To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will publish her assessment of the progress achieved in implementing the joint action plan by the UK and France on combating illegal migration involving small boats in the English Channel; and when the objective set out in paragraph 6 of the addendum of ensuring that by Spring 2020 successful migrant crossings have become an infrequent phenomenon will be achieved.
11 May 2020
Since the signature of the Joint Action Plan in January 2019, my department has successfully worked with the French Government to deliver on the commitments made, including (i) the purchase of equipment to assist detections by French law enforcement partners (ii) the delivery of a strategic communications campaign and (iii) increased intelligence sharing through the CCIC. Additionally, under the terms of the Addendum to the Action Plan, the UK has supported the deployment of French gendarme reservists along the French coast, whose efforts have been vital in preventing boats crossing the English Channel.
However, as recognised under the Addendum, this threat continues to evolve, with the recent good weather and Covid-19 lockdown having an impact on migrant behaviour, resulting in a rise in the number of arrivals in the UK. My department is working with the French government to respond to this evolving threat as a matter of urgency to reduce the number of crossings.