69 Migrants rescued from English Channel as Border Force intercepts five boats

Border force vessels intercepted five boats carrying 69 migrants in the British port town of Dover on Tuesday after being intercepted by patrol boats while crossing the English Channel.

The newly elected Dover and Deal MP is seeking talks with the home secretary after 69 migrants in five boats were picked up off the Kent coast. 

Natalie Elphicke said she would be telling Home Secretary Priti Patel that the French needed to do more “to stop illegal departures from their shores”.

Mrs Elphicke said: “The French have been given tens of millions of pounds of British hard-earned taxpayer money… I want to know where the money has gone.

“Because while much has been done, it is clear there is more to do. 

“More to do tackling the people traffickers behind this shocking trade in people. 

“More to do making sure anyone found in the Channel is immediately sent back to France.

“More to do by the French to stop these illegal departures from French shores.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson pledged during the election campaign to cut net migration into Britain but 2019 has seen record numbers of migrants attempt to reach the UK by boat from Europe.

A Home Office spokesperson said: “Those attempting to cross the Channel in small boats are putting their lives in grave danger and the ruthless criminals who facilitate crossings do not care about the risk to life,” said a Home Office spokesman. “We are working closely at all levels with the French authorities to tackle this dangerous and illegal activity.”

The spokesperson said that patrols on French beaches had also been doubled amid “intensified” action to disrupt criminal gangs.

Numbers of small boat crossings have risen despite the wintry weather. The rescued migrants were given medical checks and interviewed by immigration officials.

In the last major crossing attempt, 79 migrants, including children, were picked up on December 4.

In November, the UK’s Border Force intercepted four boats carrying 39 Iranian migrants and in September a record 86 migrants crossed the Channel in six separate boats.

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