Sir Christopher Chope, a veteran Conservative MP and former minister, has demanded the government "do something" about record numbers of migrants who are streaming across the English Channel in the midst of the coronavirus crisis.
Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove was ambushed by Sir Christopher on the subject as he updated Parliament’s Brexit Committee on the latest trade talks on Monday, 27 April.
A total of 111 Iraqi, Iranian, Yemini, Syrian and Kuwaiti migrants have crossed the Channel in 8 boats in the past two days and reached the 'same area' where they have been met by UK Border Force vessels and brought ashore to the Kent coast at Dover, the BBC has reported.— Robert Kimbell #TimeForThePeople (@Rob_Kimbell) April 26, 2020
Sir Christopher, 72, said: "What are you doing about it? The Border Force can surely challenge what is not just illegal immigration, but a health hazard?"
One day in the Channel: another three dozen foreign nationals attempted to gain illegal entry to the UK - and with the help of the UK Border Farce, they succeeded. https://t.co/hK356p6xwK— David Kurten (@davidkurten) April 26, 2020
On 7 February a record 102 migrants were intercepted while crossing the English Channel - the largest number of such incidents in any one day.
The migrants - from Syria, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India - were detained upon reaching the English coast from France.
Despite the coronavirus crisis small boats have continued to operate in the Straits of Dover throughout March and April.
The Daily Telegraph reported on 24 April that since 23 March - when the coronavirus lockdown began - 558 migrants have left France and made it across the Channel, a record for a single month.
Who is this guy?— Mark ne-Francois-pas MP (@MarkFrancois12) March 30, 2020
I'll make him an offer: Back off or I'm sending Bill Cash and Christopher Chope round with a rolled up copy of article 50. https://t.co/mMnu6TZump
In August last year UK Home Secretary Priti Patel and French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner met to discuss taking further measures to combat people trafficking using small boats across the English Channel.
There was also an Anglo-French joint conference in the city of Lille on the problem but the boats keep coming and Sir Christopher said there were “record numbers.”
Sir Christopher, who was a junior transport minister under Margaret Thatcher in the early 1990s and now represents Christchurch in Dorset, asked Mr Gove: “When are you going to get some results?”
I wonder why some idiots are shouting for 70 year old Corbyn to self-isolate but not a word about these:— Briefcase Michael (@BriefcaseMike) March 16, 2020
Peter Bottomley (CON, 75)
Margaret Hodge (LAB, 75)
Christopher Chope (CON, 72)
Gordon Henderson (CON, 72)
Pauline Latham (CON, 72)
David Davis (CON, 71)
Mr Gove said he would pass the question on to Home Secretary Priti Patel and reply to the committee.
Sir Christopher last came to public attention in 2018 when he filibustered to prevent a bill on upskirting from being passed in Parliament. He later told his local paper, the Echo, he felt he had been "scapegoated" when he was simply objecting for procedural reasons.