Wednesday, 23 Sep 2020

Channel migrants brought ashore in UK for unprecedented 10th day in a row

Migrants have been met by the Border Force off the Kent coast and brought ashore for an unprecedented 10th day in a row.

People in life jackets and masks were brought into Dover harbour on board the patrol boat Speedwell and then taken ashore by officials.

Border Force cutter Seeker and French border patrol boat Scarpe are also active in the Channel.

Favourable weather in the English Channel has seen hundreds of migrants make the crossing this month, with more than 4,000 migrants reaching the UK so far this year.

Sky News analysis has found that five times as many migrants crossed the Channel to the UK in the first eight months of this year compared with the same period last year.

A total of 71 migrants arrived in the UK on Wednesday, travelling in six boats.

The peak came on 6 August when 235 migrants were picked up by the Border Force – a record total for a single day.

Kent County Council has said it could be just “days away” from being unable to look after more children seeking asylum after making it to England.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has promised action to stop the “stupid and dangerous” crossings.

Government rhetoric has caused anger in some quarters, with refugee charities criticising the use of “inflammatory language”.

Labour’s shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds has accused ministers of lacking “competence and compassion”.

As the crossings continue, ministers have asked the military for assistance.

Royal Air Force maritime patrol and surveillance aircraft have been drafted in so far.

A P-8 Poseidon patrol plane flew from its base at Kinloss Barracks in Scotland on Wednesday to support Border Force operations.

On Monday, an Atlas A400M military transport aircraft was used to monitor the Channel after taking off from RAF Brize Norton in west Oxfordshire.

The mayor of Calais, Natacha Bouchart, has described the UK government’s formal request for military assistance from the Royal Navy as a “declaration of maritime war”.

But the government appears unbowed by such criticism.

According to The Times, Home Secretary Priti Patel has told Conservative MPs that the UK’s asylum system is “broken” and promised to introduce laws that will “send the left into meltdown”.

She added that the current system is being “exploited by leftie Labour-supporting lawyers” who are doing everything they can to stop the government removing people, the newspaper reported.

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Labour say the government’s handling of the issue has resulted in thousands risking their lives in dangerous waters.

“The situation has been exacerbated by government rhetoric when you should have been concentrating on the need to find a viable, humanitarian, practical solution, working with international partners,” Mr Thomas-Symonds said in a letter to the home secretary.

The shadow home secretary called for a “step change” in ministers’ response to the crisis.

“To date your efforts have been devoid of compassion and should be replaced with a meaningful strategic approach to this issue, rather than headline-chasing announcements that quickly fall apart under scrutiny,” he added.

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