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The Government’s immigration minister is to visit Dover on Saturday after Home Secretary Sajid Javid declared the rising number of migrants attempting to cross the English Channel a “major incident”.
Caroline Nokes will be joined by the Kent port’s MP Charlie Elphicke, who has called for more patrol boats in the Channel to tackle trafficking gangs.
But there were calls for the Royal Navy to be sent in, with one MP warning that the crisis could otherwise escalate into a “catastrophe”.
Javid has asked for an urgent call with his French counterpart to address the problem following a Christmas period which has seen a spate of attempts by migrants to cross to the UK by boat.
After two boats carrying 12 men from Syria and Iran were intercepted while they attempted to make the crossing on Friday, Javid also appointed a “gold commander” to oversee the situation and give daily updates.
He has also held a conference call with officials in the Border Force, Immigration Enforcement and the National Crime Agency (NCA) – where he was briefed on the latest intelligence and action being taken.
Javid has also asked the Border Force to provide information on whether more vessels will act as a deterrent or encourage more people to make the crossing.
Independent MP and Commons Home Affairs Committee member John Woodcock said he should go further, telling The Sun: “The public is losing confidence in the struggling Border Force. It’s time to stop the rot by sending in the Royal Navy.
“If the civilian force can’t cope, the Navy must stop this crisis becoming a catastrophe.”
And another committee member, Tory Tim Loughton told the paper: “There is a serious security implication, as this is a likely route undesirables who have been fighting in Syria will use if they want to return to the UK.
“Of course there is now a case for the Royal Navy to be brought in to do border protection in the Channel.”
On Friday, Border Force…