Boris Johnson has told migrants not to cross the English Channel to try to enter the UK illegally as ‘we will send you back’.
His comments came after nearly 100 people took to small boats to try to make the crossing from France to the UK illegally in one day, prompting home secretary Priti Patel to seek talks with her French counterpart to address the situation.
Johnson told reporters: “Clearly the most important thing is to stop them coming across from France so we are working very closely with the French authorities.
“The point I would just make to people thinking of making this journey – one, it is very hazardous, you may think the weather looks great but it’s a very, very dangerous thing to do.
“The second thing is – we will send you back. The UK should not be regarded as a place where you could automatically come and break the law by seeking to arrive illegally.
“If you come illegally, you are an illegal migrant and I’m afraid the law will treat you as such.”
The Home Office has confirmed that officials dealt also dealt with 64 people, including at least six children, who tried to reach England in small boats in six separate incidents yesterday.
The people in the boats were from countries including Iran, Guinea, Kuwait, the Ivory Coast, and Vietnam.
Dover MP Charlie Elphicke said on Twitter: “Only when migrants and traffickers alike know that they will not succeed in crossing the English Channel will this crisis come to an end.”
In his blog, he called for the Channel to be made into a “joint UK/France security zone” where “smugglers” can be intercepted.
He said that the recent death of a migrant had been his “worst fear”.
The news comes as the home secretary prepares to hold talks with her counterpart, the French interior minister Christophe Castaner.
French authorities said they found 30 migrants, including 11 children, attempting to make the crossing that same day.
They were all taken back to the continent, according to the Home Office.