Home U.K France rejects British offer to patrol their beaches over sovereignty fears

France rejects British offer to patrol their beaches over sovereignty fears

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Officials in Paris are said to have rejected the offer amid concerns it represents a breach of French sovereignty. It comes as Home Secretary Priti Patel has confirmed ongoing talks over possible joint British-French sea patrols in the Channel.

The Home Office confirmed that nearly 900 people crossed the Channel in small boats last Saturday, bringing the total this year to 25,565.

The number of migrants crossing the Channel hit a record 4,019 this month, exceeding the previous high of 3,879 in September.

Only five asylum seekers out of over 25,000 who’ve made the treacherous crossing this year have been returned.

Asked about possible joint patrols in the House of Commons, Ms Patel said: “We discuss all options whether naval patrols of alternative patrols.”

She added: “It’s not appropriate for me to comment on responsibilities around other government departments on this but there is work taking place with our counterparts and with other departments in Government.”

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Speaking of the reasons France rejected the offer from London, the Home Secretary had offered France Border Force and Police officers to help bolster “overwhelmed” gendarmes on the European coastline but was told such a scheme would breach French sovereignty.

Meanwhile, senior Tories warned on Monday a failure to tackle the record number of migrants crossing the English Channel could fuel the rise of a new UKIP-style political party.

Nick Thomas-Symonds, Labour Shadow Home Secretary, has accused Ms Patel of “empty rhetoric” over her failure to tackle the problem.

The Home Secretary hit back at his attack, insisting the Tory’s have a long-term plan to address immigration.

Mr Johnson has ordered a Whitehall review into the Channel crossings and is said to be “exasperated” by his Government’s failure to reduce the number of migrants making the journey in small boats.

Former Brexit secretary Stephen Barclay, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, has been put in charge of the review.

The PM was grilled on the subject when he appeared in front of the 1922 Committee of Tory MPs last week.

Former Cabinet minister Sir Iain Duncan Smith is said to have challenged Mr Johnson at the meeting, telling the PM: “Migration was in our manifesto, it was in our DNA. If we don’t do it, they won’t forgive us.”

His remarks were reportedly greeted with a banging of desks in a show of support from his backbench colleagues.

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There is abject frustration that the French keep getting money to try to help break the cycle and crack down on smugglers.

This summer, the Home Secretary agreed to pay France £54million for their help blocking crossings.

The first instalments of the payment have already been paid to Paris by London.

Over the past three months France has stopped 65 percent of attempted crossings by illegal immigrants, up from 50 percent, Gérald Darmanin, the interior minister said.

Speaking of the work French authorities do, Mr Darmanin said: “France has held the border for our British friends for over 20 years.”

On a practical level, Mr Darmanin said that he had received assurances of increased monitoring of the coastal area, notably through aerial surveillance.

However, the row between France and the UK is also about politics and the post-Brexit fallout.

Mr Darmanin has called for the start of negotiations for a migration treaty between the European Union and Britain.

He said: “We need to negotiate a treaty since Mr Barnier did not do so when he negotiated Brexit, which binds us on migration issues.”



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