Another 75 migrants stream into Dover in a day as people smugglers urge hundreds to make crossing

Another 75 migrants streamed into Dover today as people smugglers urge hundreds to make the Channel crossing now before Brexit ‘closes the door’.

Pictures show men wearing masks and lifejackets being brought into the Kent port of Dover on a Border Force speedboat.

The Coastguard said it was dealing with ‘multiple incidents’, though an official figure is not yet known.

So far this year, 3,510 migrants have made the illegal crossing from France, compared to around 1,850 in 2019.  

Border Force officials seen this afternoon after an estimated 75 migrants arrived at the Kent coastline. Footage shows some of the men being towed ashore at the western docks in Dover

A Border Force vessel brings a group of men thought to be migrants and wearing face masks into Dover, Kent, following a number of small boat incidents in the Channel this morning

A Border Force vessel brings a group of men thought to be migrants and wearing face masks into Dover, Kent, following a number of small boat incidents in the Channel this morning

Video stills of suspected migrants being brought into Dover today by Border Force officials on another busy day for crossings. The Coastguard said it was dealing with 'multiple incidents'

Video stills of suspected migrants being brought into Dover today by Border Force officials on another busy day for crossings. The Coastguard said it was dealing with ‘multiple incidents’

Border Force sent out vessels Seeker and Hunter from Dover to deal with the small boats crossing the busiest shipping lane in the world.

It is understood one boat was carrying around 50 people including men, women, children and elderly migrants. 

The suspected migrants were then seen boarding a coach at the port, supervised by officials in yellow vests.

Numbers of small boats making the perilous journey have spiked in recent weeks during favourable weather.

A search and rescue operation was launched off the coast of Kent today in response to ‘multiple incidents’, the coastguard said.

A spokesperson added: ‘We are committed to safeguarding life around the seas and coastal areas of this country.

‘HM Coastguard is only concerned with preservation of life, rescuing those in trouble and bringing them safely back to shore, where they will be handed over to the relevant partner emergency services or authorities.’

Border Force vessels Seeker and Hunter have also been active in the Channel today.

Border Force officers escort a group of men thought to be migrants and wearing face masks onto a waiting bus after they were brought into Dover, Kent, earlier this morning

Border Force officers escort a group of men thought to be migrants and wearing face masks onto a waiting bus after they were brought into Dover, Kent, earlier this morning

A Border Force vessel brings a group of men thought to be migrants into Dover, Kent, following a number of small boat incidents in The Channel today

A Border Force vessel brings a group of men thought to be migrants into Dover, Kent, following a number of small boat incidents in The Channel today

A video still of suspected migrants being brought into Dover by Border Force officials today. It is understood one boat was carrying around 50 people

A video still of suspected migrants being brought into Dover by Border Force officials today. It is understood one boat was carrying around 50 people

A video still of suspected migrants being brought into Dover today. So far this year, 3,510 refugees have made the illegal crossing from France, compared to around 1,850 in 2019

A video still of suspected migrants being brought into Dover today. So far this year, 3,510 refugees have made the illegal crossing from France, compared to around 1,850 in 2019

Footage aired on Good Morning Britain on Tuesday showed a packed boat headed towards the UK.

At one point, one of the migrants aboard was seen bailing out water as the small inflatable boat made its way across the Channel.

On Sunday a former Border Force chief said that a failure by the UK to reach a new agreement with France on how to deal with migrant crossings could lead to numbers reaching ‘crisis’ levels.

Tony Smith said the UK and France need to agree a treaty with a joint patrol whereby migrants picked up in the Channel can be returned to France to have asylum claims considered there.

A Coastguard spokesman said: ‘HM Coastguard is today coordinating search and rescue responses to multiple incidents off Kent, working with Border Force and other partners.’ 

A group of people thought to be migrants being brought into Dover today by Border Force officials. Numbers of small boats making the journey have spiked in recent weeks

A group of people thought to be migrants being brought into Dover today by Border Force officials. Numbers of small boats making the journey have spiked in recent weeks

One of the small dinghies, pictured. Border Force vessels Seeker and Hunter have also been active in the Channel today

One of the small dinghies, pictured. Border Force vessels Seeker and Hunter have also been active in the Channel today

The Home Office said: ‘Border Force is currently dealing with ongoing small boat incidents off the Kent coast. Further details will be provided after the initial response and once the situation has been resolved.’

The latest life-risking Channel crossings – the second of this month – follow a record-breaking 1,075 refugees who made it to Kent in July.

And they come after a migrant was airlifted to hospital with hypothermia on Sunday after reaching Britain on a small boat.

The Sudanese man was picked up off Ramsgate, Kent, at 10.30am after making the perilous 21-mile journey across the Channel with two others.

He was flown to the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford by the Coastguard’s search and rescue helicopter – which plucked him from a lifeboat in the sea. 

Last Thursday, a single-day record of 202 people in 20 boats landed.

It follows the general secretary of the Immigration Service Union, Lucy Moreton, saying earlier this year that people smugglers and traffickers are using Brexit as a ‘driver’ to encourage people to make the crossing.

Border Force officials pictured at the port of Dover in Kent earlier today. It comes after a migrant was airlifted to hospital on Sunday after reaching the UK on a small boat

Border Force officials pictured at the port of Dover in Kent earlier today. It comes after a migrant was airlifted to hospital on Sunday after reaching the UK on a small boat

Border Force officers escort a group of men thought to be migrants onto a waiting bus after they were brought into Dover, Kent, earlier this morning

Border Force officers escort a group of men thought to be migrants onto a waiting bus after they were brought into Dover, Kent, earlier this morning

The suspected migrants were seen boarding a coach at the port, pictured above, supervised by Border Force officials in yellow vests

The suspected migrants were seen boarding a coach at the port, pictured above, supervised by Border Force officials in yellow vests

One of the small boats, pictured. The latest life-risking Channel crossings - the second of this month - follow a record-breaking 1,075 refugees who made it to Kent in July

One of the small boats, pictured. The latest life-risking Channel crossings – the second of this month – follow a record-breaking 1,075 refugees who made it to Kent in July

She told BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme in January: ‘One of the drivers, we’re being told, is that people smugglers and traffickers are telling these folk that after Brexit Britain will close in some way. 

‘In practice, of course, this is illegal anyway, and it will be as illegal on 31 January as it is on 1 February. Brexit doesn’t make a difference, but we do know that the criminals are using this to try to drive more business.’

Chris Philp, the Minister for Immigration Compliance and the Courts, said: ‘We are seeing an unacceptable number of illegal small boat crossings. Migrants continue to flock to Calais to make these illegal crossings.

‘The French Government must urgently review its handling of this situation and take tougher action, including stronger enforcement measures and adopting interceptions at sea and the direct return of boats.

‘We are pressing the French authorities to adopt these measures. Our Government continues to go after the criminals who facilitate these crossings and we are returning illegal migrants who have come to the UK in this way.’

Thursday’s record-breaking day of Channel crossings 

– At around 3.26am, Border Force intercepted a vessel which was carrying a group of 12 males and four females who said they were Yemeni, Iranian, Sudanese and Iraqi nationals.

– At around 3.26am, Border Force intercepted a vessel which was carrying a group of 14 males who said they were Eritrean and Sudanese nationals.

– At around 3.26am, Border Force intercepted a vessel which was carrying a group of 17 males and one female who said they were Yemini, Syrian, Palestinian and Iranian nationals.

– At around 4.01am, Border Force intercepted a vessel which was carrying a group of 11 males and two females who said they were Kuwaiti, Egyptian, Iraqi and Iranian nationals.

– At around 4.50am, Border Force intercepted a vessel which was carrying a group of five males who said they were Sudanese nationals.

– At around 5.20am, Border Force intercepted a vessel which was carrying a group of eight males who said they were Sudanese nationals.

– At around 6.40am, Border Force intercepted a vessel which was carrying a group of 11 males and six females who said they were Iraqi, Kuwaiti and Iranian nationals.

– At around 8.30am, Border Force intercepted a vessel which was carrying a group of 12 males who said they were Iraqi and Kuwaiti nationals.

– At an unspecified time, Border Force intercepted a vessel which was carrying a group of nine males who said they were Sudanese and Chad nationals.

– At around 8.40am, Border Force intercepted a vessel which was carrying a group of 14 males and two women who said they were Kuwaiti, Iraqi, Iranian and Indian nationals.

– At around 8.45am, Border Force intercepted a vessel which was carrying a group of 10 males and one female who said they were Eritrean, Sudanese, Chad and Egyptian nationals.

– At an unspecified time, Border Force intercepted a vessel which was carrying a group of four males who said they were Sudanese and Mali nationals.

– At an unspecified time, Border Force intercepted a vessel which was carrying a group of three males who said they were Sudanese nationals.

– At an unspecified time, Border Force intercepted a vessel which was carrying a group of eight males.

– At an unspecified time, Border Force intercepted a vessel which was carrying a group of 10 males who said they were Sudanese nationals.

– At an unspecified time, Border Force intercepted a vessel which was carrying a group of 10 males who said they were Sudanese nationals.

– At an unspecified time, Border Force intercepted a vessel which was carrying a group of seven males and seven females who said they were Iraqi nationals.

– At an unspecified time, Border Force intercepted a vessel which was carrying a group of four Iranian males.

– At around 3.24pm, Border Force intercepted a vessel which was carrying a group of four Sudanese males.

– At an unspecified time, Border Force intercepted a vessel which was carrying a group of six males who said they were Sudanese and Eritrean.

Man beaten by gang for asking them to wear masks in France

Man is brutally beaten with baseball bats by a gang of four men after asking them to wear masks when they entered a French laundrette

  • The attack happened in Soisy-sous-Montmorency, a town north of Paris  
  • Victim, who asked to be named Augustin M., was attacked in a launderette
  • He asked one of his attackers to put on a mask but he refused and turned angry
  • A verbal argument broke out, and a few minutes later one of the men involved returned with three friends, two of whom brandished baseball bats

A father-of-two feared he would be killed after being knocked unconscious by two men brandishing baseball bats after asking one of them to wear a face mask in a laundry in France.

The shocking attack is the latest in a series of ‘mask rage’ assaults that have already claimed the life of a bus driver during the Coronavirus pandemic.

It was in Soisy-sous-Montmorency, a commuter town north of Paris, that the 44-year-old father was attacked.

Asked to be identified only as Augustin M., he said he had approached one of his attackers on Sunday afternoon because he was worried about the spread of Covid-19.

Pictured: The attackers, carrying bats, return to the launderette in Soisy-sous-Montmorency to savagely beat Augustin M. 

Both men proceed to repeatedly strike Augustin with bats until he falls to the ground in Soisy-sous-Montmorency

Both men proceed to repeatedly strike Augustin with bats until he falls to the ground in Soisy-sous-Montmorency

Augustin falls to the ground but the men continue to batter the 44-year-old father-of-two

Augustin falls to the ground but the men continue to batter the 44-year-old father-of-two  

‘I asked him to put on his mask, but he refused,’ said Augustin, who was in a laundry in a Lidl supermarket car park. ‘The situation became tense.’

A verbal argument broke out, and a few minutes later one of the men involved returned with three friends, two of whom brandished baseball bats.

‘I was alone in the laundry room and this time two other men joined them,’ said Augustin.

‘They beat me up with baseball bats and I fell to the ground. They continued to hit me while I was on the ground and I passed out for a few minutes.’

Surveillance video given to Le Parisien newspaper and then posted online shows Augustin being hit repeatedly before he collapses on the floor.

The men continue to strike Augustin even as he lies motionless on the floor of the launderette in Soisy-sous-Montmorency, a commuter town north of Paris

The men continue to strike Augustin even as he lies motionless on the floor of the launderette in Soisy-sous-Montmorency, a commuter town north of Paris 

After leaving the launderette, one of the men returns to deliver a final blow to the victim

After leaving the launderette, one of the men returns to deliver a final blow to the victim

His unidentified attackers then calmly left the laundry, while Augustin later filed a complaint to police for ‘aggravated violence’.

He suffered serious injuries led to him having to take six days off work, telling detectives that ‘I could have been killed!’

He was rushed to intensive care at the nearby Simone-Veil hospital and was diagnosed with a head trauma injury and severe bruising on the arms and legs.

Referring to his children, Augustin said: ‘They saw me bleeding on the ground. They are only five and seven years old and they are traumatised.’

In July, bus driver Philippe Monguillot was beaten to death in an attack over face masks in the south west town of Bayonne.

Mr Monguillot, 59 and a father-of-three, was repeatedly punch and kicked by a group of men on Sunday July 5 while working on a Tram’bus.

Philippe Monguillot (pictured with his wife Veronique Monguillot), 59, was beaten by two passengers after he tried to enforce coronavirus rules on his bus in Bayonne, France, on Sunday

Philippe Monguillot (pictured with his wife Veronique Monguillot), 59, was beaten by two passengers after he tried to enforce coronavirus rules on his bus in Bayonne, France, on Sunday

He was found unconscious by emergency services before being pronounced brain dead, and then dying in hospital a few days later. T

Two unidentified men have seen been charged with attempted murder, while two others have been charged with failing to help a person in danger, and a fifth has been charged with attempting to hide a suspect.

Face masks are currently compulsory on all public transport in France, and in all indoor public spaces.

GMB reporter Jonathan Swain pursues ten migrants as they cross Channel

This is the shocking moment Good Morning Britain reporter Jonathan Swain followed ten migrants as they crossed the Channel – as experts warned they are being told by smugglers to cross now before Brexit is finalised.

The small, packed boat was sitting dangerously low in the sea as one man on board bailed out water, while in the distance a French coastguard vessel could be seen escorting it into British waters.

Mr Swain told GMB viewers: ‘That is actually shadowing a migrant dinghy all the way from the French coast, so no attempt to intercept it or turn it round to France.’

French officials claim they are unable to lawfully intercept boats in the Channel under maritime laws, prompting anger from Home Secretary Priti Patel. 

Jonathan Swain on today’s Good Morning Britain with the migrant boat in the background

The extraordinary incident happened on GMB this morning when Jonathan Swain was reporting from the Channel on migrant crossings. 

More than 3,500 people have crossed the Channel so far this year, including 202 in 20 boats last Thursday, a record for UK Border Force. 

As the camera panned towards the boat, Mr Swain said: ‘I just want to show you something that’s happening right now, this is symptomatic of the problem, we’ve just zoomed the camera in, that is the French coastguard you can see there just in the distance, we are not allowed to get any closer there is an exclusion zone around.

‘What they are doing (pan the camera round to the left) in the distance is a UK border Force boat called seeker, that is now waiting for the migrant boat to be dropped off effectively by the French coastguard. Then UK Border Force will take those migrants back to Dover.’

The reporter shouted over at the ten men in the boat to ask if they were ‘ok’ and several of them replied with a thumbs up.

Mr Swain told GMB viewers: ‘There are strict rules here, we can’t intervene at this stage… we’re going to keep an eye on this and if they get into further distress then we have to then perhaps intervene.’

He later said it was fourth or fifth boat they’ve overheard on the radio of migrants who have made the crossing this morning. 

Migrants are being told by people smugglers it is ‘now or never’ to cross the Channel because the UK’s borders will close next year when it is finally out to the EU, it is claimed. 

This has fuelled a rise in illegal crossings with desperate people paying up to £6,000 a time to join one of the risky voyages. 

Lucy Moreton, professional officer at the Immigration Services Union, told The Times: ‘We know people smugglers are telling migrants that once Britain leaves the EU this will stop. 

‘This is used by them to gee up people to make the journey in case they miss out. Of course, it is not true. They are just saying it to encourage people to get over now.’ 

The small, packed boat was sitting dangerously low in the Channel as one man on board bailed out water, while in the distance a French coastguard vessel could be seen escorting it into English waters

The small, packed boat was sitting dangerously low in the Channel as one man on board bailed out water, while in the distance a French coastguard vessel could be seen escorting it into English waters

Her warning came as former Border Force director Tony Smith said crossings are approaching ‘crisis’ levels and are on the brink of repeating the asylum crisis of the early 2000s.

He called for urgent action to allow claims for asylum in the UK to be processed on French soil – with only those who approved in advance allowed to enter this country.

Mr Smith said if daily arrivals continue to grow ‘you’re going to start getting up to the numbers that actually were indeed a crisis almost 20 years ago’.

He added: ‘I do worry that if we can’t get a new agreement with the French on returns we’re not going to be able to stop this and we could see numbers of the scale of which we’ve seen in years gone by.’

Mr Smith said the UK and France need to agree joint patrols which would intercept migrants in the Channel and return them to France to have asylum claims considered there.

Such an approach would be a new departure and would mirror the UK Border passport checks that take place in France and other countries for legitimate travellers, known as ‘juxtaposed controls’.

However, EU treaties set out that asylum should be claimed in the first safe country reached by a migrant – in this case, France.

And Mr Smith’s proposal could require the UK and France agreeing to operate a joint asylum policy, which would be controversial.

The French Coastguard vessel that was escorting the boat into UK waters, where Border Force were waiting

The French Coastguard vessel that was escorting the boat into UK waters, where Border Force were waiting 

‘What I’m advocating is that we need to try as best we can to replicate the juxtaposed controls for legitimate applicants in the same way as for illegitimate applicants,’ he said.

‘If they want to come to the UK they need to make their case on the French side, and if they are found in the waterways or even make it as far as Dover we say ‘I’m sorry but you go back there and that’s where you will be interviewed and processed, on the French side’.’ 

He said the current situation was putting lives at risk and ‘fuelling the smuggling supply chains’.

The crisis in the early 2000s, when David Blunkett was home secretary, saw thousands of migrants gather at Sangatte, a Red Cross holding camp a mile from the Eurotunnel entrance.

Mr Blunkett agreed a series of deals with Paris to combat the problem and have Sangatte bulldozed, thanks to fruitful collaboration with his counterpart Nicolas Sarkozy, who went on to be French President.

Current numbers are rocketing despite Home Secretary Priti Patel’s promise, made last October, that she would virtually eliminate crossings by now.

Priti Patel (pictured on July 30 on a visit to the headquarters of North Yorkshire Police) said she wants ‘stronger enforcement’ on the other side of the Channel

Priti Patel (pictured on July 30 on a visit to the headquarters of North Yorkshire Police) said she wants ‘stronger enforcement’ on the other side of the Channel

Last month the Mail reported how the Royal Navy has been testing the use of nets to stop illegal boats in the Channel.

Miss Patel said she wants ‘stronger enforcement’ on the other side of the Channel and was working to persuade the French government to ‘show willing’ and allow migrant boats to be turned back.

‘I’ve had some very, very – I think it’s fair to say – difficult discussions with my French counterpart even looking at interceptions at sea because currently the French authorities are not intercepting boats at sea,’ Miss Patel told MPs.

‘A lot of this is governed by maritime laws and the French authorities’ interpretations of what they can and can’t do at sea.’

Home Office officials hope they can strike a deal with new French interior minister Gérald Darmanin, appointed last month.

Last weekend, a migrant was airlifted to hospital suffering from hypothermia after reaching Britain on a small boat.

The man, who gave his nationality as Sudanese, was picked up off Ramsgate, Kent, on Sunday morning after making the perilous 21-mile journey across the Channel with two others.

He was flown to the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford by the Coastguard’s search and rescue helicopter – which plucked him from a lifeboat at sea. 

The USA is the top destination for Britons looking to move abroad followed by Canada and Spain

America is the top expat destination for Britons looking to move abroad, a study has revealed.

The contenders were the United Nation’s ten most popular destinations among UK expats – Australia, USA, Canada, Spain, Ireland, New Zealand, France, South Africa, Germany and Italy. And 15 key ‘liveability’ characteristics that define a popular expat destination were analysed for each country.

The USA comes top with a score of 9.42 out of a possible 15, followed by Canada with a score of 9.27, then Spain with a score of 9.02. France rounds off the top ten with the lowest total score of 6.76 out of 15.

A new study has revealed that the USA is the top destination for Britons looking to move abroad

Canada is ranked as the second-best place for Britons to move to. Pictured is the city of Vancouver

Canada is ranked as the second-best place for Britons to move to. Pictured is the city of Vancouver

The 15 liveability categories analysed in the study, by door-to-door luggage delivery service Send My Bag – were cost of living, GDP per capita, happiness, average flight time to the UK, unemployment rate, average annual wage, average house price, weather, crime, pollution, cost of rent, difficulty of language, cost of McDonald’s meal, cost of a pint, and cost of shipping luggage.

Here’s a breakdown of which countries excel in some of the areas…

Cost of housing

Spain comes third in the ranking overall and is rated as the second cheapest place to buy property. Pictured is the capital, Madrid

Spain comes third in the ranking overall and is rated as the second cheapest place to buy property. Pictured is the capital, Madrid 

LIVEABILITY RANKING OF BEST DESTINATIONS FOR BRITONS TO LIVE IN

1. USA – 9.42 out of 15 

2. Canada – 9.27 

3. Spain – 9.02 

4. Germany – 8.76

5. Ireland – 8.64 

6. Australia – 8.31 

7. New Zealand – 7.53 

8. South Africa – 7.41 

9. Italy – 7.3 

10. France – 6.76 

Source: Send My Bag 

According to the study, South Africa is the cheapest option for both renters and buyers, with house prices costing an average of £676.41 per square metre, while rental prices are 49 per cent less than the UK.

The second cheapest country to buy a house is Spain, Send My Bag says, where house prices are an average of £2,322.41 per square metre. For rent, the second cheapest country is Italy, where researchers found that prices are 26 per cent cheaper than the British market.

The study found the most expensive country to buy a property in is France, where house prices are £5,128 per square metre on average. Ireland, meanwhile, is most costly for rent, with prices 48 per cent higher than the UK average.

Job prospects

When it comes to job opportunities, Germany is rated as the best. It comes fourth overall in the ranking

When it comes to job opportunities, Germany is rated as the best. It comes fourth overall in the ranking 

Looking at employment opportunities in pre-Covid-19 conditions, Send My Bag says Germany has the most job prospects, with an unemployment rate of 3.2 per cent.

This is followed by the USA, where unemployment was at 3.87 per cent when the study was conducted.

Send My Bag says job opportunities in the US also seemed to be the most lucrative, with a purchasing power parity (PPP) of $63,093, ahead of Australia in second with a PPP of $53,349.

The study also revealed that South Africa has the poorest job prospects, with unemployment at 27.32 per cent before the pandemic and the lowest PPP at $13,840. Spain had the second-worst unemployment rate (14.7 per cent) and PPP ($38,761).

Sunshine

Ireland is fifth overall in the ranking, but has the least amount of sunshine out of all 10 countries. Pictured is the town of Cobh

Ireland is fifth overall in the ranking, but has the least amount of sunshine out of all 10 countries. Pictured is the town of Cobh  

For sunseekers, Send My Bag says South Africa is the leading expat destination with an average of 3,141 hours of sunshine per year across major cities nationally.

The study found that Australia and the USA are the second and third sunniest destinations respectively, with an average of 2,836 hours and 2,804 hours of sunshine each year.

Ireland and Germany are the least sunny countries in the top ten list, according to the research, with 1,453 and 1,644 hours of sunshine per year on average each.

Cost of living

Australia is rated as the sixth-best place for Britons to relocate to, although it is third most expensive for cost of living

Australia is rated as the sixth-best place for Britons to relocate to, although it is third most expensive for cost of living 

Overall, the cost of living is cheapest in South Africa, the research reveals, with prices 43 per cent lower than the UK across a range of common products and services.

At 17 per cent cheaper than the UK, Spain is the second cheapest expat destination for cost of living, Send My Bag says.

In comparison, Ireland ranks as the most expensive expat destination at 17 per cent higher than the market rate in the UK, followed by France (15 per cent) and Australia (14 per cent).

The researchers found that South Africa is the cheapest place for a pint (£1.41), followed by Spain (£2.23), and that the cheapest McDonald’s meal can also be found in South Africa (£2.81), followed by Canada (£5.88).

Cost of shipping luggage

Coming bottom of the top 10 ranking is France. However, it is among the cheapest of the 10 destinations for shipping luggage to from the UK

Coming bottom of the top 10 ranking is France. However, it is among the cheapest of the 10 destinations for shipping luggage to from the UK 

The most expensive destinations to ship belongings to from the UK are, perhaps not surprisingly, New Zealand and South Africa at £174 per 30kg, says Send My Bag.

Sending belongings to Ireland is far cheaper – £26.76 per 30kg. And getting them over to Germany and France is similarly reasonable, £31 per 30kg, according to the research.

Adam Ewart, CEO and founder of Send My Bag, said: ‘Since the government announced air bridges allowing unfettered travel to several popular European destinations, consumers have understandably been eager to start travelling again and holiday bookings abroad are on the rise.

A table showing how each of the 10 countries scored in all 15 categories they were assessed on

A table showing how each of the 10 countries scored in all 15 categories they were assessed on 

‘It seems some normality is resuming in air travel and there is renewed hope that Britons may once again be able to move abroad, joining the five million current UK expats worldwide.

‘This inaugural Expat Index aims to help people considering relocating or considering a holiday home, by pitting the top 10 most popular global destinations against each other for the first time.

‘The 15 decisive categories take out some of the subjectivity from the decision, but there are options to suit everyone’s priorities.’

David Walliams soaks up the sun as he relaxes with a mystery female friend

David Walliams soaks up the sun as he relaxes with a mystery female friend during summer break in St Tropez

He has been spending the last few months at home in London

But David Walliams traded the English capital for the south of France during a much needed post-lockdown getaway in St Tropez on Sunday. 

The comedian, 48, was accompanied by a female friend in the French hotspot as he enjoyed the glorious weather from the harbour.  

Sunshine: David Walliams spent his Sunday relaxing on the harbour in St Tropez and was joined by his unknown female friend 

The comedian rocked a silver beard which he has been growing in recent months. 

He decided to keep a low profile in a plain black t-shirt and coffee-coloured shorts, he also had a camera hanging from around his neck to take some snapshots of the picturesque location. 

The versatile star was seen squinting at his phone with his female pal, who appeared surprised at whatever she was looking at on his screen. 

Holiday: The Britain's Got Talent judge, 48, looked at ease on his weekend retreat as he gazed over the harbour in a low-key outfit that comprised of a black t-shirt and brown shorts

Holiday: The Britain’s Got Talent judge, 48, looked at ease on his weekend retreat as he gazed over the harbour in a low-key outfit that comprised of a black t-shirt and brown shorts

At a later point in the day, she perched on the edge of the jetty with David stood alongside her. 

She looked effortlessly chic in floral shorts and a floral crop top as the pair looked completely relaxed during their European break.

The Britain’s Got Talent star is understood to have split from celebrity make-up artist Lou Teasdale, earlier this year following a brief romance, reports The Sun.

A source has claimed the comedian has since reached out to Pussycat Dolls star Ashley Roberts, 38. 

New love? David is reportedly interested in pursuing a new romance with Pussycat Dolls singer Ashley Roberts

New love? David is reportedly interested in pursuing a new romance with Pussycat Dolls singer Ashley Roberts

An insider told the publication: ‘David was really knocked after his painful split from Lara [Stone], but is very much looking for love now. 

‘On paper, they’re a slightly incongruous couple, but they had a real giggle before David decided they weren’t a great fit and called time on things.

‘One of the women he has messaged [since his split] is Ashley. He thinks she’s gorgeous. He’s sent a couple of flirty messages and hopes to take her out once lockdown is over.’

MailOnline have contacted representatives for David and Ashley for further comment.

Hots for Ashley: A source told The Sun about the singer 'He thinks she's gorgeous. He's sent a couple of flirty messages and hopes to take her out once lockdown is over'

Hots for Ashley: A source told The Sun about the singer ‘He thinks she’s gorgeous. He’s sent a couple of flirty messages and hopes to take her out once lockdown is over’