France is not doing enough to stop migrants reaching the Channel, Boris Johnson said as he called on French officials to “close the corridor”.
Mr Johnson accused France of failing to prevent migrants from leaving its beaches as it emerged that fewer than 10 per cent had been stopped from reaching the UK on a record day of crossings on Thursday.
Around 1,185 migrants crossed the Channel in 33 boats on Thursday – the highest daily total on record, according to the Home Office. French border forces stopped just 99 people in seven boats, thought to be the lowest daily proportion for months.
Speaking during a visit to Sidcup in Kent, the Prime Minister said: “We have a problem. They’re coming from France, and in the end the French authorities will not or cannot control these departures.”
He said that provided an incentive for more migrants to enter France from the south, adding: “What I would say to our French friends is that if you close off the door to the corridor at the far end, then people won’t come into the corridor at the other end – you see what I mean?
“We need to close down that movement from the French beaches to the UK if you want to stop people coming into France to come to the UK.”
He admitted that, once migrants were in the Channel, it was “very difficult for us to turn them back at sea”, adding: “We want to do it in a safe and humane way, but it’s very difficult.”