben and Jerry? Self-proclaimed hippies who started one of the world’s most recognisable ice cream brands before selling out to Unilever 

Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield at Ben & Jerry's 10th Anniversary Celebration Of Peace Day at The Box in September 21, 2009 in New York

Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield at Ben & Jerry’s 10th Anniversary Celebration Of Peace Day at The Box in 2009 in New York

Ben Cohen

Cohen was born in Brooklyn, New York, and raised in the town of Merrick, on Long Island. Cohen first met and befriended his future business partner Jerry Greenfield in a seventh grade gym class in 1963. In his senior year, Cohen found work as an ice cream man before leaving to attend Colgate University in Hamilton, New York.

Over the next decade, Cohen pursued his interest in pottery and dropped out of college after his sophomore year. He also worked as McDonald’s cashier, Pinkerton guard, deliverer of pottery wheels, mop-boy at Jamesway and Friendly’s, assistant superintendent, ER clerk, and taxi driver, before settling on work as a craft teacher at a private school for emotionally-disturbed adolescents. While teaching at the Highland Community School, Cohen began experimenting with making his own ice cream.

Jerry Greenfield

Greenfield grew up on Long Island and attended Merrick Avenue Junior High School, where he met Ben Cohen in 1963. Greenfield and Cohen both attended Calhoun High School and remained friends until they both graduated and left Long Island to attend college. Greenfield chose to pursue a pre-med curriculum at Oberlin College. At Oberlin, Greenfield began working as an ice cream scooper in the school’s cafeteria.

After graduating in 1973, Greenfield failed to get into medical school. At this point, Greenfield decided to move back to New York where he shared an apartment with Cohen and worked as a lab technician. In 1974, Greenfield was again rejected from medical school and decided to move to North Carolina with his future wife and continued to work as a lab technician.

Ben & Jerry's British branch criticised the Home Secretary’s call for the Navy to stop migrants crossing the Channel

Ben & Jerry’s British branch criticised the Home Secretary’s call for the Navy to stop migrants crossing the Channel

Ben & Jerry’s founding

Greenfield lived with Cohen in Saratoga Springs, New York during the summer of 1977. They decided to go into business with each other in May 1978, the two men opened Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Ice Cream Parlor in Burlington, Vermont. They initially intended to start a bagel business, but found the equipment costs prohibitive and switched to ice cream instead.

They chose Burlington as a location because it was a prominent college town which, at the time, had no ice cream shop. They took a five-dollar correspondence course in ice-cream making and opened their first store in a former gas station. Ben & Jerry’s opened in the summer of 1978.

Ben & Jerry’s distinctive style of ice cream was developed to compensate for Cohen’s anosmia, as he kept adding larger and larger chunks to the ice cream to satisfy his need for texture in food. Ben & Jerry’s became popular in Burlington. 

Unilever and social activism

Ben & Jerry’s was sold to Marmite and Dove soap maker Unilever for $325million in 2000. Reports indicate that Greenfield pocketed $9.5million while Cohen took away $41million. 

Both Cohen and Greenfield are still paid to represent the brand, though neither has formal responsibilities.   

Speaking in 2015, Greenfield said: ‘Oh yes, I’m definitely an ageing hippy. Many people think the hippies were irresponsible but we really believed in all that stuff about peace and love and caring for each other; we still do. And we still try to make a difference.’ 

He added: ‘Ben & Jerry’s continues to have an anti-corporatist and anti-authoritarian outlook on all the big issues we care about, such as climate change and social values, and remains outspoken when it’s important.’ 

Cohen turned his new-found wealth and prominence toward a variety of social causes, generally through the Ben & Jerry’s Foundation. The Foundation receives 7.5 per cent of all Ben & Jerry’s pre-tax profits and distributes funds to organizations such as the Anti Displacement Project. 

He supported Dennis Kucinich in the 2004 Democratic Party presidential primaries. In 2008, he initially supported John Edwards followed by Barack Obama. Cohen became a prominent supporter of Bernie Sanders during the 2016 Democratic Party presidential primaries.

Cohen debuted a special ice cream flavour called ‘Bernie’s Yearning’ on January 25, 2016 out of support for Sanders. Ben & Jerry’s released a statement disavowing connection or support for the product.

On April 18, 2016, Cohen was arrested, with Greenfield, while at a Democracy Awakening protest in Washington, DC. On February 21, 2019, Cohen was named a national co-chair of Bernie Sanders’ 2020 campaign. 

James Cleverly MP tweeted: ‘Can I have a large scoop of statistically inaccurate virtue signalling with my grossly overpriced ice cream please’.  

Immigration minister Chris Philp told the ice cream maker to ‘stick to ice cream’, adding: ‘They’re ‘fleeing’ France, which is safe, civilised & has a good asylum system.

‘Last year the UK made 20,000 asylum grants. We are the only G7 country to meet the 0.7% aid target & have run the largest refugee resettlement scheme in Europe over the last 5 years. Stick to ice cream.’ 

Tory Ben Bradley MP also told the US ice-cream maker to keep its nose out of politics, crowing: ‘You’re here for ice cream… not moral judgements, thank you very much!’  

Speaking to reporters in Dover, Nigel Farage said: ‘With all the tough talk and with it happening every day it’s becoming a bit of a national humiliation;

‘Until people know that coming via this route they will not be allowed to stay, they will just keep on coming.’

The former Brexit Party leader also defended the use of the word ‘invasion’ to describe the migrants arriving in the UK by sea.

‘I said in April I thought there would be a summer invasion, by which I meant a very large number of people illegally landing on our beaches now,’ he said.

‘As it is, some land on beaches but most get picked up before. I think it’s a pretty reasonable use of the word, yes.’

The backlash mounted after Twitter accounts shared articles explaining how hippy Ben & Jerry’s came under pressure in 2017 to ensure dairy farms supplying it with milk in Vermont provided humane conditions for their migrant workers.

A survey by Migrant Justice, the farmworkers’ advocacy group that lobbied Ben & Jerry’s, found that workers in Vermont’s dairy industry had been labouring under their own grim circumstances had few days off, did not sleep properly, and also had substandard housing, the New York Times reported. 

Ben & Jerry’s signed an agreement with the group that October to establish labour standards for the company’s suppliers in the state, giving dairy workers in their supply chain a full day off each week, Vermont minimum wage, eight hours between shifts, and a guarantee that housing will include a real bed, electricity and clean running water.

Then chief executive Jostein Solheim said at the time: ‘We love to be part of innovation. We believe in worker-led movements, and in bringing in dairy and doing it in Vermont.’ 

Tweeting today, TalkRadio broadcaster Julia Hartley-Brewer said: ‘Hey @benandjerrys your opinions on ice cream flavours are welcome but I’m not sure virtue signalling about border controls is really your area of expertise. 

‘Get back to freezing cream and leave the woke politics to someone else…’ 

Meanwhile veteran journalist Andrew Neil criticised Ben & Jerry’s alleged hypocrisy: ‘You’re now wholly owned by a massive global conglomerate called Unilever. 

‘Perhaps if it paid the taxes HMRC thinks you should pay we could afford to accommodate many more asylum seekers.’ 

Ben & Jerry’s says it is an ice cream maker which behaves like a social justice organisation. According to its former chairman Jeff Furman, the company ‘sells ice cream to be able to fuel its advocacy’.

On its website, Ben & Jerry’s lists ‘issues we care about’ – which include democracy, climate and racial justice, LGBT equality and refugees.

Its foundation seeks to ‘engage Ben & Jerry’s employees in philanthropy and social change work; to give back to our Vermont communities; and to support grassroots activism and community organizing for social and environmental justice around the country’. 

The company has latched onto the Black Lives Matter protests which are sweeping across the US and Britain, saying in a statement released after the death of George Floyd: ‘George Floyd was a son, a brother, a father, and a friend. 

‘The police officer who put his knee on George Floyd’s neck and the police officers who stood by and watched didn’t just murder George Floyd, they stole him.

‘They stole him from his family and his friends, his church and his community, and from his own future.

‘The murder of George Floyd was the result of inhumane police brutality that is perpetuated by a culture of white supremacy. What happened to George Floyd was not the result of a bad apple; it was the predictable consequence of a racist and prejudiced system and culture that has treated Black bodies as the enemy from the beginning. 

‘What happened… in Minneapolis is the fruit borne of toxic seeds planted on the shores of our country in Jamestown in 1619, when the first enslaved men and women arrived on this continent. 

‘Floyd is the latest in a long list of names that stretches back to that time and that shore. Some of those names we know – Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Oscar Grant, Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Emmett Till, Martin Luther King, Jr. – most we don’t.’  

The ice cream company had affirmed its support of the BLM movement in 2016 and has posted articles including one detailing its support of reparations for black Americans, one explaining systemic racism, and another supporting front end criminal justice reform. 

Ben & Jerry’s head of US activism Jabari Paul said that the company tries to turn ‘our fans who may come to our platforms because they’re only interested in ice cream, into activists, by trying to move them up the ladder of engagement’. 

Paul told Raconteur in July: ‘When we engage, we’re always driving them towards some sort of call to action, whether that’s to reach out to a local legislator, or it might be to watch a film or read a book.

‘[Consumers] do have a role to play in terms of getting involved in doing something where they can be part of a solution.’ 

The spat with Priti Patel began after Ben & Jerry’s UK Twitter account suggested that ministers should make it easier for refugees to reach Britain.

It tweeted: ‘People wouldn’t make dangerous journeys if they had any other choice The UK hasn’t resettled any refugees since March, but wars and violence continue. What we need is more safe and legal routes.’ 

In a Twitter thread, Ben & Jerry's UK said that '"stronger" borders aren't the answer' and that 'people cannot be illegal'

In a Twitter thread, Ben & Jerry’s UK said that ”stronger’ borders aren’t the answer’ and that ‘people cannot be illegal’

Unilever facing allegations it underpaid hundreds of millions of pounds in tax 

Unilever is facing allegations that it underpaid hundreds of millions of pounds in tax. 

Bosses at the Anglo-Dutch giant are challenging the claim, but admit that it could cost the firm up to £550million. 

It is alleged that Unilever owes the taxman money because its Dutch arm had a ‘permanent establishment’ in the UK, meaning it should have paid more tax here. Unilever ‘strongly disagrees with the positions taken by the UK’. 

As well as having listings in London and Amsterdam, Unilever has one headquarters in the UK capital and another in Rotterdam.

Ben & Jerry’s claimed ‘people cannot be illegal’ and pointed out the 1951 Refugee Convention states entering a country illegally should not affect claims for asylum.

The string of tweets ended with: ‘Let’s remember we’re all human and have the same rights to life regardless of the country we happen to have been born in. And once more for the back: people cannot be illegal.’    

A source close to Ms Patel said: ‘Priti is working day and night to bring an end to these small boat crossings, which are facilitated by international criminal gangs and are rightly of serious concern to the British people. 

‘If that means upsetting the social media team for a brand of overpriced junk food then so be it.’ 

Ms Patel has also asked officials to look into whether the Royal Navy could be used to turn back ships and has begun conversations with France on cutting the number of crossings, which Ms Patel has described as ‘unacceptable’. 

However, critics say her proposals could be illegal.

There is also an expectation in maritime law that a captain of a ship will help any other vessel that is in danger, which covers many of the small boats carrying migrants in the Channel.  

Thumbs-up: Migrants arrive in Dover after crossing the Channel yesterday

Thumbs-up: Migrants arrive in Dover after crossing the Channel yesterday

The row came as Ms Patel vowed to take tougher action on migrants crossing the Channel

The row came as Ms Patel vowed to take tougher action on migrants crossing the Channel

Ice cream maker Ben & Jerry’s history of controversies 

Ben & Jerry's has long sought to bake its social mission to the brand, with former chairman Jeff Furman describing the company as a 'social justice organisation that sells ice cream to be able to fuel its advocacy work'. It has latched onto the Black Lives Matter protests which have swept across the US and Britain

Ben & Jerry’s has long sought to bake its social mission to the brand, with former chairman Jeff Furman describing the company as a ‘social justice organisation that sells ice cream to be able to fuel its advocacy work’. It has latched onto the Black Lives Matter protests which have swept across the US and Britain

Commercial

The Center for Science in the Public Interest, a consumer-advocacy group, urged Ben & Jerry’s to stop labelling their ice cream as ‘all natural’ due to the company’s use of corn syrup, alkalised cocoa, and other chemically modified ingredients. In September 2010, the company agreed to stop labelling their ice cream and frozen yogurt as ‘all natural’.

In 2011, Ben & Jerry’s released a flavour named Schweddy Balls, in homage to the Saturday Night Live (SNL) skit of the same name. This received protest from One Million Moms, a project of the conservative Christian group American Family Associated, who said that the name was too explicit for grocery store shelves. Spokesperson Monica Cole explained to the media: ‘I realise it could be a lot worse, but are they going to progressively get worse if we don’t say something? Maybe they’ll think twice before they come up with another inappropriate name for ice cream.’

Political

Following rumours that suggested that Ben & Jerry’s supported the defence of Mumia Abu-Jamal – who was convicted in 1982 of killing Philadelphia Police officer Daniel Faulkner – the company confirmed that Cohen signed a petition, as a private citizen, asking that ‘the system of American justice be followed fully in the case’.

Controversy emerged in 2006 after the company released a flavour of ice cream called ‘Black and Tan’. It had named the flavour after the alcoholic drink, which is made by mixing stout with pale ale – but the ‘Black and Tans’ are a paramilitary police force of British World War I veterans recruited during the Irish Revolution. At the time the flavour was released, the Irish Republican movement was still offended by the historical association of the title.

In 2012, Vermonters for a Just Peace in Palestine/Israel (VTJP) contacted Cohen, Greenfield and the CEO of Ben & Jerry’s after learning that ice cream produced by Ben & Jerry’s franchise in Israel was being sold in Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. 

Leafleting occurred at locations in Vermont, New York and California on ‘Free Cone Day’ in April 2013 and April 2014. By November 2014, 232 organizations across the US and in 17 countries worldwide had signed a letter written by VTJP calling on Ben & Jerry’s to end its commercial ties to such settlements.

Ben and Jerry at The Ben & Jerry's One Heart, One World Festival 1992. Event held at the Polo Fields in Golden Gate Park San Francisco on September 20, 1992

Ben and Jerry at The Ben & Jerry’s One Heart, One World Festival 1992. Event held at the Polo Fields in Golden Gate Park San Francisco on September 20, 1992

In late April 2014, Ben & Jerry’s signed onto the ‘Fight for the Reef’ campaign, a partnership between the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)-Australia and the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS). Premier Campbell Newman and Queensland state senator Matt Canavan both said in statements that Ben & Jerry’s was making misleading statements that exaggerated the detrimental impact that proposed government programs would have on the Great Barrier Reef, and Environment Minister Andrew Powell said that ‘The only people taking a scoop out of the reef is Ben and Jerry’s and Unilever. If you understand the facts, you’d want to be boycotting Ben and Jerry’s’.

Australian Ben & Jerry’s brand manager Kalli Swaik responded that ‘Ben & Jerry’s believes that dredging and dumping in world heritage waters surrounding the marine park area will be detrimental to the reef ecology. It threatens the health of one of Australia’s most iconic treasures.’

In February 2016, Cohen created an ice cream flavour called ‘Bernie’s Yearning’ in support of U.S Senator from Vermont, Bernie Sanders, run for president in the 2016 Democratic Primaries against Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton. The flavour consists of plain mint ice cream covered by a solid layer of mint chocolate. According to Cohen, ‘The chocolate disk represents the huge majority of economic gains that have gone to the top 1 percent since the end of the recession. Beneath it, the rest of us.’

In May 2017, Ben and Jerry’s announced they would not serve two scoops of the same ice cream flavour in Australia, due to the refusal of the Australian government to legalise same-sex marriage. They said this would encourage ‘fans to contact their MP’s to tell them the time has come-make marriage equality legal!’. This stance they said will continue for however long it takes for same-sex marriage to be legalised.

In June 2018 Ben & Jerry announced their support for some 9,000 Afghan asylum seekers’ right to stay in Sweden.

On October 30, 2018, they announced their new limited batch flavour called ‘Pecan Resist’. It was introduced as a part of the opposition campaign against President Donald Trump. It was marketed as ‘a campaign to lick injustice and champion those fighting to create a more just and equitable nation of us all’.

In August 2019, they produced another Bernie Sanders flavour called ‘Bernie’s Back.’ It was not for sale in stores, but was awarded as a prize to 40 contest winners. Cohen has since endorsed Bernie Sanders for President.

In 2020, Ben & Jerry’s announced that it plans to join the ‘#StopHateForProfit’ campaign, halting paid advertising on Facebook and Instagram in the U.S. The company said it was asking Facebook ‘to take the clear and unequivocal actions called for by the campaign to stop its platform from being used to spread and amplify racism and hate.’

Co-founders of Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield attend the partnership launch of Ben & Jerry's and The ONE campaign's fight against global poverty at a Ben & Jerry's store on April 7, 2008 in Burbank

Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield attend the partnership launch of Ben & Jerry’s and The ONE campaign’s fight against global poverty on April 7, 2008 in Burbank

Social

In February 2012, a Ben & Jerry’s franchise near Harvard University created a limited edition frozen yogurt flavour named ‘Taste the Lin-Sanity’ in honour of Asian-American basketball player Jeremy Lin, a Harvard alumnus.

At inception, the product contained vanilla frozen yogurt, lychee honey swirls, and fortune cookie pieces, leading to a widely publicised controversy about racial stereotyping due to the association of the fortune cookie ingredient with Chinese culture. The latter ingredient was later replaced with waffle cookies, as the fortune cookies became soggy and the franchise received returns from customers.

Ben & Jerry’s general manager for Boston and Cambridge explained to the media: ‘we obviously weren’t looking to offend anybody and the majority of the feedback about it has been positive.’Ben & Jerry’s released an official statement shortly after the launch of the product apologising to those who were offended.

In September 2014, anti-hazing activists raised concerns about the ice cream flavour ‘Hazed & Confused’, which had been released earlier that year. The concern was that the name could be perceived as belittling of hazing and bullying problems. The company has noted that the name was based on the word hazelnut and a play on the phrase ‘dazed and confused’, which is both a song popularised by Led Zeppelin and a 1993 film. The decision was made in October to not rename the flavour.

During the 2020 protests against racial prejudice following the police killing of George Floyd, Ben & Jerry’s released a statement encouraging Americans to ‘dismantle white supremacy’ and face ‘the sins of our past.’

Migrants crossing English Channel warn they will jump overboard and attempt to DROWN if their boats are stopped as French politicians say they want UK benefits and black market jobs – and crisis is Britain’s fault 

  • Migrants attempting to cross the Channel have threatened to drown themselves 
  • Families preparing to make the crossing to Britain from refugee camps in Calais 
  • They claim the stretch of water will become ‘a sea of bodies’ if stopped by Navy 
  • French officials blame UK’s ‘hypocrisy’ for increasing the number of migrants

By Amie Gordon and Henry Martin for MailOnline

Migrants attempting to cross the Channel have threatened to drown themselves if they are stopped by the Royal Navy.

Families preparing to make the crossing to Britain from Calais claim the stretch of water will become ‘a sea of bodies’ if the British government intervenes and sends them back to France. 

Father Kamal Sadeghi, who is getting set to make the perilous journey with his wife and nine-month-old daughter, told The Times: ‘I am too tired to carry on. If they try to stop us I will drown myself.’

This comes as French officials have blamed the UK’s ‘hypocrisy’ and ‘black economy’ for increasing the number of migrants crossing the Channel in small boats.  

Britain’s immediate entitlement to benefits, healthcare, housing and the possibility of working soon after arriving are what makes Britain worth the hazardous journey, they claim.

Father Kamal Sadeghi, who is getting set to make the perilous journey with his wife and nine-month-old daughter (pictured together), told The Times : 'I am too tired to carry on. If they try to stop us I will drown myself'

Father Kamal Sadeghi, who is getting set to make the perilous journey with his wife and nine-month-old daughter (pictured together), told The Times : ‘I am too tired to carry on. If they try to stop us I will drown myself’

Migrants can be seen being brought to Dover harbour by Border Force officials this morning

Migrants can be seen being brought to Dover harbour by Border Force officials this morning 

UK Border Force officials help migrants disembark from their patrol vessel HMC Eagle after arriving at the marina in Dover

UK Border Force officials help migrants disembark from their patrol vessel HMC Eagle after arriving at the marina in Dover

Mr Sadeghi, 39, his wife, Niki Karimi, 33, and their daughter, Sava, who turns one on Sunday, have spent ten days living in a tent in woodland in Calais having fled Iran after his wife’s family objected to their marriage. 

He told The Times: ‘We need just a normal life. We need to get on a boat. If they try to stop us I will kill myself. I would jump in the water’.

Yusshka Mir, 36, a designer from Iran, told the paper: ‘What Boris Johnson does not understand is that for us it is better to die if we cannot reach England. I would drown myself. We will all die.’ 

Just one in five migrants who have tried to cross the Channel have been intercepted by France – as politicians from the country now claims the newcomers are lured into Britain by its generous welfare state.  

Immigration minister Chris Philp travelled to Paris on Tuesday to seek stronger enforcement measures – as Border Force continued to deal with crossings along the south coast of the UK.

France intercepts just one in five migrants crossing the Channel, figures show – as French politicians accuse Britain of ‘hypocrisy’ by making the country ‘so attractive’ for newcomers 

Just one in five migrants who have tried to cross the Channel have been intercepted by France – as politicians from the country now claims the newcomers are lured into Britain by its generous welfare state.  

Immigration minister Chris Philp travelled to Paris on Tuesday to seek stronger enforcement measures – as Border Force continued to deal with crossings along the south coast of the UK.

Mr Philp said that French authorities had caught ‘well over a thousand’ migrants making the crossing this year, but figures from January 2020 to August 6 show the total number to have made the trip to Britain in small boats is around 4,100.

More than 600 people have made the journey just in the previous few days, suggesting that the proportion of those intercepted is roughly one fifth. 

Mr Philp said that French authorities had caught ‘well over a thousand’ migrants making the crossing this year, but figures from January 2020 to August 6 show the total number to have made the trip to Britain in small boats is around 4,100.

More than 600 people have made the journey just in the previous few days, suggesting that the proportion of those intercepted is roughly one fifth. 

Defence select committee chairman Tobias Ellwood told the Telegraph the French were ‘unable to cope at the best of times’ – and accused the country’s authorities of ‘half-heartedness’.    

‘In normal circumstances, the French are only preventing around half of the dinghies crossing the Channel – but during the current spike that’s dropped to a fifth,’ he said.

‘It’s clear that only with greater maritime collaboration with the British can we attempt to significantly reduce the success rate of the crossing.’

He also voiced support for involving the Armed Forces ‘during this heightened period’.  

Deputy mayor of Calais Philippe Mignonet told French newspaper Voix Du Nord migrants risked the crossing ‘because they can work in the black economy when they want, because there is no control, not on the street or in the workplace’.

‘I fear a tragedy one day at sea, but the British blame us for their own hypocrisy,’ he said.

National Society for Rescue at Sea in Calais president Bernard Barron added that migrants have now ‘mastered the sea and, with GPS support, wait until they are in British waters to send out an SOS call’. 

He said Britain’s government will criticise migrants for making the journey, ‘but they do not criticise themselves, questioning the reasons that make their country so attractive’.   

It comes as lawyers representing asylum seekers who arrived in the UK by crossing the Channel on small boats launched legal action to halt their deportation, which is due to take place on Wednesday.

Speaking to reporters after the Paris meeting, Mr Philp said the ‘sheer numbers’ crossing the Channel were ‘completely unacceptable’ to both the French and UK governments, so it is quite clear that more needs to be done.

‘And that is exactly what this new, comprehensive action plan that we are working on will aim to do,’ he added.

Mr Philp would not comment on details of the plan but claimed there were a ‘number of measures, some of them new, which are under discussion’.

He said it would be ‘premature’ to talk about financial commitments at this stage because the plans were still being finalised.

But he insisted both countries had ‘renewed and reaffirmed their absolute commitment to make sure this border is properly policed and this route is completely ended.’

Newly-appointed clandestine channel threat commander Dan O’Mahoney, who travelled to Paris with Mr Philp, will return to the continent early next week to continue discussions, with France due to appoint its own commander.

The Government has also faced fresh criticism over warnings nine months ago that its own policies meant migrants were resorting to more dangerous routes.

Migrants were today intercepted while travelling in a RIB from France to Dover. Men and women were seen being brought into Dover by the Border Force vessel Seeker around 7.30am and medically checked before being questioned by immigration officials

Migrants were today intercepted while travelling in a RIB from France to Dover. Men and women were seen being brought into Dover by the Border Force vessel Seeker around 7.30am and medically checked before being questioned by immigration officials

It is thought at least four boats carrying around 30 people reached Britain this morning

It is thought at least four boats carrying around 30 people reached Britain this morning

Migrants disembark after arriving at Dover harbour this morning

Migrants disembark after arriving at Dover harbour this morning 

A group of 22 migrants crammed onto a dinghy were spotted stranded in the English Channel last night

A group of 22 migrants crammed onto a dinghy were spotted stranded in the English Channel last night

The men were seen on the edge of the French side of the Channel and were not moving as the outbound motor on their boat had broken down. A group of cross-Channel swimmers returning to Britain saw the vessel bobbing in the water at around 5pm yesterday and raised the alarm

The men were seen on the edge of the French side of the Channel and were not moving as the outbound motor on their boat had broken down. A group of cross-Channel swimmers returning to Britain saw the vessel bobbing in the water at around 5pm yesterday and raised the alarm

Home Secretary Priti Patel headed to Dover on Monday, and was seen disembarking from a police boat that had been out in the Channel earlier that morning

Home Secretary Priti Patel headed to Dover on Monday, and was seen disembarking from a police boat that had been out in the Channel earlier that morning

A report by the Foreign Affairs Committee published in November said: ‘A policy that focuses exclusively on closing borders will drive migrants to take more dangerous routes, and push them into the hands of criminal groups.’

Home Secretary Priti Patel was a member of the committee at the time of its inquiry.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Boris Johnson was accused of using inflammatory language after calling migrant boat crossings a ‘very bad and stupid and dangerous and criminal thing to do’.

He also hinted at changing laws to tackle the problem, while Downing Street said Brexit would help as it would end the ‘inflexible and rigid’ requirements on how asylum applications are examined and considered.  

The Home Office has formally requested help from the Ministry of Defence (MoD), with a military plane sent out on Monday to survey the Channel and alert the Coastguard and Border Force to emerging crossing attempts.

But Calais MP Pierre-Henri Dumont said bringing in the Navy was a ‘political measure’ intended to show ministers were taking action and warned that it ‘won’t change anything’.

The Home Office has formally requested help from the Ministry of Defence (MoD), with a military plane sent out on Monday (pictured) to survey the Channel and alert the Coastguard and Border Force to emerging crossing attempts

The Home Office has formally requested help from the Ministry of Defence (MoD), with a military plane sent out on Monday (pictured) to survey the Channel and alert the Coastguard and Border Force to emerging crossing attempts 

The latest outcry follows a similar storm last summer when another spike in crossings led Mr Johnson to warn Britain was prepared to start sending back those migrants who did make it across – comments which were branded ‘misleading and inflammatory’ by campaigners.

Since then there have been a series of meetings between UK and French ministers and officials, each time with the promise of more agreements or resources in efforts to address the problem.

Bella Sankey, director of Detention Action, said: ‘Any ”comprehensive plan” must create a safe and legal route for those who would otherwise risk a Channel crossing, otherwise it is neither comprehensive nor an effective plan.

‘These negotiations with French counterparts are doomed to further failure unless the UK Government can stop chasing unicorns and show some principled and noble leadership’.   

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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