Great Britain

'Rip up the cheque!' Fury at France after record Channel crossings despite £51m from UK

English Channel: Border Force staff take part in exercises

With a week still to go, September has broken the record for the number of crossings in a single calendar month. So far, 3,872 arrivals have been recorded with almost 500 making the dangerous journey on Wednesday.

The total beats the previous record of 3,509 set in July.

It means 16,303 migrants have crossed the Dover strait in small boats in total so far this year.

Crossings in 2021 are already nearly double the total of 8,410 recorded for the whole of 2020.

The continued increase in people making the treacherous journey comes despite Priti Patel increasing the amount of money paid to France to help stop migrants.

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Emmanuel Macron has sparked outrage as Channel crossings hit a new high

Emmanuel Macron has sparked outrage as Channel crossings hit a new high (Image: GETTY)

In July, the Home Office announced a further £51.4million would be given to France to help crackdown on attempts to cross the Channel.

She said at the time the money would help increase intelligence sharing as well as pay for more French border officers to patrol beaches in the north of the country.

Ms Patel told MPs earlier this month that she would not "pay a penny of the money" unless France began "delivering results".

But there is little evidence to suggest the threat has helped stem the flow of the crisis.

Conservative MP Tim Loughton, who sits on the home affairs select committee, accused Emmanuel Macron's Government of "completely taking the Mickey".

He told Express.co.uk: "We haven't actually given them any of the £51million yet and we should tear up the cheque and not start giving them anything until we see some results

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Nearly 500 crossings were made on Wednesday

Nearly 500 crossings were made on Wednesday (Image: PA)

The number of crossings has already surpassed the total for 2020

The number of crossings has already surpassed the total for 2020 (Image: PA)

"The more money we offer them, the more problem France seem to come up with and the worse the whole issue becomes."

Dover MP Natalie Elphicke has demanded France finally take action.

She said: "We need to see less Channel crossings each month, not more.

"As we head into the winter months the seas will get rougher and more dangerous.

"It’s vital France acts to stop boats leaving and works with Britain on returns, before more lives are lost."

France has claimed it is "impossible" to monitor the whole coastline to prevent crossings.

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Priti Patel has vowed to withhold money from France if numbers don't come down

Priti Patel has vowed to withhold money from France if numbers don't come down (Image: PA)

Calais MP Pierre-Henri Dumont told the BBC earlier this month: "We've got 300 or 400 kilometres of shore to monitor.

"It's impossible to have police every 100 metres.

"We are doing what we can. When we are talking about hundreds trying to cross every night, we cannot stop everyone."

Immigration Minister Tom Pursglove, appointed last week in Boris Johnson's reshuffle, has said stopping "dangerous, unnecessary and illegally-facilitated small-boat crossings once and for all" was his top priority.

He said last night: "I will be driving action across Government at every level, doing everything we can as a Government on land, sea and in the air to prevent even more crossings."

New legislation is currently being introduced by the Home Office in a bid to help crackdown on gangs exploiting vulnerable people and organising Channel crossings.

The Nationality and Borders Bill currently making its way through Parliament aims to deter crossings.

Journeys across the Channel in small boats are dangerous

Journeys across the Channel in small boats are dangerous (Image: PA)

It will increase prison sentences for those facilitating the illegal journeys.

The legislation will also give the Government powers to ship asylum seekers offshore for processing.

Dan O'Mahoney, Clandestine Channel Threat Commander, said earlier this week the new legislation would play a vital role in cutting down on crossings.

He said: "The Government is determined to tackle the unacceptable rise in dangerous Channel crossings using every tool at our disposal, at every stage in the journey.

"Working with police and international partners there have been nearly 300 arrests, 65 convictions related to small boat criminality and our targeted efforts have prevented more than 12,000 migrant attempts.

"But this is a complicated issue requiring changes to our laws.

"The Government's New Plan for Immigration provides the only long term solution to fix the broken system and deliver the change required to tackle criminal gangs and prevent further loss of life."

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