Care minister Helen Whately has said the “unacceptable situation” of migrant crossings in the English Channel “absolutely needs to stop”. More than 677 people made it to the UK in a surge of crossings between Thursday and Sunday. On Sunday, the UK’s Border Force said it was dealing with “ongoing small boat incidents” off the coast of Kent in southern England, 33-km (21-mile) across the Channel from France.
Speaking to Sky News, Ms Whately said: “We do have an unacceptable situation of many migrants coming across the Channel at the moment.
“It’s also a dangerous route, there’s a real risk to life for those coming across, it’s obviously a form of illegal immigration, it’s not the right way to come to the United Kingdom.
“So, we are taking action.
“The Home Secretary is determined to take action to make sure that this isn’t a viable route to the UK and my colleague and Home Office minister, Chris Philp will be meeting the French this week to talk about working together to stop this transit.”
READ MORE: ‘We’re paying millions!’ Dover MP demands France stops migrant boats
Ms Whately added: “The important thing is we work together with the French to stop this flow of migrants.
“It’s not a safe way for them to try and get here, it’s incredibly dangerous, it also means money is going to people smugglers, so it absolutely needs to stop.”
It comes as an inflatable dinghy carrying around 20 Syrian migrants has been met by Border Force off the coast of Dover.
The packed vessel had been making its way across the English Channel on Monday morning, with those on board seen waving and smiling on their journey.
They were met by the Border Force patrol boat Hunter at about 7.15am with the White Cliffs in sight.
Dramatic pictures and footage shows a boat carrying around 20 migrants wearing lifejackets motoring across the Channel.
The journey can be dangerous in the best of weather, but seas early on Monday were choppy.
When asked how they were, many of the migrants put their thumbs up and replied that they were OK.
As they drew within sight of Dover they were met by Border Force, and it is expected that they will be taken ashore later this morning.