Number of migrants crossing English Channel hits new daily high

·2-min read

At least 180 migrants successfully travelled across the English Channel to the UK on Sunday - a new single day record for crossings.

They were among almost 400 migrants who attempted to cross the world's busiest shipping lane on Sunday, according to the Home Office, with over 200 people being intercepted by French authorities.

It is understood further migrants arrived in Kent on Monday morning, after the warm weekend weather will have meant conditions in the water were calmer than normal, leading to more people making the dangerous journey.

The number of migrants trying to make the crossing to the UK has surged during the coronavirus lockdown, with some using kayaks and even paddling pools as part of their attempts.

Since the start of 2020, more than 2,500 migrants have successfully made it across, according to analysis by the Press Association.

While Border Force was dealing with "a number of incidents" on Sunday off the Kent Coast, Home Secretary Priti Patel was in Calais with the French interior minister Gerald Darmanin for talks to create a Franco-British intelligence cell, to deal with migrant crossings.

Speaking about the agreement, details of which have not been made public, Ms Patel said: "Despite all of the action taken by law enforcement to date - intercepting the boats, making arrests, returning people to France and putting the criminals responsible behind bars - the numbers continue to increase.

"This simply cannot be allowed to go on.

"Today, I have signed an agreement with the French to create a joint intelligence cell which will crack down on the gangs behind this vile people-smuggling operation and impressed on my French counterpart the need to stop these illegal crossings for the benefit of both our countries.

"This is the start of a new operational approach with the newly-appointed French interior minister."

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Bella Sankey, director of charity Detention Action, said the only solution to dealing with the issue was to allow "safe routes" for migrants who have a claim to be in the UK.

Ms Sankey added: "The home secretary's attempt to treat this issue as solely about people smuggling, ignoring the plight of those desperate enough to risk their lives to seek sanctuary in the UK, is being disingenuous and she is taking the British public for fools."

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