Sajid Javid cuts family holiday short to deal with Channel migrant crisis

Posted On: 
30th December 2018

Sajid Javid has been forced to cut a family holiday short and return to the UK to deal with the escalating crisis of people attempting to cross the Channel and enter Britain illegally.

Sajid Javid has flown back early from a family holiday in Africa
Credit: 
PA

The Home Secretary abandoned a luxury African safari trip as an increasing number of boats were intercepted making the journey from Calais to Dover over the Christmas period.

More than 220 people have attempted to make the crossing since November and dozens more have been apprehended by UK authorities in recent days, putting pressure on Mr Javid and his department to take action.

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Responding to suggestions that his department has been slow to react to the crisis, the Home Secretary said in a statement last night: "After a rise in activity over Christmas I immediately stepped this up - declaring a major incident and returning to the UK to drive our continued and enhance response.

"I continue to keep the number of Border Force cutters in the Channel under close review, but there is no one easy answer to this complex problem."

But Tory MP for Dover Charlie Elphicke has rounded on the Government over its handling of the issue, writing in the Mail on Sunday: "For too long, the Home Office has not been taking this seriously enough and the crisis has continued to escalate."

Mr Javid also sparked a fresh row after a briefing released last night appeared to shift blame for the response so far to civil servants.

It said: "With increasing concern about the potential for loss of life and the need to co-ordinate action across Whitehall during the traditionally slower Christmas period, he has decided to drive the response in person."

But a senior government source hit back, telling the Sunday Telegraph: "The secretary of state should not blame the civil service.

"You are elected to take responsibility for your department. He is entitled to a holiday with his family but if you want to declare something a major incident, then don't cast blame around because that is not fair."

Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes, who yesterday visited Dover, insisted the Home Secretary was “taking control of the situation”.