The French Interior Minister is visiting Calais to inspect efforts to combat illegal immigration on the Channel, after Sky News filmed dozens of migrants leaving for the UK as armed police stood by and watched.
Gerald Darmanin is expected to speak to the police and address Francerole in controlling migration as tensions with Britain escalate.
Images from Sky News show dozens of migrants leaving the beaches this week in inflatable boats and even a canoe, beginning the potentially dangerous journey without being challenged by French police officers.
The Home Office has said it will increase Sky News images with its French counterparts, after the UK signed a £ 54 million deal with France to increase patrols in July.
He has described the record increase in crossings of immigrants to the UK via the English Channel this year as “unacceptable”.
Home secretary Priti Patel he told the Conservative Party Conference this week that France “is a safe country” and that it will “turn back the ships.”
However, more migrants successfully crossed the English Channel on Saturday, and Border Force and RNLI vessels brought them to safety at Dover and Dungeness in Kent.
Speaking to Sky News, Jonathan Portes, UK economist in a changing Europe, said: “I think it is clear that there has been a deterioration in the UK-France relationship on this as well as many others on many other fronts. Whether it ranges from the underwater deal with Australia to problems with French fishermen who complained of being excluded from their historic fishing waters near the Channel Islands.
“It is difficult to know whether this is an isolated incident or whether it reflects this broader deterioration in relations between the UK and France. Now, insofar as it is the latter, it is clearly very damaging to the UK and France”.
A busy weekend of migrant crossings in Dover was anticipated, Kent, due to the good weather conditions.
“The fog is lifting, the sun is rising, and the waters are incredibly calm right now, making that perilous journey a little easier to do,” said Aisha Zahid, a Sky News reporter, reporting from Dover.
“But the calm waters are deceptive, it’s still an incredibly treacherous journey down the world’s busiest shipping lane. And if people get into trouble while trying to cross, they can turn into danger very, very quickly.”
She continued: “This year has been a record year for migrant crossings, and it will be a particular concern for the government.
“Priti Patel gave French authorities £ 54 million over the summer to double the patrols, but there has been criticism that French authorities are not doing enough.”
How many migrant crossings have there been, how is Priti Patel trying to change UK policy and what is France doing? Samuel Osborne reports
More than 17,000 immigrants have successfully arrived in the UK since the beginning of the year. That’s double the figure for 2020.
More than 25,000 people have risked death crossing the English Channel aboard boats, kayaks and other small vessels since the beginning of last year, according to data from the Palestinian Authority news agency.
Interior Minister Priti Patel introduced a new nationality and borders bill in July, which she says will help reduce the number of crossings.
If passed, the bill will increase prison terms for people entering the UK illegally.
It will also consider whether someone came to the UK legally or illegally at the time of granting them asylum.
It is understood that the Home Secretary asked the Border Force to reject some migrant boats from British waters to France.
France has repeatedly refused to intercept or recover migrant boats.
Alp Mehmet, president of Migration Watch UK, said that the French police are not making any attempt to prevent people from crossing the English Channel.
He told Sky News: “They are doing nothing to challenge those who arrive in France at the point of entry. The EU is doing absolutely nothing to prevent them from entering.
“They come from a safe country [France] and that country is doing absolutely nothing to help them stay in that country. “
On Saturday morning, a couple of Border Force vessels headed toward the Canal. They will focus on getting the migrants they find to safety.
The French police have raised a number of reasons why they have not intervened at migrant crossings.
Sky News Europe correspondent Adam Parsons said officers in Sangatte, Calais, told him they felt outnumbered by migrants, as one ship was carrying around 80 people, while another said it is “more complicated “when children are involved.
Police also said that once a boat has been launched into the water it is subject to maritime law, so they cannot intervene.
Tensions between the UK and France have continued to rise this week after French fishermen threatened to blockade the port of Calais and cutting Christmas supplies in a post-Brexit fishing line.
They claim they have been “misled” by the British government about applications for fishing licenses and have called on the European Commission to take “retaliatory measures”.
And France has returned to threatened to cut off the UK power supply if the terms of the Brexit deal are not met.
The country’s European minister, Clement Beaune, said the deal had to “be fully implemented” and, if not, then “we will take European or national measures to put pressure on the UK.”