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Monday, November 29, 2021

France dismantles migrant camp on north coast after Patel demands an end to ‘100pc’ of crossings

Home Office minister Damian Hinds agreed that the meeting had been “productive” but admitted there was more to be done to stem the flow of migrants making the dangerous journeys.

Speaking on BBC Breakfast on Tuesday, Mr Hinds said: “What I can tell you is we have a good working relationship with our French counterparts, and specifically with the minister, but we know, they know, that collectively together that we need to do more.”

French police insist that they are stopping 60 per cent of dinghies making the crossings but cannot prevent the remainder from leaving given the sheer number of simultaneous attempts and length of coast.

Before the police operation at Grande-Synthe, the number of migrants spread between Dunkirk and Calais was estimated at around 2,000 by the French authorities.

More than 23,500 people have now reached the UK after crossing the English Channel onboard small boats this year. Almost 4,000 people succeeded in making it to Britain in the first two weeks of November.

Mr Hinds said people smugglers were “trading on people’s vulnerabilities, earning large sums of money to get them to take extremely perilous journeys, which they should not be doing”.

But shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds called for an “effective deal” with the French to disrupt people-smuggling gangs away from the coast.

“People don’t become refugees in northern France, they’ve usually been on a journey of sometimes thousands of miles, facilitated by these vile people smugglers.

“We need to be tackling that more upstream.”

Mr Darmanin said that police had dismantled a network of smugglers in the Dunkirk region, leading to 13 people being detained and that 1,308 suspected smugglers had been arrested since the beginning of the year.

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