Around 100 migrants including five children arrive in the UK

Crying toddler and barefoot children are brought ashore as around 100 migrants arrive in the UK today after number crossing the Channel in 2021 ALREADY hit a record yearly high of 8,452

  • At least five children including a crying toddler were among nearly 100 migrants brought ashore in Dover 
  • French warships and UK vessels in Straits after more than 700 crossed from Europe on Monday and Tuesday
  • Nearly 8,500 have now made the treacherous crossing so far this year, according to official figures   
  • MPs ordered Priti Patel to get tough with France after local authorities ‘fobbed her off’ with ‘excuses’
  • Tim Loughton said ‘giving France more money to carry on doing what they’re doing badly, it’s ridiculous’ 
  • MP for Calais today rubbished the Home Secretary’s latest £54million payment to France as pointless  

At least five children including a crying toddler were among nearly 100 migrants brought ashore in Dover by Border Force today as French warships and UK vessels have been active again in the Channel after more than 700 people crossed from mainland Europe on Monday and Tuesday.

At least 85 and as many as 100 migrants are thought to have arrived on the southern coast of England so far today, with individual arrivals revealing they paid £3,000 for places on dinghies as cynical people-smuggling gangs take advantage of flat seas and clear skies. 

A group of four men of African origin wearing lifejackets and facemasks disembarked from the Border Force vessel Speedwell at around 2pm, and were escorted by immigration enforcement officials onto the harbour edge for processing at Dover Marina in Kent.

Before 8am today, the Border Force patrol vessel Hunter brought in around 20 migrants and handed over to the care of immigration officers. A French navy patrol vessel the Flamant was also seen positioned in the middle of the 21-mile wide Dover Straits this morning.

Young children, alongside their parents, were the first to be escorted off the boat. One girl, who was around four years old, was wearing a blue parka jacket and pink socks. She was carried off the boat by her father, who was wearing a red beanie hat.

Several families of African origin followed them off the vessel and into a fenced off area at Dover Port for registration. A dark grey motorised dinghy was being pulled behind the boat.

Around 12 immigration enforcement officers greeted the migrants as they disembarked the vessel. One man in a yellow and black check shirt was seen limping as he came off the boat. 

Nearly 8,500 have now made the treacherous crossing so far this year, according to official figures – compared to the record number of 8,410 in the whole of 2020. The Home Office revealed 287 made the crossing in 12 boats on Tuesday.

However, furious Tory MPs today ordered Home Secretary Priti Patel to get tough with France after it emerged that local authorities were ‘fobbing her off’ with ‘excuses’ after she agreed to pay them £54million to curb the flow of migrants. Today, the French made just two interceptions. 

Ms Patel has come under mounting domestic pressure to solve the spiralling migrant crisis in the Channel as she oversees the highest number of annual illegal crossings – nearly 8,500, already eclipsing the figure for the whole of 2020, when 8,417 people made the journey. 

Bella Sankey, director of charity Detention Action, condemned the Government’s handling of the issue, saying it ‘loses all credibility’ with the new record.

Dan O’Mahoney, clandestine channel threat commander for the Home Office, said on Tuesday that the Government ‘continues to take steps to tackle the unacceptable problem’. 

Early this morning, 13 men from Sudan and South Sudan were seen paddling across the Channel 10 miles off the coast of France. An image of the migrants, without lifejackets and an engine, was shared on Twitter by ITV News Correspondent Dan Rivers.  

As the migrant crisis in the Channel spirals out of control, it emerged:

  • More than 60 per cent of migrants from France have landed in the UK via Belgium, Ms Patel said; 
  • Home Secretary told MPs that France was ‘doing its bit’ to intercept illegal crossings from its coastline;
  • Calais MP told the BBC that £54million deal was pointless because migrants will hide from authorities; 
  • Border Force officials intercepted 287 migrants in the Channel as number of annual arrivals breaks records;
  • Former Immigration Chief in Calais said the military should be brought in to manage the crisis;
  • Retired immigration official Kevin Saunders said Border Force is ‘operating collection service from Channel’ 
  • Unions warned that Border Force officials are stretched as they struggle to maintain crisis in the Channel and process hundreds of arrivals in Kent;
  • Downing Street attacked the ‘dangerous and unnecessary’ surge in migrants crossing the Channel;
  • Some migrants have described how they paid people-smuggling gangs £3,000 per person for places on dinghies to make the crossing from France;
  • Home Office blamed rise in Channel crossings on ‘surge in illegal migration across Europe’.

A group of people thought to be migrants are brought in to Dover, Kent, onboard a border force boat following a small boat incident in the Channel

A group of people thought to be migrants are brought in to Dover, Kent, onboard a border force boat following a small boat incident in the Channel

More migrants are intercepted in the Channel by Border Force and brought to Dover in Kent today

A group of people thought to be migrants are brought in to Dover, Kent, onboard a border force boat following a small boat incident in the Channel

Migrants from mostly Sudan were pictured paddling across the Channel 10 miles off the coast of France, ITV reported

Up to 30 migrants are brought ashore by Border Force officials this morning as the crisis in the Channel continues


Border Force patrol boat Speedwell arrived around 11.20am carrying around 35 migrants at Dover marina including eight toddlers being carried by their parents

The number of migrants crossing the Channel between 2019-21 has been increasing year-on-year. The graph above shows how many have crossed each month. The red line for 2021 soars above the lines for previous years, showing the monthly total is now at its highest ever

At least 430 migrants crossed to the UK on small boats on Monday – a new single-day record. 

PA, which tracks and analyses numbers of crossings, has compiled a list of five days in the last two years when a new record was set.

July 19, 2021: 430 people reach the UK

Dozens of people, including women and young children, were seen walking ashore after one beach landing on the Kent coast, while more arrived elsewhere.

Some raised their hands in celebration as they stood on the beach, while others sat down on the shingle shoreline amid 75F sunshine.

The Home Office said that overall at least 430 people arrived in various places after travelling aboard 14 boats.

September 2, 2020: 416 people reach the UK

A wave of boats departed France with hundreds of migrants making their way across the sunny and calm English Channel.

In the House of Commons Prime Minister Boris Johnson faced questions over the Government’s handling of the issue of small boat crossings.

August 6, 2020: 235 people reach the UK

Migrants arrived in the UK aboard 17 boats in what was then the highest numbers on record.

In one incident, Border Force apprehended 15 people who had landed at Dungeness beach in Kent.

July 30, 2020: 202 people reach the UK

At least 202 migrants managed to cross to Britain in a surge of 20 boats on July 30.

The arrivals said they were from a diverse range of nationalities, including: Yemeni, Palestinian, Ertitrean, Chad, Egyptian, Sudanese, Kuwaiti, Iraqi, Iranian, Indian, and Mali.

July 12, 2020: 180 people reach the UK

On the day Priti Patel announced a ‘new operational approach’ to dealing with small boat crossings, a record number of migrants made it to the UK.

At least 180 migrants were able to cross the English Channel to the UK, among more than 380 migrants who attempted the crossing, the rest being intercepted by French authorities.

Ms Patel was today accused of being ‘fobbed off with excuses’ by France after a former Chief Immigration Officer said Border Force should call in the military because the French are refusing to intercept migrants in the Channel.

Addressing the Commons Home Affairs Committee, the Home Secretary revealed that 60 per cent of illegal arrivals have come via Belgium and that migrants who have travelled across Continental Europe are amassing ‘along the entire French coastline’, not just in Calais. 

When asked why French authorities were not stopping boats from crossing after the number of illegal crossings in 2021 hit a record annual high of nearly 8,500, Ms Patel insisted they are ‘doing their bit’ and told astonished MPs they ‘have a different interpretation of saving lives at sea’. 

But Tory MP Tim Loughton interrupted her, saying: ‘Home Secretary, that’s an excuse from the French. The French having a different interpretation is the French giving you an excuse for not doing what they are not only able to do under international law but actually obliged to do under international law.

‘Because two crimes are being committed by the occupants of those boats: one is trying to enter the UK allegedly and the second is paying money to organised crime. Both of which provide grounds for those boats to be intercepted, the occupants apprehended in as safe a way as possible and returned to France. You are getting fobbed off with excuses.’

He added that the French ‘are not doing their part’ and that ‘giving them more money to carry on doing what they’re doing badly, it’s ridiculous’. Ms Patel last night agreed to pay France £54million to get policing numbers more than doubled to 200 – nearly double the £28million agreed with French authorities to achieve the same objective in November. 

Paul Lincoln, director general of Border Force, told the committee that the number of French interceptions of small boats crossing the Channel had ‘trebled’ in a year from more than 2,100 at the end of June last year to more than 6,000 for the same period this year. 

It comes as retired immigration official Kevin Saunders told GB News that the military should be called in because Border Force is just ‘operating a collection service from the Channel’. 

He said: ‘We’ve got to do something. I think probably we’ve now reached the point where we need to bring the military in to help us. All really Border Force are doing is operating a collection service from the Channel. We need to stop these people. 

‘We need the military to actually come and take over and help us to do this.’ 

This morning the MP for Calais, Pierre-Henri Dumont, rubbished Ms Patel’s latest £54million payment to France as pointless because migrants will ‘just find somewhere else to cross’. 

His remarks were echoed by Tony Smith, the former Director-General of Border Force, who said there is a ‘game of cat-and-mouse’ between French authorities and people-smugglers along the French coast. 

There will also be an increased use of aerial surveillance, including drones, and the two countries agreed to draw up a long-term plan for a ‘smart border’ using technology to identify where crossings are being attempted. But the deal failed to impress critics, who accuse the French authorities of not doing enough to stop small boats leaving their territorial waters. 

It follows claims that a French warship yesterday escorted a group of 13 migrants in a dangerously-overcrowded boat into British waters before dumping them with a baffled Good Morning Britain news crew reporting live from the Channel. 

Mr Dumont told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘The fact is, having more money, having more police, having more controls will not prevent more crossing attempts. We have too many kilometers of shore to monitor. They can hide in a lot of places, there are a lot of roads, woods and trees.

‘So even if you are monitoring 100 per cent of a small or large part of the French coast the smugglers will find somewhere to cross somewhere else. If it’s not Calais they will go to Normandy, if not Normandy then Belgium or the Netherlands.’  

Responding to Mr Dumont’s comments, Home Office Minister Victoria Atkins told the BBC that she believes Ms Patel’s ‘very significant agreement’ with the French is likely to curb the number of migrants crossing the Channel from northern France. 

A group of people thought to be migrants are brought in to Dover, Kent, onboard a border force boat following a small boat incident in the Channel

A group of people thought to be migrants are brought in to Dover, Kent, by Border Force officers following a small boat incident in the Channel

A migrant is seen being taken ashore by a Border Force official after their boat was intercepted in the Channel

Migrants are seen being taken ashore by Border Force officials in Dover Marina, Kent this morning 

A group of migrants wearing lifejackets and facemasks are taken ashore to Dover Marina in Kent this morning

A group of migrants wearing lifejackets and facemasks are taken ashore to Dover Marina in Kent this morning

A migrant is seen being taken ashore by a Border Force official after their boat was intercepted in the Channel

Furious Tory MPs today ordered Home Secretary Priti Patel to get tough with France and stop being ‘fobbed off with excuses’

Priti Patel’s plan to pay France £55m to handle migrants trying to cross the Channel: Explained 

Priti Patel last night agreed to give France another £54million to stop the growing number of migrants crossing the Channel.

The Home Secretary signed the pledge after chaotic scenes emerged of a French navy vessel apparently ushering an overcrowded dinghy into British waters early yesterday.

Ms Patel’s controversial agreement with French interior minister Gerald Darmanin will see policing numbers along the French coast more than double to 200 to cover a wider area.

There will also be an increased use of aerial surveillance, including drones. The two countries agreed to draw up a long-term plan for a ‘smart border’ using technology to identify where crossings are being attempted.

But the deal failed to impress critics, who accuse the French authorities of not doing enough to stop small boats leaving their territorial waters.

With UK support last year, France doubled the number of officers deployed daily on French beaches, improved intelligence sharing and purchased more cutting-edge technology. This resulted in France preventing twice as many crossings so far this year than in the same period in 2020.

However, as French interceptions increased, the Home Office said that organised criminal gangs have changed their tactics, moving further up the French coast, and forcing migrants to take even longer, riskier journeys.

Charities branded the measures inhumane, while refugee rights campaigner Lord Dubs said Miss Patel’s plans were a ‘disservice to this country’s history’.

She also told Radio 4’s Today programme that ‘developed economies around the world are facing issues with population movement’ but said that Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union had ‘enabled us to take steps’ to ‘really crack-down’ on people-smugglers.

‘Last night was a very significant agreement that the Home Secretary made with her counterpart,’ Ms Atkins said. ‘We know that the agreement that was reached in November has seen some 7,500 people being prevented from crossing the Channel, and so in doubling – as we have from last night – doubling the number of police officers that are patrolling the French coast, as well as investment, further investment in surveillance technology and other measures, we do believe that this will help to stem the flow of people seeking to make that very dangerous crossing.’ 

Pressed on the fact that the number of of illegal crossings has increased on Ms Patel’s watch, Ms Atkins said: ‘We are working both internationally and nationally to try to address this. It is incredibly complicated.  

‘Developed economies around the world are facing issues with population movement, but what we’re trying to do internationally is work with other countries to ensure that when people arrive in a safe country that they remain there, they don’t try to make that hazardous journey across to the UK. 

‘And similarly here in the UK only last night, we passed the latest scrutiny stage of the Nationality and Borders Bill which is very much updating, overhauling indeed, our immigration system so that we provide safe routes for legal migrants but that we really crack-down on these people-smuggling gangs that are bringing people over.  

‘In terms of asylum, we’ve accepted that this system needs to be overhauled, and our leaving the European Union has enabled us to take steps that we would not otherwise have been able to take.’

Responding to Ms Patel’s deal, Steve Valdez-Symonds, Amnesty International UK’s Refugee and Migrant Rights Director, said in a statement that ‘making yet another agreement to pay France to deter and prevent people reaching UK shores is not going to make anything better or anyone safer’.  

He warned: ‘People make dangerous journeys and rely on smugglers, including organised criminals, to cross the Channel because there are no safe alternatives made available to them. 

‘If the journeys currently being made across the shortest stretches of water are closed off, the risk is that people will be forced onto other, even more dangerous routes.

‘There is no escaping the fact that the Home Office is shirking its responsibility to share with other countries, including France, in providing asylum. The Government is effectively enabling extortion and abuse of refugees who need and are entitled to seek safety here. 

‘A change of policy is urgently needed to provide safe routes to the UK, particularly for refugees with family and connections here, not ministers merely doubling down on their failed approach.’

Downing Street attacked the ‘dangerous and unnecessary’ surge in migrants and hit out at people-smuggling gangs ‘who treat people like human cargo’.  The Prime Minister’s spokesman said: ‘The current approach is not working. 

‘The rise in dangerous and unnecessary small boat crossing is totally unacceptable – that’s why we are taking action to fix the broken asylum system. 

‘We are changing the laws through the Nationality and Borders Bill to help protect lives and break the business model of the smuggling rings. We are also targeting the criminal gangs responsible for illegal crossings at every level.’

But Mr Smith dismissed British plans for tough four-year sentences for migrants who entered the country illegally, arguing this would not work with people who have travelled from war-torn regions who were already desperate enough to risk the dangerous crossing. 

‘It’s something I’ve advocated from the start – we could construct a treaty with them to enable that,’ he said. ‘But I’m afraid that seems to be a step too far for the French at the moment. The French position is that they are not prepared to intervene on the sea but only on land. We have no legal basis to intervene when they are in French waters.’ 

Dan O’Mahoney, Clandestine Channel Threat Commander, of the Home Office said: ‘There is an unacceptable rise in dangerous small boat crossings across the channel because of a surge in illegal migration across Europe.  


The Home Secretary (left) yesterday confirmed a new agreement to strengthen UK-French cooperation on illegal immigration in the Channel. Pictured right is Calais MP Pierre-Henri Dumont

More migrants are intercepted in the Channel by Border Force and brought to Dover in Kent today

Anger at EU’s power grab over Gibraltar

Brussels launched an extraordinary power grab against Gibraltar last night by demanding that Spanish police should be stationed on the Rock.

In a provocative move, the European Commission said a post-Brexit deal on Gibraltar would have to involve a much greater role for Spain in running the British territory.

The EU said Spanish border guards should police the Port of Gibraltar and enjoy ‘all necessary powers to perform border controls’.

The Brussels blueprint would also give Spain responsibility for granting visas to Gibraltar and allow Spanish police to pursue suspects on the Rock without special permission.

The move threatened to destabilise a delicate compromise negotiated by the UK and Spain.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab accused Brussels of trying to ‘undermine the UK’s sovereignty over Gibraltar’.

It was seen in London as a crude attempt to pile pressure on the UK over wider Brexit issues. Brexit minister Lord Frost is due to publish proposals today that would tear up parts of the deal struck with the EU over Northern Ireland.

Spain has long disputed Britain’s claim on the Rock. But London and Madrid had agreed a broad framework for negotiating post-Brexit arrangements at the end of last year.

‘Today we signed a strengthened agreement with our French counterparts to increase police patrols on French beaches and enhance intelligence sharing. This joint work has already prevented over 7,500 migrants enter the UK. 

‘The Government continues to take steps to tackle the unacceptable problem of illegal migration through the Nationality & Borders Bill which will protect lives and break this cycle of illegal crossings. The Government is also continuing to return those with no legal right to remain in the UK.’ 

The agreement comes as Ms Patel’s New Plan for Immigration is debated in Parliament this week.  

The government’s Nationality and Borders Bill will crack down ‘on illegal entry and the criminality associated with it, rather than allowing people to undertake dangerous journeys to the UK as their preferred destination’.

The Home Secretary said: ‘The British people have simply had enough of illegal migration and the exploitation of migrants by criminal gangs.

‘Illegal immigration is driven by serious organised criminals and people smugglers. The public are rightly angry that small boats are arriving on our shores, facilitated by appalling criminal gangs who profit from human misery and put lives at risk.

‘The Government is addressing the challenge of illegal migration for the first time in over two decades through comprehensive reform of our asylum system which will enable us to going after the gangs exploiting people, deter illegal entry into the UK, introduce new and tougher criminal offences for those attempting to enter the UK illegally and strengthen our ability to remove those with no legal right to be in the UK.’

With UK support last year, France doubled the number of officers deployed daily on French beaches, improved intelligence sharing and purchased more cutting-edge technology.

This resulted in France preventing twice as many crossings so far this year than in the same period in 2020.

However, as French interceptions increased, the Home Office said that organised criminal gangs have changed their tactics, moving further up the French coast, and forcing migrants to take even longer, riskier journeys.

A Home Office spokesman said: ‘Thanks to support from the UK, the French will be able to respond by posting more security forces further up the coast, installing and utilising the latest surveillance equipment throughout northern France.’

Labour dismissed the latest move as ’empty promises’, saying the Tories are ‘letting down victims and allowing criminals to continue their evil trade’.

Charities branded the measures inhumane, while refugee rights campaigner Lord Dubs said Miss Patel’s plans were a ‘disservice to this country’s history’.

Tom Hunt, Tory MP for Ipswich, said: ‘We need to take control of this issue for ourselves and we shouldn’t be dependent on the French to sort it out for us. It is fair enough to work with the French but we should not be surprised if they continue to fall short.’

Miss Patel said last night: ‘Illegal immigration is driven by serious organised criminals and people smugglers.

‘The public are rightly angry that small boats are arriving on our shores, facilitated by appalling criminal gangs who profit from human misery and put lives at risk.’

Bella Sankey, director of charity Detention Action, said: ‘With today’s record this Government loses all credibility in managing a safe and fair asylum system.

‘Priti Patel can re-announce enhanced police cooperation with the French all day, every day, but until there is a political renegotiation to allow refugees safe passage to claim asylum at the U.K. border in France, this relatively small number of desperate people will continue risking everything for a shot at our protection.

‘Ministers should stop playing fantasy politics and step up to protect lives instead.’

Meanwhile, Tim Naor Hilton, chief executive at Refugee Action, said the growing number of crossings ‘shows the Government’s get-tough-quick schemes do not work’.

He added: ‘Criminal smugglers prey on refugees who have little choice than to put risk their lives in rickety boats because Ministers refuse to create more routes to reach safety here.

‘And the Government’s cruel anti-refugee Bill will do little to stop the boats. It is unworkable, unlawful and will end up an expensive disaster that criminalises people who are simply asking for our help.’

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