Brexit leader Nigel Farage was visited by police officers Monday, warning him to observe the “essential travel” rules after he reported on illegal boat migrants arriving in Dover.
On Monday, Brexit Party Leader Nigel Farage went to the port at Dover and filmed the Border Force bringing a group of migrants “including a very young baby” to shore.
Yet after continuing his work as a politician-turned-journalist to expose the “scandal” of Britain’s borders remaining open at a time where the rest of the country is closed, Mr Farage said that “two police officers just knocked on my door to advise me on essential travel.”
“They had received a complaint that I had been to Dover to report on the illegal migrant scandal taking place,” Farage said, adding: “What a total waste of time and money.”
The national lockdown measures that were imposed on the country allow exceptions to the restriction of movement for certain key workers including “journalists and broadcasters who are providing public service broadcasting.”
Police forces across the country have been accused of overzealous enforcement of the national lockdown. Last week, it was revealed that the Crown Prosecution Service will review every charge, conviction, and sentence that have been brought under the Coronavirus Act following a string of wrongful convictions.
In his film at Dover, Mr Farage blamed the inaction of the Home Office for the growing “scandal” of illegal boat migrants landing on British shores during the Chinese coronavirus crisis.
“The Border Force is supposed to protect our borders, not be a taxi service for illegal immigrants and yet that’s what the Home Office are telling them what to do,” Mr Farage said.
Mr Farage lamented the “enormous risks people are taking”, but cautioned that it should be remembered that all of this is “organised by criminal trafficking gangs”.
“Remember that even if some of these people qualify as refugees, you claim refugee status in the first safe country you come to. France is a safe country, and I do just get the feeling that we are being so weak about this… that if already over a thousand people have come this year… goodness knows what this figure is going to be,” the Brexit Party leader added.
“If we get a calm summer, they are going to start coming in much much bigger vessels, and we’ve got to get a grip on this,” Mr Farage warned.
The veteran political campaigner, who also serves as an ad hoc journalist as the host of his own LBC radio programme, was following up previous reporting from the beaches of East Sussex, where he interviewed locals who said illegal migrants met and sea or received onshore are just the tip of the iceberg, with some landing entirely undetected, unnoticed by the authorities and unreported by the press. Speaking from East Sussex, Mr Farage said: “This scandal, I think, is far bigger than anyone realises… Not one, to my knowledge, has been returned [to France] and [home secretary] Priti Patel needs to get tough.”
This earned criticism in certain quarters of the mainstream media, with Sunday Times journalist Sarah Baxter, in particular, chastising him for continuing to pursue an issue — mass immigration — with, she claimed, had now gone “right off the boil”.
“I wonder, who is out of touch here? Is it me, or is it the mainstream media?” Farage asked at the time.
On Sunday, the Border Force stopped 49 migrants attempting to cross the English Channel in three rubber dinghies, bringing them ashore at Dover. On Monday, an additional 16 migrants — claiming to be from Iraq and Iran — were brought ashore.
Meanwhile, the UK’s French counterparts stopped an additional 39 migrants on Sunday and a further 39 migrants on Monday before they were able to enter British territorial waters, meaning that over 130 migrants had set sail from France in the span of two days, the BBC reports.
Last week, Home Secretary Priti Patel spoke to her French counterpart about returning more migrants to France. However, there has been no indication from the British government that it intends to turn away migrants at the border.
Last year, 1,890 illegal boat migrants reached British shores, but the British government only deported 125 of them, despite Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s promise to send migrants back.