Group of migrants land on Kent beach at Lydd

Charlene Craig
January 1, 2019

As six more Iranian migrants reached Kent in an inflatable boat yesterday, the home secretary reached an "enhanced" agreement with his French counterpart that included raising awareness about the risks of the crossing.

A witness who works at the Zetland Arms pub, which overlooks the beach, said they saw authorities leading a small group of men from the shore to a Ford Transit van at around 9.30am.

Authorities on both sides of the Channel are anxious about the sharp increase in the number of migrants trying to reach Britain by sea.

The recent increase in migrants departing France in small boats with England as their destination led to an urgent telephone call Sunday between French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner and British Home Secretary Sajid Javid.

Davey said the Lib Dems want more investment in a Stronger Border force to tackle criminal gangs trafficking people, drugs and weapons and undo the "damage done by Theresa May's cuts to Britain security".

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Rejecting Mr Javid's suggestion that increasing patrols would encourage more people to attempt the crossing, Mr Elphicke said: "You don't deter burglars by leaving your front door open".

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said the armed forces were ready to offer help if needed.

The spike over the Christmas period is "deeply concerning", the UK Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes said.

However, compared with the number of refugees seeking asylum in the United Kingdom every year, the number who have attempted to cross the channel by dinghy is tiny, says BBC political correspondent Ben Wright.

The Home Office has been contacted for a comment.

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Shadow home secretary Diane Abbott branded Mr Javid's efforts to bring the crisis under control as "flawed" and criticised his slow response.

Mr Javid declared the situation a "major incident" on Friday, appointing a "gold commander" to oversee the situation and give daily updates.

Javid will hold talks with Whitehall chiefs, the Border Force and the National Crime Agency on Monday as he prepares to step up action.

"We've put a big fence up to prevent people from accessing trains and lorries and people are resorting to other methods to get here", she told the BBC.

The charity Detention Action said the reason for the crisis was the government's failure to create safe and legal routes for people to claim asylum in Britain. Several arrests of suspected people smugglers have been made.

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At present one is in use, supported by two smaller patrol boats.

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