Sajid Javid declares rising number of migrants 'major incident'

Sky News footage shows a boat being picked up at the Kent coast as more migrants brave the Channel crossing 27/12/2018

Sky News footage shows a boat being picked up at the Kent coast as more migrants brave the Channel crossing 27/12/2018

In a statement on Friday, UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid declared the migrant crossings a "major incident" and "asked for an urgent call with his French counterpart over the weekend to reaffirm the continuing need for the UK and France to work closely together to tackle the problem".

Mr Javid cut his holiday short and flew back to the United Kingdom this afternoon to hold a conference call with Border Force officials, Immigration Enforcement and the National Crime Agency.

Mr Javid wants urgent talks with his French counterpart to discuss the increase in migrants who are risking their lives to try and cross the channel to get to the UK.

Two separate groups of migrants attempting to enter the United Kingdom by boat were picked up on Friday, totalling 12 people.

On Friday, Border Force officials brought the 12 men to shore at Dover and handed them over to immigration officials to be interviewed. And at around 9am a second boat, which was carrying eight Iranians, was also spotted.

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Officials intercepted 23 Iranians in the Channel on Thursday, including three children, and a further 43 people were picked up over Christmas Day and Boxing Day. Twenty three migrants were involved in three separate rescues on the Kent coast overnight and this morning.

It added that Javid wants to ensure everything possible is being done to deter migrants from attempting the risky crossing, "amid concern that it is only a matter of time before people lose their lives".

The spike over the Christmas period is "deeply concerning", the UK Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes said.

"So it's welcome that the Home Secretary has rightly declared the situation a "major incident", taken personal control and appointed a gold commander. Let's start by bringing back our cutters to the English Channel".

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