France today called off talks with Britain over the deaths of 27 asylum seekers in a dinghy as Paris threw its toys out of the pram after Boris Johnson wrote to Emmanuel Macron with a five-point plan to prevent another tragedy in the Channel.
French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin has cancelled a Sunday meeting with his UK counterpart Priti Patel following criticism by Mr Johnson on its handling of the crisis and the lax patrolling of beaches after gendarmes were seen doing nothing as migrants launched their boats.
A spokesman for Mr Darmanin said: ‘We consider Boris Johnson’s public letter unacceptable and in opposition with discussions between counterparts. As a consequence, Priti Patel is not invited anymore to the meeting on Sunday.’
British MPs were furious at the decision. Jacob Young, Tory backbencher, tweeted that the French government’s ridiculous behavior seemed to have forgotten that 27 people were killed crossing the Channel two days earlier. The solution is simple: Stop all boats
Mr Johnson last night told Monsieur Macron that he risks another Channel tragedy unless he stops blocking UK help to patrol French beaches. The PM addressed the French president in a dramatic gesture to offer the services of hundreds of British personnel for the prevention of desperate migrants taking to the sea.
This letter led to Paris pulling the plug on talks amid poor post-Brexit relations between the two countries and the difficulties they may face working together to curb the flow of migrants after 27 people drowned trying to reach British shores on Wednesday.
Seventeen men, seven women – one of whom was pregnant – and three teenagers died on when their dinghy deflated in the Channel, one of many such risky journeys attempted in small, flimsy and overloaded boats laid on by people traffickers charging £3,000 for a one way ticket to Kent.
France and Britain already have differences over post-Brexit rules on trade and fishing rights. These deaths further aggravated their animosity. Boris Johnson, Prime Minister of France, claimed France is to blame. Mr Darmanin, on the other hand accuses Britain of “bad immigration management”.
If Border Force personnel are found unacceptable, the Prime Minister suggested that private security personnel be paid for to carry out the joint patrols. He proposed that joint maritime patrols be conducted, so Border Force cutters could operate in French waterways.
He suggested increased intelligence sharing and more sophisticated technology to spot migrants and prevent them from leaving France.
He also urged Paris for a “returns agreement” that would permit the UK to send migrants to France. This would break the business model of the traffickers.
Yesterday, officials from the Home Office travelled to France ahead of today’s talks with France’s interior ministry. Yesterday, Priti Patel, Home Secretary, stated that Mr Macron has the power to “end this now”. However, Sunday’s cr
After the deaths of 27 migrants while crossing the Channel, the Prime Minster, 57, said that he called for the French President to return the migrants who have crossed the ‘dangerous’ Channel.
France has so far stubbornly refused to let British law enforcement officers operate on French soil. It claimed it would infringe French sovereignty. Following the death of 27 migrants on Wednesday, Macron may be able to relax after his dinghy burst during a Channel crossing.
As a group of 40 migrants board an inflatable boat, they depart the northern coast of France in order to cross the English Channel near Wimereux. This was November 24, 2021.
To protest the government’s immigrant policy, hundreds gathered in Westminster to demand that the Channel be closed.
A banner that lists the names of those who died crossing the La Manche canal in 1999, is gathered by people at Parc de Richelieu, Calais (France), 25 November 2021.
Priti Patel, Home Secretary, stated that there’s no quick solution to the problem of migrants who cross the Channel on small boats. France required new assistance.
French anger at the PM’s 5-point plan.
1. French border force officials will assist in patrolling beaches and other roads. If France rejects this, the UK may fund private security.
2. Let the UK allow migrants to cross the Channel to France directly and “break the business model criminal gangs”.
3. Border Force cutters will be used to patrol French coast waters. French Navy could be allowed to enter UK waters in joint missions
4. UK could finance the deployment of radar and ground sensors in northern France for detection of suspicious activity at remote beaches. PM suggested that intelligence-sharing be ‘deepened’ regarding the operation of smuggling rings.
5. PM suggested that the Channel be used to exchange intelligence with British surveillance aircraft to assist French forces in intercepting and stopping smuggling more efficiently
Downing Street indicated that Mr Macron could back down on British soldiers or police on French soil. In a desperate attempt to stop a repetition of Wednesday’s tragedy, British boots may be on France’s northern shores as soon as Monday.
France is resisting any British law enforcement officer operating on French soil. It claims it would be a violation of French sovereignty.
Yesterday, the government of Mr Macron continued to oppose the move and warned Johnson against using the crisis for political purposes.
Sources within the government claimed that 27 migrants had drowned in the dreadful tragedy’ and the French president needed to withdraw.
These comments come as horrific new details emerge about Wednesday’s tragedy. French authorities originally stated that the death count was 31. But, they later increased it to 27.
One migrant feared to be among the dead had phoned a friend to say: ‘It’s not good, the engine isn’t powerful enough – I don’t know if we’re going to make it.’ Mohammad Aziz (31), has been missing since that frantic phone call.
A series of developments has occurred:
- Many of those migrants who were feared to drown are thought to have traveled to France via the new controversial Belarus route.
- Two boys and one girl were identified as the dead; seven women including an expecting mother, and 17 men were also confirmed to be among them.
- Yesterday, a body was discovered on the Sangatte beach, west of Calais. There are fears that it may be the 28th victim.
- A transcript of the mayday call – made by a French coastguard during the rescue operation – revealed it had implored ‘all ships in the area’ to help;
- It was believed that more than 250 migrants reached Britain the day before the tragedy. Another 50 arrived yesterday. That brings the total to 26,000 since the beginning of the year.
- Five French men who were detained in France for the murders were said to be innocent of any connection to the tragedy. The arrests were made despite France’s Interior Minister claiming that they had been ‘directly’ involved.
- The UK’s asylum claims have reached their highest point in nearly twenty years.
- Tory MPs suggested that migrants be immediately sent back to France by the Tory Party
Mr Johnson and Mr Macron spoke on Wednesday night, with the Elysée later briefing that the French president had asked the PM ‘to refrain from exploiting a tragic situation for political ends’.
According to government sources, there have been positive noises from Paris regarding the possibility of a new arrangement in the fight against the crisis.
According to one, “After the terrible catastrophe, it seems that there is a new positive trend in politics.” According to the sounds we’re hearing, the French are showing signs of movement. Macron, yesterday, said that the UK would provide ‘extra support’ in case of any further decline.
Miss Patel encouraged Mr Macron to accept the PM’s offer. She stated that ‘we must deploy every tool we have to save lives, to prevent loss of life’.
The Channel sank Wednesday afternoon and many migrants who were feared to drown are thought to have traveled to France by the new controversial route through Belarus. There were two girls and a boy, and seven women (including an expecting mother), who died. 17 men also perished.
Johnson released a 5-point emergency plan, which consisted of joint patrols with France in order to prevent more tragedy. Pictured: Protest outside Home Office on Thursday
A series of developments has occurred:
French police stretcher unidentified victim found off Sangatte beaches. The incident occurred the same day as 27 migrants were killed when their dinghy burst while they tried to cross the English Channel.
MailOnline spoke to migrants in Calais, who said they were more determined than ever before to get to the UK. They claim that 50 migrants are still crossing the Channel from France today. Pictured: A protestor holding a placard stating “no one illegal” outside the Home Office
As people remember the 27 migrants killed crossing the English Channel in their dinghy, a person light a candle at Richelieu Park, Dunkerque (France), November 25, 2021