A gang of people smugglers accused of sneaking Albanian migrants into a British seaside village bought one of their boats on eBay. Five men went to a private seller’s home in the New Forest, Hampshire, last week and paid £3,000 in cash for the inflatable craft called Antares. They told the owner that they wanted the speedboat – which is a type once popular with the Royal Navy for anti-piracy missions – for fishing trips. But four days later it was found abandoned on the beach at Dymchurch in Kent, after a botched attempt to bring 18 Albanian migrants into the country.
A brazen gang loitering in beachside tents awaiting smuggler boats to take them to Britain yesterday said paper thin border security is behind the success rate. Their ramshackle camp precariously perched on and beneath a crumbling clifftop yards from the open beach in Dieppe is one of the new launchpads to the UK. It is home to 150 eastern Europeans economic migrants desperate to join friends and family who have already made it across the English Channel.
An Albanian migrant trying to sneak across the Channel from northern France has admitted he was deported from the UK earlier this year. The 24-year-old, who calls himself Jimmy Korbi, is among 150 of his countrymen living in tents on a cliff overlooking the port of Dieppe. It emerged last night that he and many of the others had climbed aboard lorries bound for Britain two years ago. Once here, they worked in construction jobs on the black market before being caught by immigration officials. They were then deported back to Albania on flights funded by the taxpayer. But in a classic example of the immigration merry-go-round, they simply returned to the French coast by coach or lorry weeks later and are trying to sneak back into the UK again.
Five Albanians rescued from the sinking dinghy off the Kent coast had by last night claimed asylum — even though their country is not at war. The refugees were among 18 of their countrymen saved from the stricken vessel off Dymchurch at the weekend. The remaining 13 have not sought sanctuary and are being processed ahead of being deported. Those who applied for asylum were taken to an intake centre in Kent for checks. But in a move that will anger those who argue Britain has lost control of its borders, they will be released while the Home Office considers their asylum application.
BOOKMAKERS slashed the odds on the chances of Brexit today following a surge in betting that Britain will vote to quit the EU. Millions of pounds have been placed on the outcome of the EU referendum on June 23 over the last three days, with one leading firm saying four out of five of the punts forecast a break from Brussels. It follows a string of polls suggesting that momentum in the referendum campaign is moving towards the “leave” camp. Leading bookies including Betfair, Coral, Ladbrokes and William Hill have been taken by surprise by the massive rush to lay bets on the historic vote. One gambling industry expert described the crunch referendum on June 23 as “the biggest political betting event of all time”.
David Cameron will make the case for remaining in the European Union tonight in the first major television event of the referendum campaign. The Prime Minister will be interviewed at length by Sky News’ political editor Faisal Islam before Kay Burley invites questions from a studio audience which has been weighted to include inners, outers and the undecided. After a stronger start, the Remain campaign appears to have been losing ground in the opinion polls to Vote Leave as the Brexiteers have turned their focus towards immigration.
A leading think-tank partly funded by the EU was accused of bias last night after it warned Brexit would lead to a ‘large negative shock’ for Britain’s economy. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development slashed its forecasts for the UK as it said fears that Britain might leave the EU have already ‘undermined’ growth. The body, which also receives funding from the British Government, said the UK’s economic growth would be 3 per cent lower than it would be if it remains in the EU – the equivalent of £2,200 less per household.
Google, by far the world’s most popular and influential Internet search engine, has inexplicably buried a popular eurosceptic website on the second page of search results on the topic, the website’s founder has claimed. He said the Internet giant is “corrupt” and implied it supports a pro-European Union (EU) agenda, just one day after the EU revealed it is working with Facebook, Twitter and (Google-owned) YouTube to promote “alternative narratives” it supports. Just yesterday, Google’s public policy and government relation’s director, Lie Junius, said the firm was, “pleased to work with the [European] Commission” – the EU’s unelected executive arm.
The Government has no central record of around £2.5bn a year it spends each year on research commissioned to develop public policy, a damming report reveals. An inquiry by a former High Court judge found that only four out of 24 Whitehall departments maintained a database of research they had commissioned. The lack of transparency has led to concerns that ministers and officials are quietly ‘burying’ research that they do not agree with.
An attempt by a Conservative MP to block a police investigation into allegations his party broke election spending rules has failed. Kent Police last week applied for an extension of the 12-month statutory limit into investigations of potential breaches of the Representation of the People Act at the 2015 general election. An investigation by Channel 4 News and the Daily Mail newspaper alleged that the Tories broke spending limits in key marginal seats at the last general election.
A judge has raised the prospect that some of the Conservatives’ general election victories could be voided as he granted more time for Kent police to investigate allegations of electoral fraud by the party. District Judge Barron outlined in court the reasons for extending the time period for Kent police to examine the accusations, after a Channel 4 investigation raised questions about Tory election spending in South Thanet – where the party was fighting Ukip leader Nigel Farage. In his summary, he said: “In my judgment the combination of circumstances before me is wholly exceptional and goes far beyond the usual circumstances that would exist in a typical case where election offences are being investigated.”
Thousands of disabled people have been blocked from getting through to an overloaded benefits hotline, the Mirror can reveal. Callers could not sign up for Personal Independence Payments (PIP) 18,949 times due to “heavy demand” from January to April – 4,700 a month. The glitches froze out 1.7% of all calls to the Department for Work and Pensions‘ PIP enquiry line, which costs up to 45p a minute. The shock figure dwarfs the number of failed calls to the separate free PIP claim line, where just 0.04% could not get through.
Senior Labour MPs will warn the party has “lost touch with voters” and faces defeat in 2020 unless it wins back traditional supporters. The new group, Labour Together, says the party is in “trouble” and the electoral base that saw it sweep to power in the 1990s is “fracturing”. Led by Jon Cruddas MP, Shadow Cabinet member Lisa Nandy MP and Steve Reed MP, Labour Together calls for an overhaul of the party’s agenda. It says voters at the last election “didn’t like our policies on welfare, business, the deficit, or immigration”.
SENIOR Labour politicians will launch a new campaigning organisation in an attempt to unify the party and turn it into a “credible” political force capable of winning the next general election. Politicians from across the party’s political spectrum are launching Labour Together on Wednesday. The organisation will be chaired by MP Jon Cruddas with shadow energy secretary Lisa Nandy, MP Steve Reed, leader of Manchester Council Sir Richard Leese, Stevenage Council leader Sharon Taylor and Leeds City Council leader Judith Blake serving as vice chairmen.