Calais migrant crisis

Man arrested over Christmas Day migrants

A man has been arrested after migrants attempted to reach the Kent coast on Christmas Day.

The 37-year-old man was detained by the Met Police in north west London on 30 January, the National Crime Agency said.

Forty migrants, including two children, were rescued from boats in five separate incidents on Christmas Day in the English Channel.

The Home Office said some of the migrants identified themselves as Iraqis, Iranians and Afghans.

English Channel
BARCROFT MEDIA/GETTY

Migrants issue 'blown out of proportion'

Hamish Mureddu-Reid

BBC News Online, South East

Migrant boat
PREMAR MANCHE

The number of migrants coming to the UK from France is not increasing and the issue has been "blown out of proportion", the Home Affairs select committee has been told.

Representatives from charities helping migrants both in the UK and France told the committee about half of those trying to cross the English Channel have family in the UK.

They said migrants were attempting the crossing "out of desperation", and all those asked said they "just wanted to feel safe".

The committee heard Iranians were fleeing persecution, unlike those from Africa and Afghanistan who were escaping from conflict, and most migrants from Iran were choosing to stay in France.

Why are Iranians crossing the Channel in dinghies?

Migrant boat on Kent beach
ROB BEWICK

Most of the Iranians are highly skilled and have sold property at home in order to finance their journeys, Olivia Long from the Help Refugees charity said.

The committee was told migrants were continuing to make the cross-Channel journey in lorries and boats were "an additional factor".

Maddy Allen, from Help Refugees, said: "I think it's clear that there's a high price attached to the crossings by boat.

"On a sunny day you can see the white cliffs of Dover and therefore that crossing, that we know is incredibly dangerous, seems like it's within reach.".

Environment Secretary Michael Gove defends Sajid Javid's reaction to migrant crisis
Environment Secretary Michael Gove defends Sajid Javid's reaction to migrant crisis.