The Daily Telegraph

Highest weekly total of migrant crossings

- By Charles Hymas Home Affairs editor

NEARLY four times as many migrants crossed the Channel last week as they did in the same period of time last year.

A total of 1,959 people crossed the Channel from France in the week to Sept 10 – the highest total for any seven-day period since migrants starting using small boats for the crossing. That compares with just over 500 for the same seven-day period last year.

With at least 50 more crossing yesterday, it means the total for September has already topped 2,000.

It follows more than 3,000 in each of the months of July and August, bringing the total for the year to nearly 14,500 compared with 8,400 for the whole of 2020.

A war of words began last week between English and French ministers after it emerged Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, had sanctioned tactics to push back migrant boats to stop them making the journey and force French border force vessels to return them to France.

Gérald Darmanin, the French interior minister, warned last week that such tactics would be illegal under maritime laws.

Asked about the exercises, a Home Office spokesman said: “All operationa­l procedures used at sea comply and are delivered in accordance with domestic and internatio­nal law.”

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