UK-France deal won't prevent Channel crossing: French MP

UK’s multimillion-pound deal with France will not prevent Channel crossings, warns Calais MP
2 min read
21 July, 2021
The MP for Calais told reporters there are 'too many kilometres of shore to monitor' to stop migrants crossing from France to the UK.
Around 8,000 people have attempted to cross the English Channel this year [Getty-file photo]

French politician said UK Home Secretary Priti Patel’s new multimillion-pound deal with France will not prevent migrants from crossing the English Channel to the UK. 

Calais French National Assembly member Pierre-Henri Dumount told reporters that Patel's deal with France would not "stem the flow of people seeking to make that very dangerous crossing". 

The UK Home Secretary signed a £54.2 million ($74.2 million) deal with French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin on 20 July, agreeing to fund an increase in enforcement officers and surveillance technology along the French coastline. 

Dumount told Radio 4's Today: "The fact is, having more money, having more police, having more controls will not prevent more crossing attempts. We have too many kilometres of shore to monitor. They can hide in a lot of places, there are a lot of roads, woods and trees." 

The deal was signed the same day a record-breaking 430 migrants crossed the English Channel to the UK.

The UK government at the same time voted for the Nationality and Borders Bill, which will penalise refugees based on their method of entering the country. 

A previous deal was signed by the UK and France in November committing £28.2 million to tackle illegal immigration across the channel. The UK Home Office claims the number of crossings prevented by the French authorities has doubled since November.  

However, the number of migrants crossing the Channel this year has reached 8,474, already overtaking last year’s total. 

Patel intends to make Channel crossings "unviable" with the passing of the Borders Bill. 

The UK home secretary said: "The public are rightly angry that small boats are arriving on our shores, facilitated by appalling criminal gangs who profit from human misery and put lives at risk."