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    Home Office hit back at Farage after he called Cleverley an 'idiot'

    James Cleverley wrote on X, formerly Twitter, about the lack of migrants crossing the English Channel at Christmas. Photo: Jordan Pettitt/PA Wire

    The Home Office has hit out at Nigel Farage for calling James Cleverley an “idiot”, saying the number of migrants crossing the English Channel has fallen because of politics, not because of for bad weather.

    Mr Farage criticized the Home Secretary for calling this Christmas the first holiday in five years in which no migrants crossed the border, apparently ignoring strong winds and inclement weather.

    But Mr's allies at Cleverley sought to demonstrate that the reduction in crossings by a third was not simply due to weather, but was evidence that government policy was working.

    Mr Farage, the former Brexit Party leader, wrote on social media on Thursday: “You may be called Smart, but you are clearly an idiot. I'm near Dover right now and the wind is blowing at 50mph. That's why there are no crossings for migrants.”

    However, Home Office sources pointed to data showing that last year there were almost the same number of “red days” – when good weather conditions mean boat traffic transitions are likely – last year. There have been 106 so far in 2022 and 102 this year.

    But the number of small ship crossings this year has fallen by a third, with fewer than 30,000 now, compared with 45,774 last year .

    “These are such insignificant numbers that the weather does not explain at all why the number of crossings on small ships has dropped by more than a third this year. It’s too lazy to suggest otherwise,” said a government source.

    The decline is largely due to a 90 per cent drop in the number of Albanians following a return agreement allowing the deportation of Channel migrants from the English Channel to be accelerated. the country has returned to it.

    France's increased patrolling of beaches following a £480 million deal between Rishi Sunak and Emmanuel Macron, the French president, has also reportedly played a role in the reduction in border crossings.

    “While the weather is a variable secondary factor, it is our tireless focus on disrupting smuggling gangs at every opportunity, working with partners across Europe, and our successful campaigns targeting those who want to be smuggled that come here risks their lives , life. savings, not an opportunity to stay,” the source said.

    The source also pointed to the interception of equipment, including substandard boats, unsuitable outboard motors and unsuitable life jackets.

    Data from the Ministry of Internal Affairs cases show that in the last four months of the year there was a sharp decline in the number of migrants crossing the border. September's total fell from 7,964 in 2022 to 4,729 this year, October's total fell to 1,869, a third of last year's 6,900, and November's total fell from 4,082 last year to 1,661 this year.

    In December there were 1,077 migrants crossing the border, compared with 1,744 in the same month last year. There were no small boat crossings on Christmas Eve, Boxing Day or Boxing Day this year, according to the Home Office. This happened for the first time since 2018.

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