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France is accused of ‘ceding territory to people smugglers’ after 700 migrants cross the Channel

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A record 1,000 people reached the UK in a single day after risking their lives in small boats in the English Channel.

A young girl wrapped in a red jacket was carried ashore in Dover on Thursday, one of the mass of people brought into the Kent port after being picked up at sea.

Lifeboat crews and Border Force boats were busy well into the evening after spending hours intercepting boats in the Dover Straight throughout the day.

Thursday’s total will surpass the previous single-day record for the current crisis of 853 set earlier this month when figures are finalised.

It comes as France was accused of ‘ceding sovereign territory to people smugglers’ in an incendiary Whitehall attack on Emmanuel Macron‘s government.

The source said: ‘They let hundreds of people potentially set sail to their death whilst only stopping a couple of boats.’

The insider added: ‘They appear to have ceded sovereign territory to criminal people smugglers.

‘This abject failure will be raised in the strongest possible terms with Gerald Darmanin [France’s minister of the interior].’

A group of people thought to be migrants are brought in to Dover, Kent, on board the Dover lifeboat, following a small boat incident in the Channel today

A group of people thought to be migrants are brought in to Dover, Kent, on board the Dover lifeboat, following a small boat incident in the Channel today

Border officials were busy well into Thursday evening in Dover as they worked to process the many arrivals.

Children wrapped in jackets and blankets against the autumn chill, some carried in the arms of adults, were among being helped onto the quayside throughout the day.

Further along the coast, more people were reportedly seen arriving on Hastings beach after being picked up by the RNLI.

Two people have lost their lives attempting the perilous crossing and more are feared missing at sea in recent weeks.

Yesterday’s 1,000 arrivals mean the figure for this year is almost 24,000 – close to three times as many as in 2020.

On Wednesday, UK authorities intercepted or rescued 695 people from 22 boats, while French officials stopped just 255 from seven vessels.

France has been accused of ‘ceding sovereign territory to people smugglers’ in an incendiary Whitehall attack on Emmanuel Macron’s (pictured) government

France has been accused of ‘ceding sovereign territory to people smugglers’ in an incendiary Whitehall attack on Emmanuel Macron’s (pictured) government

Despite visibility dropping in the morning and weather deteriorating at sea, around 40 people were seen disembarking from the Dover lifeboat shortly before 8am.

Thirty more were brought into the harbour around 9.30am on board Border Force cutter Hunter.

Around 490 brought in on Wednesday were had to sleep on the floor at the Tug Haven reception due to pressure on Border Force.

Yesterday, two boats were seen arriving before 5am while RNLI’s Dungeness lifeboat The Morrell brought around 50 migrants into Dover Marina before dawn.

It returned with another 30 around 8.30am. The RNLI dispatched lifeboats from Ramsgate, Dover, Dungeness, all in Kent, and Hastings, East Sussex.

Around 50 migrants disembarked from one lifeboat on the beach at Hastings at 12.30pm.

Among those seen clambering up the shingle were young girls wearing thick winter coats wrapped in foil blankets.

One group of migrants was prevented from landing by rescue services after drifting dangerously close to the MoD firing range at Lydd, Kent.

It comes after 853 migrants sailed from Europe in 25 boats on Wednesday last week. It led government sources to accuse the French of ‘lamentable inaction’.

The numbers have seen tensions rise between London and Paris as it was revealed fewer than half of the migrants have been stopped by French authorities.

Dan O'Mahoney, Clandestine Channel Threat Commander, with Home Secretary Priti Patel

Dan O’Mahoney, Clandestine Channel Threat Commander, with Home Secretary Priti Patel

Dan O’Mahoney, the UK’s Clandestine Channel Threat Commander, warned: ‘Migrants making these dangerous crossings are putting their lives at risk.

‘It is vital we do everything we can to prevent them and break the business model of the criminal gangs exploiting people.’

The UK has started paying £54million in smaller chunks to France to help fund them holding back the migrants. 

The monthly total for November so far has passed 3,500, compared with 757 over the same period last year.

Border Force chiefs had been planning for just 2,000 crossings over the whole of the month.

Mr Macron’s government promised to stop migrants leaving French beaches through increased patrols in return for £54 million from the UK.

Home Secretary Priti Patel approved the first instalment of the sum last week following assurances from her opposite number, Mr Darmanin, that 100 per cent of the boats would be intercepted if the UK pays the full amount.

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