Author: Joe Roberts
A Tory MP has blasted the Home Office as he claimed more than 100 migrants have ‘broken into Britain’ in recent weeks.
Charlie Elphicke urged the authorities to ‘get a grip’ following reports that 43 migrants crossed the Channel over Christmas and Boxing Day.
The Dover MP said the Home Office and National Crime Agency do not appear to be on top of the problem.
The Border Force were called to five separate instances involving 40 people saying they were from Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan on Christmas day.
Three more men, believed to be from Iran, were intercepted by the French authorities near Dover overnight.
They were all transferred to the UK authorities and will be interviewed by immigration officials.
A further five people turned up at Dover police station early on Christmas Day saying they were Iranians who had arrived by boat. An abandoned craft was later discovered.
‘The Home Office and the National Crime Agency do not appear to be on top of this situation,’ Mr Elphicke said.
‘With well over 100 migrants having broken into Britain in recent weeks they need urgently to explain what they are doing to put a stop to these crossings.
‘This is an incredibly dangerous crossing to make in the middle of winter.
‘Our volunteer lifeboat crews are being called out nearly every day – even during Christmas.
‘The British and French authorities must get a grip and find and stop the traffickers behind these crossings before there is a tragedy in the English Channel.’
Campaigners say the authorities should help migrants make the crossing to the UK if they wish to claim asylum, rather than have them risk crossing the busy shipping lanes in the Channel.
Kent Refugee Action Network spokeswoman Bridget Chapman told the BBC: ‘We shouldn’t have to have a situation where people are forced to make such a hazardous journey, pushed into the hands of people traffickers, pushed into being exploited.
‘We need to find a way to facilitate it so that they are able to do that journey safely.’
The Home Office said: ‘Border Force has intercepted a number of boats containing migrants attempting to cross the Channel overnight and this morning, and has deployed resources to deal with these incidents.
‘The evidence shows there is organised criminal gang activity behind illegal migration attempts by small boats across the Channel.
‘We are working closely with the French and law enforcement partners to target these gangs, who exploit vulnerable people and put lives at risk.’