News | Published August 09 2020

Inquiry launched into Channel crossings

MPs have launched in inquiry into incidents of people attempting to illegally enter the UK by crossing the English Channel in small boats, after it emerged that over 1,000 migrants came into the country in this manner over July.

The Labour Party said that the government was “failing to get to grips” with the situation, with shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds accusing the government of a “lack of competence”.

Now, the Commons Home Affairs Committee will scrutinise how the UK and French authorities have been dealing with the incidents, as well as the level in which criminal organisations are involved.

The committee has previously quizzed home secretary Priti Patel on the issue of migrant crossing, but will now conduct an inquiry of its own.

The inquiry will examine the living conditions of migrants in France, where many reside in camps before attempting to make the Channel crossing when boats become available. Its scope will also cover the risks of death associated with the journey over water.

Minister for immigration compliance Chris Philp met with French deputy ambassador Francois Revardeaux to discuss the matter this week, but no details of their meeting were disclosed by the Home Office.

Concern has been growing among MPs in Kent where many migrants have been arriving, with Dover’s Conservative MP Natalie Elphicke saying in a tweet that the influx of boats must be "brought to an end", calling the situation "unacceptable".

Meanwhile, Canterbury’s Labour MP Rosie Duffield tweeted that for the arrivals, the "terror at making this most treacherous of crossings" was "still not as horrific a concept as staying in the place where they were".

The Telegraph reports that home secretary Priti Patel has called for a review of the UK's sea capability in the Channel in response to the situation, with the possibility of the Navy being summoned to help crack down on the crossings.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak did not deny the validity of the reports that the Navy could be called upon.

Sunak told Sky News: "I'm frustrated. Everyone is, which is why we've been working much more closely with the French government in recent time to improve our co-operation and intelligence-sharing to police crossings."

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Authored by

Alexander Bridge-Wilkinson
Junior Editor
August 09 2020

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