David Davis calls for Channel crossings to be shut down completely

David Davis MP reacts to migrant rescue operation

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David Davis has called for migrant Channel crossings to be “shut down completely”. The senior Tory MP’s comments come as at least three people have died and 43 have been rescued in a small boat incident off the coast of Kent early on Wednesday.

Mr Davis said the incident demonstrated the need to tackle migrant Channel crossings as he highlighted Rishi Sunak’s announcement yesterday to get a grip on the issue.

The former Brexit secretary told TalkTV: “This is one of the reasons that what the Prime Minister announced yesterday was so important.

“It is not the first time that lives have been put at risk in the Channel, we have lost them before.

“And really we have to shut this trade, we have to shut it down completely and that must be one of the highest priorities.”

The Royal Navy, French navy, Coastguard and RNLI lifeboats were all involved in a major rescue this morning.

RNLI lifeboats were launched from Dover at 3.07am, followed by more from Ramsgate and Hastings.

More than 30 of those rescued were pulled from the freezing water and it is understood the number of people confirmed dead so far could be likely to rise.

The tragedy came a day after Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced a five-point plan to curb Channel crossings and clear the backlog of asylum claims.

As he announced the raft of measures in the Commons, he said: “Unless we act now, and decisively, this will only get worse.”

The measures include a new agreement with Albania to return people to the country.

New laws will make it “unambiguously clear” that “if you enter the UK illegally you should not be able to remain here”.

A new “small boats operational command” will bring together the military, civilian officials and the National Crime Agency (NCA) to co-ordinate intelligence, interception, processing and enforcement, using drones for reconnaissance and surveillance.

And Mr Sunak pledged the controversial policy of sending migrants on a one-way ticket to Rwanda will begin once legal battles have finished.

But Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer dismissed the proposals as “unworkable gimmicks”, arguing that his party would offer “serious solutions”.

More than 44,000 people have made the dangerous journey from France so far this year, Government figures show.

At least 27 migrants died when a dinghy sank while heading to the UK from France in November last year.

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