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French stopping half of boat migrants after £480m deal

Nov 03, 2023

The French are intercepting more than half of attempted Channel crossings for the first time since migrants started making the journey in small boats five years ago.

This year 8,635 people have been stopped from making the crossing by French officials, whereas 7,610 have arrived in the UK. This represents an interception rate of 53 per cent, up from 42 per cent last year.

Border Force officials said that the figures were a sign that the £480 million deal Rishi Sunak struck with President Macron in March to boost French patrols was starting to deliver results. However, a border source said that the interception rate needed to be "well north" of 50 per cent to make the business model of people-smugglers unviable.

The prime minister