UK calls on France to intercept migrants crossing Channel as numbers rise
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British interior minister Priti Patel on Friday described the volume of migrants crossing the Channel as "appalling and unacceptably high" and called on France to help keep numbers down.
Patel made her comments on social media the day after British border officials detained 235 migrants as they tried to cross the narrow stretch of water between the UK and France — a daily record high.
The government has come under increasing political pressure from critics to tackle the issue and has floated the idea of using the Royal Navy to patrol the Channel.
"The number of illegal small boat crossings is appalling and unacceptably high. The figures are shameful," Patel said in a series of messages on Twitter.
We also need the cooperation of the French to intercept boats and return migrants back to France.
I know that when the British people say they want to take back control of our borders – this is exactly what they mean.
— Priti Patel (@pritipatel) August 7, 2020
Patel, whose parents left Uganda in the 1960s to live in Britain, called on "genuine refugees" to claim asylum in European Union states rather than travel to the UK.
And she urged the French authorities to do more.
"We also need the cooperation of the French to intercept boats and return migrants back to France," she wrote.
Among those criticising the minister has been Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage, who has long campaigned on immigration issues and has accused the government of "talk and no action".
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