James O'Brien 10am - 1pm
'Not one euro paid' of money promised to France to tackle migrant crossings - minister
9 October 2021, 21:13 | Updated: 10 October 2021, 08:09
None of the £54 million the UK promised to France to tackle migrant crossings has been paid, a French minister has claimed as he urged the British Government to fulfil its promises.
Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said "not one euro has been paid" following a visit to Dunkirk on Saturday.
Earlier this year, the Government pledged to send millions of pounds to support French efforts to stop the crossings.
However Home Secretary Priti Patel recently threatened to withhold the funding unless more people were stopped from reaching the UK.
More than 17,000 people have succeeded in making the dangerous trip across the Dover Strait aboard small boats in so far in 2021 - more than double the figure for the whole of 2020.
"For now, not one euro has been paid," Mr Darmanin told the Associated Press.
"We are asking the British to keep their promises of financing because we are holding the border for them."
In response, a Home Office spokesperson said: "This year record numbers of people have put their lives in the hands of ruthless people smugglers and risked perilous channel crossings from French beaches.
"Joint cooperation with the French has led to nearly 300 arrests, 65 convictions and prevented more than 13,500 crossings.
"But with hundreds still risking their lives and making the crossing, all sides must do more."
The Home Office added that French and UK officials were continuing to "work together on the final funding arrangements".
Meanwhile in Dover on Saturday, dozens of people were seen being brought ashore by Border Force after making the perilous Channel crossing.
A woman was seen ushering a small child ahead of her as the pair were guided up a gangway by a border official.
A newborn baby was also reportedly rescued by the RNLI on Saturday, after being at sea for nine hours as part of a group of migrants making the dangerous channel crossing.
A large number of people are also thought to have succeeded in reaching the UK on Friday, although the Home Office has yet to provide numbers on arrivals for Friday or Saturday.