Home Secretary Priti Patel is planning on changing international law in the Channel to close a loophole that is allowing hundreds of illegal migrants to cross over from France. Ms Patel has been described as “furious” about the crisis which was highlighted by Nigel Farage last week and has vowed to put a stop to it. Tensions have also been raised with the French over allegations that their authorities are escorting boats of illegal migrants into British waters from camps in northern France. And Mr Farage warned that over the summer the Kent coastline is “facing an invasion” unless swift action is taken.
Meanwhile, pressure is mounting on the government with Tory MPs writing letters demanding action is taken.
A source close to the Home Secretary said: “She is not happy about what is going on.”
But the source insisted that it was wrong to accuse the French of escorting migrants over the Channel.
The source said: “They do not have the legal powers to stop the boats from coming over but because they have a duty to rescue they have to shadow these overcrowded boats in French waters.
“The migrants will say they do not need rescuing until they enter British waters when suddenly they say they do and it has become the responsibility of Border Force here.”
The source said this is why the Home Secretary is now seeking to change the law so that boats can be intercepted and turned around before they enter British waters.
“Currently they are having to open camps in northern France and that is infuriating the local populations so if they can stop the attraction of attempting to make crossings to Britain then it will help them.”
Among the suggestions would be a change in international law to allow the French to intercept boats before they leave their waters.
The Home Office is also suggesting Border Force has permission to intercept boats in French waters and take them back to France.
But Mr Farage told the Sunday Express that Ms Patel is “perhaps not being told the truth” by the French authorities on this issue.
He pointed out that the UK has spent £60 million in northern France on measures to prevent crossings and protection systems but the French were still unwilling to stop boat loads of migrants coming over.
“It would appear the French navy is incapable of impounding 14 foot boats because they don’t want to return to France. I think the french are walking all over us.
“I also have to say that Border Force has been far too complicit in this. Border Force’s job is to protect our borders not to aid and abet illegal immigration.
“Border Force should have called out the French about what they are doing. But it hasn’t been called out and I have blown the gaffe on this now.”
He added: “I fear with the summer months to come this is going to become an invasion.
“The big problem is that virtually nobody is being returned. Basically, there is a big sign on the white cliffs of Dover saying ‘come here illegally, you can stay, we will give you accommodation, you’ll be fine.’
“The reality of course is many of them will be picked up by the ganglasters and will become part of modern slave Britain. We should be ashamed of ourselves in that regard.
“But I am also worried security wise. Who is to say we haven’t got Isis [terrorist] supporters coming through this route?”