Home France Priti Patel set to have crisis meeting with France to crackdown on migrants crossing the Channel #englishheadline #Priti #Patel #set #crisis #meeting #France #crackdown #migrants #crossing #Channel

Priti Patel set to have crisis meeting with France to crackdown on migrants crossing the Channel #englishheadline #Priti #Patel #set #crisis #meeting #France #crackdown #migrants #crossing #Channel

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Britain and France are locked in a worsening row over the migrant crisis after one of Emmanuel Macron’s most senior ministers accused the UK of treating the French government like a ‘punch-ball’.

French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said that ‘Britain is in no position to be giving lessons to us’ after the number of migrants crossing the English Channel hit a new record high last week. 

Mr Darmanin is due to hold talks with his UK counterpart, Home Secretary Priti Patel, this week and he told Cnews television ahead of the meeting that Britain ‘should stop using us as a punch-ball in their domestic politics’. 

A total of 1,185 migrants crossed the Channel last Thursday, eclipsing the previous daily high of 853, with the UK having long accused Paris of failing to do enough to stop the crossings. 

The crossings continued today as more migrants were brought into Dover on a Border Force patrol boat amid reports that a jet-ski recovered at sea by the RNLI had been used in an attempted crossing. 

Mr Darmanin accused British activists of hampering the work of French police and claimed lax UK labour laws are encouraging people to make the dangerous journey. 

‘I will remind my British counterpart that the NGOs that prevent the police and the gendarmerie from working are largely British NGOs with British citizens who are on French soil,’ he said.

Mr Darmanin claimed the UK is reliant on ‘irregular workers employed at low cost’ and if employment laws were tightened then ‘people would no longer be in Calais or Dunkirk’ waiting to make the journey to Britain. 

There have been claims that French inaction to stop the crossings is part of a ‘Brexit punishment strategy’ amid ongoing rows over fishing rights and border rules in Northern Ireland. 

Downing Street said it is ‘wrong to conflate’ the issue of migrant crossings with other issues like Brexit and added: ‘This is about criminal gangs endangering lives.’ 

The escalating row came after shocking photos revealed the squalor of Dunkirk’s ‘New Jungle’ where hundreds of migrants arrive each day. 

Thousands of people are living in shabby tents cramped together at the Grande Synthe camp, with rubbish and debris strewn between them. 

It appears to be based at an industrial unit with the setting providing very little protection from the elements to the migrants. 

Set up this year on the edge of Dunkirk, the Grande Synthe migrant camp is close to favoured launch sites and is run ruthlessly by armed traffickers

Migrant crossings across the English Channel continued today as more people were brought into Dover on a Border Force patrol boat amid reports that a jet-ski recovered at sea by the RNLI had been used in an attempted crossing

Migrant crossings across the English Channel continued today as more people were brought into Dover on a Border Force patrol boat amid reports that a jet-ski recovered at sea by the RNLI had been used in an attempted crossing

French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said that 'Britain is in no position to be giving lessons to us' after the number of migrants crossing the English Channel hit a new record high last week

French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said that ‘Britain is in no position to be giving lessons to us’ after the number of migrants crossing the English Channel hit a new record high last week

The migrants call the camp the New Jungle after the infamous shanty town housing 8,000 in Calais was pulled down by the French government several years ago

The migrants call the camp the New Jungle after the infamous shanty town housing 8,000 in Calais was pulled down by the French government several years ago

Police operation in the Jungle of Grande-Synthe in March, when the camp numbered in the hundreds and not the thousands

Police operation in the Jungle of Grande-Synthe in March, when the camp numbered in the hundreds and not the thousands

There is no electricity and the mud is ankle deep when it rains. There are too few latrines for a population that grows daily, with hundreds arriving every day, and charity vans provide food once a day.

Set up this year on the edge of Dunkirk, it is close to favoured launch sites and is run ruthlessly by armed traffickers. Two weeks ago, an African was shot four times in a row over the price of a crossing. 

The first Afghans fleeing the Taliban‘s takeover have arrived, as have those slipping over the border between Belarus and Poland. They were driven there, sources said, by British traffickers in cars with UK registration plates which picked them up in Poland and made a 22-hour journey to northern France. 

The migrants call the camp the New Jungle after the infamous shanty town housing 8,000 in Calais was pulled down by the French government several years ago. 

The Home Secretary will meet Mr Darmanin after a record 1,185 migrants arrived on Thursday – smashing the previous daily high of 853 set just eight days earlier. 

However, the Government fears that there will be no tougher action from Mr Macron and the situation could even get ‘worse’ as he focuses on the looming presidential elections.

There are claims that the lack of enforcement on the French coast – which saw just 99 migrants intercepted on Thursday out of 1,284 who tried to reach the UK – is part of a ‘Brexit punishment strategy’ and has become linked to rows over fishing and Northern Ireland.  

The total to have reached British shores since the start of the year stands at more than 23,500 – nearly three times the 8,400 in the whole of 2020. 

But one Government source told the Times that ministers are bleak about the prospects of tougher action by France.

‘They don’t think the French are going to give them anything at all,’ the source said. 

‘With the elections coming up they think it will only get worse. They think it’s part of Macron’s Brexit punishment strategy.’

A Home Office source added: ‘We’re just part of a much bigger issue with the election, Northern Ireland and fishing. They don’t want to be using French taxpayers’ money ahead of the election.’

The migrants call the camp the New Jungle after the infamous shanty town housing 8,000 in Calais was pulled down by the French government several years ago.

The migrants call the camp the New Jungle after the infamous shanty town housing 8,000 in Calais was pulled down by the French government several years ago.

Priti Patel is set to have crisis meetings with France this week in a bid to speed up plans to intercept every migrant that crosses the Channel

Mr Johnson has hit out at Emmanuel Macron (pictured) for not policing French beaches, arguing it is difficult for UK Border Force to turn migrants back safely at sea

Priti Patel is set to have crisis meetings with France this week in a bid to speed up plans to intercept every migrant that crosses the Channel

Set up this year on the edge of Dunkirk, the new camp is close to favoured launch sites and is run ruthlessly by armed traffickers. Two weeks ago, an African was shot four times in a row over the price of a crossing.

The first Afghans fleeing the Taliban‘s takeover have arrived, as have those slipping over the border between Belarus and Poland. 

Even French armed police are reluctant to enter the camp for fear a confrontation with the traffickers, and the French government turns a blind eye.

‘The French know conditions are appalling,’ said an informant inside the camp. ‘They are deliberately creating a hostile environment so migrants want to leave and get on Channel boats. 

‘It has become a push factor for reaching Britain along with dreams of hotels and benefits which are not given by the French.’

Hundreds arrive every few days. One Afghan blagged his way on to a French military plane out of Kabul by using a British Border Force ID card he was given when he lived in Birmingham five years ago. ‘I dream of getting back into the UK,’ he told French TV as he stood on the beach. 

Hundreds are marshalled out to the beaches for night-time Channel crossings organised by traffickers. The source said: ‘It is a military operation run ruthlessly.’

There are five zones in the camp. Some house different nationalities, another is for children and mothers – and there is a special one for the wealthiest, the VIP Zone, for migrants with at least £6,000.

The source added: ‘They are predominantly Vietnamese, Chinese and Albanians. They are put at the front of the queue and get the safest and fastest boats.’

Others are less lucky. Destitute Africans who have been in France for years languish here as they barter over the price of a place on a rickety vessel.

Last week Boris Johnson urged Mr Macron to ‘close off the door’ to migrants entering French territory and attempting perilous Channel crossings.

This month, the Home Office sent the first instalments of a £54million deal with France to fund beach patrols – but migrant numbers have since soared.

Ms Patel stressed that the migrant crisis was a ‘shared problem’ with France, but Mr Macron’s government is understood to oppose the introduction of her ‘pushback’ tactic to intercept small boats and direct them back to the French coast.

Ms Patel said: ‘Last week showed we must do more. I want to go further and faster, and that’s why I will be holding talks with Gerald Darmanin this week.’

Border Force has been resisting requests to use the ‘pushback’ strategy, citing objections such as weather and size of boats being intercepted. 

The PCS union representing border guards said last night it was poised to seek a judicial review into pushback tactics.

Border officers patrolling on jet skis off the coast of Kent earlier this month

Border officers patrolling on jet skis off the coast of Kent earlier this month   

Boris Johnson has urged France to step up efforts to prevent migrants from sailing across the English Channel to reach the UK

Boris Johnson has urged France to step up efforts to prevent migrants from sailing across the English Channel to reach the UK

Spokesman Kevin Mills said some members had ‘concerns about safety and if it is legal’, adding: ‘If someone dies, it won’t be Priti Patel taking the body out of the water.’ It came as it emerged the outgoing head of Border Force, Paul Lincoln, described ‘bloody borders’ as ‘a pain in the bloody a***’ during a leaving speech.

However, Dover MP Natalie Elphicke said: ‘Criminal gangs have been running rings around the French authorities for too long. It’s important to hear France’s plan to turn the tables on the people traffickers, bring an end to the migrant crisis and prevent further loss of life in the Channel.’

Former security minister Sir John Hayes urged the Government to press on with pushback and ‘process all asylum applications offshore’. He said this had a ‘dramatic effect’ when introduced by Australia’s controversial Operation Sovereign Borders in 2013.

Tory MP Andrew Bridgen added: ‘If they knew they were going to be turned around immediately and sent back to France, it would take a week and it would stop.’

Dan O’Mahoney, the Home Office’s Clandestine Channel Threat Commander, said: ‘Migrants are putting their lives at risk and it is vital we do everything we can to prevent them and break the business model of the criminal gangs exploiting people.’ 

Border Force has been seen off Dover practicing the pushback tactics, involving three jet skis surrounding a migrant boat and directing it back to France.  

According to guidance, the tactic can only be used in the Channel sections which are 1.8 miles wide and a commander can only agree to the procedure if it is confirmed that a French navy or rescue boat can escort the boat back.

Other safety rules must also be met including weather, sea conditions, number of migrants and size of the boat.  

In Australia and Greece, when similar tactics were used, migrants threatened to jump overboard in a bid to force authorities to rescue them.    



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#Priti #Patel #set #crisis #meeting #France #crackdown #migrants #crossing #Channel

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