UK government officials and law enforcement are preparing to head to France for talks amid the migrant crossing crisis.
Reports differ as to whether they are travelling there this evening or tomorrow.
Home secretary Priti Patel is set to travel to France on Sunday for discussions after at least 27 people died yesterday crossing the English Channel on a flimsy overcrowded dinghy that capsized.
Boris Johnson has urged his French counterpart to work with the UK on five steps to ease the migrant crisis – including the “swift” return of asylum seekers who cross the Channel in small boats.
He called on French president Emmanuel Macron to help establish “joint patrols to prevent more boats from leaving French beaches”.
The PM also urged him to help deploy “more advanced technology, like sensors and radar” and – the third step – “airborne surveillance”.
Mr Johnson called for “better real-time intelligence-sharing to deliver more arrests and prosecutions on both sides of the Channel”
The fifth step he outlined in a post on Twitter was to work on “a bilateral returns agreement with France, alongside talks to establish a UK-EU returns agreement” to return migrants who cross the Channel in dinghys and small boats.
He said this would “immediately” and “significantly” reduce the numbers of people who “put their lives in the hands of traffickers”.
Follow our live coverage below
>Child and five women among 31 migrants dead after boat sinks in deadliest Channel tragedy
>Each and every death in the Channel is a human tragedy
>Will the migrant boat disaster force the government to change its approach to Channel crossings?
- Patel tells Commons repeated offer of joint patrols made to France
- Five arrested after Channel migrant boat sinks, killing 27...
- ...as around 50 more people make perilous journey following incident
- Candlelit vigil held in Calais for drowned migrants
- Man’s body found washed up on beach near Calais
- Reverend issues reminder migrants ‘are not the criminals’
Patel to hold talks with French interior minister this morning
Priti Patel will speak to her French equivalent, Gerald Darmanin, on Thursday morning about next steps the two countries can take to halt small boats crossing the Channel, a Home Office minister has confirmed.
Immigration minister Kevin Foster confirmed the meeting to BBC Breakfast earlier, adding the department’s “heart goes out in terms of those who have lost their lives yesterday and their loved ones”.
“As you know, at least 27 people have died but it is a dynamic situation, the French authorities are investigating and obviously we’re keen to let them get on with their work and we’ve obviously offered any support we can give,” Mr Foster said.
He added that the “real sad part” of this is “those who organised that boat yesterday would have just viewed these people, 27 at least who passed away, as just a profit-making opportunity”.
“That is why we are so determined to smash this really evil business model,” Mr Foster told the broadcaster, amid criticism from the French the UK government isn’t doing enough to punish smugglers.Sam Hancock25 November 2021 08:59amp-timeago layout="fixed-height" height="20" datetime="2021-11-25T09:06:03.000Z" locale="en" i-amphtml-layout="fixed-height"">
BREAKING: Around 40 migrants make Channel journey after deadly sinking
Around 40 more people made the perilous journey across the Channel on Thursday morning, following the worst migrant tragedy in the area.
A group of people wearing life jackets and wrapped in blankets were seen huddled together on board an RNLI lifeboat before they clambered off onto Dover’s shores. They made the crossing just a day after a dinghy capsized off the coast of Calais, causing 27 deaths.
Despite the tragedy, though, two boats reached UK waters on Thursday morning, according to the BBC.
Holly Bancroft has more:
Around 40 people made the perilous journey across the Channel on Thursday morning following the worst migrant tragedy in the area.Sam Hancock25 November 2021 09:06amp-timeago layout="fixed-height" height="20" datetime="2021-11-25T09:39:59.000Z" locale="en" i-amphtml-layout="fixed-height"">
Dover MP appears to blame French police inaction for migrant deaths
The MP for Dover has called for increased patrols on the beaches of France to stop migrants crossing the Channel.
Speaking to the BBC this morning, Natalie Elphicke said she wanted “urgent and swift action” to tackle the crisis, blaming the French for doing “absolutely nothing”.
“Yesterday we saw footage of French police standing by while people got the boat ready, picked up the engine and took to the water on the French side,” she said, adding: “That’s unacceptable and that’s got to change.”
“The British are standing by willing to put people to help, the EU I’m sure will come to the French’s aid as well, this is a humanitarian crisis on the shores of France, these people smugglers must not be allowed to continue to ply their trade and put people’s lives at risk in these wintry seas
“It is vital that action’s taken and the only way to do that is to stop people on the beaches of France from getting into the boats and turning them around quickly in French waters.”Sam Hancock25 November 2021 09:39
Boat which sank in Channel may have been struck by container ship
The “floating death trap” boat which sank in the English Channel with the loss of 27 UK-bound migrants, including a pregnant woman, was hit by a container ship, rescuers fear.
Horrific details of the disaster began to emerge on Thursday, as four people smugglers who are alleged to have organised Wednesday’s fatal crossing were placed in custody facing manslaughter charges.
Just two men escaped from the inflatable craft which mainly contained so far unidentified Iraqi Kurds and Somalians who had paid the equivalent of up to £6,000 each for a passage to England, reports
Peter Allen in Paris.
The “floating death trap” boat which sank in the English Channel with the loss of 27 UK-bound migrants, including a pregnant woman, was hit by a container ship, rescuers fear.Sam Hancock25 November 2021 09:41amp-timeago layout="fixed-height" height="20" datetime="2021-11-25T09:48:15.000Z" locale="en" i-amphtml-layout="fixed-height"">
Patel to make Commons announcement on migrant deaths
Home secretary Priti Patel will give a statement to MPs on the deaths of migrants trying to cross the Channel, the House of Commons has said.
A time has not yet been confirmed for the address, but it is thought it will take place at around 10.30 when urgent questions are scheduled to take place in the chamber.Sam Hancock25 November 2021 09:48amp-timeago layout="fixed-height" height="20" datetime="2021-11-25T10:18:55.000Z" locale="en" i-amphtml-layout="fixed-height"">
Charity: ‘By ending safe routes in, UK has created a small boat spectacle’
The government is being accused of worsening the current Channel migrant crisis by blocking safe routes into Britain, which one charity says has “created a spectacle” around small boat crossings.
“I think everyone in the UK is absolutely fed up with dangerous boat crossings,” Bella Sankey, director of human rights group Detention Action, told Sky News this morning. “No one think thinks it is sustainable ... and it is very internationally embarrassing.”
She pointed to Covid disruption and Priti Patel’s harsh migrant policies as reasons for the increasing number of people using small boats to enter Britain, stressing the figures are not a new issue but rather the methods of travel are.
“We in Britain accepted just under 30,000 asylum applications last year,” Ms Sankey said. “France, 90,000 and Germany, 122,000.
“So, yes the problem has been blown out of proportion because by ending safe routes [into Britain], the government has created a kind of spectacle and a disaster around small boats ... and people are understandably worried.”
Taking aim at Boris Johnson, she added: “The government can end all this at the stroke of a pen if it really wanted to.”i-amphtml-sizer">
Charities worry about ‘unsettled’ migrants in Calais
Zoe Tidman is in Calais, speaking to refugees and charities to get their reaction to yesterday’s events.
Charlie Chappers from Mobile Refugee Support tells The Independent the boat [that sunk] was full of people from the community his charity – mainly based in Dunkirk – works with closely.
“We are expecting them to be very unsettled today,” he said.Sam Hancock25 November 2021 10:23amp-timeago layout="fixed-height" height="20" datetime="2021-11-25T10:24:59.000Z" locale="en" i-amphtml-layout="fixed-height"">
BREAKING: Asylum applications rise by a fifth in year amid small boat crossings
Asylum applications to the UK have risen by a fifth in a year amid record small boat crossings, new figures show.
A Home Office report said there were more than 37,500 applications in the year to September, relating to 44,000 men, women and children mainly from Iran, Eritrea, Albania, Iraq and Syria.
“The increase in applications is likely linked in part, to the easing of global travel restrictions that were in place due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and to an increase in small boat arrivals to the UK - of which almost all claim asylum,” it added.
Our home affairs correspondent
Lizzie Dearden has more:
Asylum applications to the UK have risen by a fifth in a year amid record small boat crossings, new figures show.Sam Hancock25 November 2021 10:24amp-timeago layout="fixed-height" height="20" datetime="2021-11-25T10:31:06.000Z" locale="en" i-amphtml-layout="fixed-height"">
Watch: Immigration minister speaks about dangers of Channel crossings✕Tragedy emphasises dangers of Channel crossings, says immigration ministerSam Hancock25 November 2021 10:31
UK must arrest people-trafficking ‘mafia chiefs’, says French official
Following my earlier post (8.27am), here’s
Adam Forrest with more on remarks made by a leading French politician about what UK authorities must do to ensure more heads of human trafficking networks living in London are arrested.
Wheile Boris Johnson has called on France to allow joint patrols along the French coast to crack down on small boat crossings, some French officials have pointed the finger at British officials for failing to tackle the “mafia chiefs” behind people-smuggling operations – suggesting tax authorities could do more.
“To fight them, there’s only one way – we need to stop the organisations, you need to arrest the mafia chiefs. And the mafia chiefs live in London,” Franck Dhersin, vice president of transport for the northern Hauts-de-France region, said.
‘They live in London peacefully in beautiful villas,’ says Hauts-de-France politician on smugglers
Source : https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/channel-migrants-crossing-drown-latest-b1964037.html?page=22542