France ‘REJECTS British offer to patrol their beaches for them because it would breach sovereignty’
France has rejected a British offer to patrol their beaches for them to stop migrants trying to cross the Channel over concerns it would breach their sovereignty.
It comes as Home Secretary Priti Patel has confirmed talks over possible joint British-French sea patrols in the Channel that would aim to stop and return migrants were ongoing.
The number of migrants crossing the Channel hit a record 4,019 this month, exceeding the previous high of 3,879 in September – with this year’s total now a record-breaking 23,761.
Asked about possible joint patrols in the House of Commons, Ms Patel said: ‘We discuss all options whether naval patrols of alternative patrols.
‘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.’
France has rejected a British offer to patrol their beaches for them to stop migrants trying to cross the Channel over concerns it would breach their sovereignty
Home Secretary Priti Patel (pictured) has confirmed talks over possible joint British-French sea patrols in the Channel were ongoing
The new arrivals bring the total number to have made it to the UK this month to 4,019, exceeding the previous record of 3,879 in September. This year’s total is now a record-breaking 23,761
Ms Patel added the UK 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.
It comes after migrants were yesterday bussed 500 miles to Scotland for processing after arriving on beaches in Kent as the system struggles under a record number of crossings.
Dozens have taken the eight-hour journey to Dungavel immigration detention centre in Strathaven, South Lanarkshire in the last few weeks, according to a pressure group.
Until now, migrants have been processed in Home Office short-term holding facilities an hour or two from Dover, but the record arrivals have forced officials to use facilities further away.
Meanwhile senior Tories yesterday warned that a failure to tackle the record number of migrants crossing the English Channel could fuel the rise of a new UKIP-style political party.
There are growing fears among some Conservative figures that inaction on the issue could trigger the emergence of a new right-wing political force which could cost the Tories their majority at the next general election.
Migrants huddle together on the beach at Dungeness on Saturday after three crammed boats arrived on the shoreline
Labour Shadow Home Secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds has accused Ms Patel of ’empty rhetoric’ over her failure to tackle the problem
The Home Secretary hit back at his attack, insisting the Torys have a long-term plan to address immigration.
‘This problem will take some time to fix and there is no silver bullet. The only solution is wholescale reform of our asylum system,’ Ms Patel told MPs.
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.
It will seek to find solutions to the crisis and make sure all departments – not only the Home Office – are contributing.
The review follows a week of record migrant Channel crossings, with 1,000 reaching the British shores on Tuesday alone and around 24,000 making the journey this year. The figure is almost triple the number that arrived in 2020.
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.
Just one of the three boats – each estimated to have been crammed with about 65 people – which landed in Kent yesterday.
A poll for the Sunday Telegraph found that 77 per cent of Tory voters believe the Government’s approach to the migrant crossings is ‘too soft’. The number was 55 per cent for the public overall.
The survey, conducted by Redfield & Wilton Strategies, also found 54 per cent of voters disapproved of Mr Johnson’s handling of the issue while 21 per cent approved.
Tory MPs are now looking ahead to local elections next May as a potential litmus test.
One former minister told the newspaper: ‘If we don’t deliver on migration, this is really damaging to us. People are genuinely fed up with this.’