Channel tragedy: Why are so many migrants crossing in small boats?
France has cancelled an emergency meeting with Priti Patel in Calais aimed at addressing the migration crisis, blaming an “unacceptable” letter sent by Boris Johnson to Emmanuel Macron after 27 people drowned trying to reach the UK.
Labelling the letter containing the chief minister’s proposals to stem Channel crossings “counter to our discussions between partners”, French interior minister Gerald Darmanin said that Ms Patel was “no longer invited” to Sunday’s summit with European ministers.
Mr Johnson had urged the French president to allow joint patrols on French beaches and more airborne surveillance, while Downing Street rejected campaigners’ pleas for more safe, legal routes for people to seek asylum, prompting accusations that ministers are effectively “complicit with the people-smugglers”.
Priti Patel ‘not invited any more’ to Calais summit, France says
Here’s more on our headline story this morning – France’s inflammatory move to fragment a meeting between Priti Patel and interior minister Gerald Darmanin in Calais.
The chief minister had set out his proposals in a public letter to Emmanuel Macron on Thursday, telling the French president that “we must go further and faster, together” and calling for joint patrols to prevent more boats from leaving French beaches, joint or reciprocal maritime patrols in each other’s territorial waters, and airborne surveillance by manned flights and drones.
Mr Johnson also suggested there could be immediate work on a bilateral returns agreement with France, to allow migrants to be sent back across the Channel, alongside talks to establish a UK-EU returns agreement.
But the French interior minister accused Britain of “bad immigration management”, and France has criticised UK government moves aimed at pushing back boats in the English Channel.
My colleague Adam Forrest has the details of this breaking story here:
Andy Gregory26 November 2021 08:11
Good morning, and welcome to The Independent’s live coverage of UK politics as ministers grapple with how to stem dangerous Channel crossings after 27 people died in a dinghy accident.
Andy Gregory26 November 2021 07:33
Click: See details