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The Prime Minister has called for joint patrols to prevent boats from leaving France – and thinks France should take back migrants who reach Britain by crossing the Channel on dinghies. Mr Johnson believes this would have “an immediate and significant impact” on crossings. He continued: “If those who reach this country were swiftly returned the incentive for people to put their lives in the hands of traffickers would be significantly reduced.” Mr Johnson would like to establish “joint patrols wherever this can be most effective.” In his letter, he said: “This could include French gendarmes and UK Border Force working together, perhaps under one single command structure or the joint deployment of private security contractors.”
Additional reporting by Olivia Stringer and Rachel Hagan.
Lifeboat rescue team said the Channel tragedy was ‘like the film Titanic’
Charles Devos, one of the first people on the scene on Wednesday, pulled six bodies from the water, including a pregnant woman.
The regional manager of Calais SNSM lifeboat association told Sky News: “I can’t remember such a tragedy. It’s inexplicable.”
He added: “It’s very, very shocking. It was a bit like the film Titanic when you saw all these people plunged into the water, drowning, with no means of being able to be rescued.
“I have always said it would end in this sort of drama. We are in one of the busiest straits in the world. We rescue two or three boats a week, often in daylight. Very often they are overloaded.”
French Interior Minister claims local authorities have questioned 1,500 smugglers in 2021
Mr Gérald Darmanin said live on RTL radio that France was acting and doing its part in the fight against smugglers earning thousands of pounds at the border by organising Channel crossings on cheap boats for £3000 a ticket on average.
The French Interior Minister said since the start of 2021, his local authorities (police and gendarmerie) have brought 1,500 smugglers into questioning.
He said: “We know these Mafia-like organisations but sadly there are a lot of them and they are international.”
French charity Utopia 56 accuses Macron’s government of not doing anything to help with funerals
Marguerite Combes, a volunteer from Utopia 56 in Calais claimed the French public authorities do nothing when it comes to migrants’ funerals.
She said: “Despite several alerts from us, we’re still waiting for the French authorities to do something about migrants’ funerals after they died trying to cross the Channel.”
The charity has been organizing funerals for years, reaching the deceased’s families back home and making sure their beliefs are respected.
Ms Combes added: “More than 336 people have died since 1999 on the border between France and the UK including 36 in 2021.”
She said her charity is now overwhelmed with the number of deceased they have to care for.
Nathanaël Caillaux, who works for another charity called le Secours Catholique told Libération: “We want refugees to be treated with respect in death since they were not respected at all when alive in Calais. Why should it be our role to do it? Having the French public services taking care of it would already be a huge step.”
Tory MPs warn that more will die unless the Human Rights Act is scrapped
Tory MPs have called on Home Secretary Priti Patel to overhaul the Human Rights Act, as Ms Patel’s plans to turn back boats would likely break the law.
Sir Edward Leigh said: “We cannot wait on the French cooperating and taking these poor people back, as they should. We have to act now in a national emergency to save lives. There are only two countries in the world that have solved this problem: Australia, which has an offshore processing centre, and Greece, which does push-back.We have to be tough. We have to face down the human rights lawyers. If governments are weak, people die.”
Scott Benton, Tory MP for Blackpool South, said: “we need to do everything possible to make these dangerous routes unviable, including scrapping the Human Rights Act.”
Asylum claims soar to highest level in nearly 20 years
Home Office figures show that 37,562 applications were made in the UK in the year to September, a jump of 18 per cent on the previous year and more than any 12-month period since 2004.
The rise in people making the treacherous journey has been attributed to the rise in the number of small boats carrying migrants over the Channel. More than 25,700 people have made the journey to the UK so far this year, three times the total for 2020.
Protest erupts at Home Office blaming ‘hostile’ Tories for deaths
Hundreds of people have gathered outside the Home Office to condemn UK border policies and mourn the 27 killed in Wednesday’s Channel tragedy.
An emergency demo is taking place in Whitehall, to show solidarity with migrants crossing the Channel. The group killed trying to make their way to the UK has prompted an urgent re-evaluation of the British and French approach to the migrant crisis. Home Secretary Priti Patel has urged governments to do “more together” to prevent further tragedy in the English Channel.
Julie Ward from the No2 Hassockfield campaign spoke at the dem. Ms Ward said: “This was not an accident – this was a direct result of hostile environment policy. Lebanon, Syria and Palestine have refugee crises, not Europe.”
France expands sea monitoring
France has pledged to step up surveillance of their northern shores, despite people crossing the channel saying that will not stop them trying.
Seventeen men, seven women and three teenagers died on Wednesday when their dinghy deflated in the Channel.
French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin accused Britain of “bad immigration management” and President Emmanuel Macron has promised “maximum mobilisation” of French forces, with reservists and drones watching the coast.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he wrote to Mr Macron and set out five steps the two countries could take to avoid the deaths of more migrants.
This includes joint patrols to prevent more boats from leaving French beaches, using sensors and radar and immediate work on a returns agreement with France and a similar deal with the European Union, Johnson said.
Leaked mayday call exposes dinghy death horror
A chilling mayday call was made moments before 27 people were killed after their dinghy sank in the channel on Wednesday.
In the call, obtained by Sky News, the French coastguard can be heard requesting assistance from “all ships” as 15 people were “overboard”. Close to 30 people died trying to make their way to the UK, prompting urgent re-evaluation of the British and French approach to the migrant crisis.
Priti Patel berates media over using word ‘migrants’
The home secretary, Priti Patel, has said she will ask the media to reflect on their use of the word “migrant” to describe people who have drowned in the Channel.
In the House of Commons today, Brendan O’Hara, the SNP MP for Argyll and Bute, said he was “absolutely appalled” to hear a presenter on the BBC’s 10 o’clock news refer to the Channel victims as migrants, which is a dehumanising term. He asked the home secretary to ask the media to reflect on their choice of language.
To which Ms Patel replied, “Yes, I will.”
She said: “Even during the Afghan operations and Operation Pitting [the Kabul evacuation] I heard a lot of language that quite frankly seemed to be inappropriate around people who were fleeing.”
The pejorative word “migrants” often dehumanises people and presents them as a threat.
France summons UK to emergency meeting
France has summoned the UK and neighbouring countries to an emergency summit as the migrant crisis causes panic across Europe.
The summit called by French President Emmanuel Macron is due to take place on Sunday in Calais.
It will take place as politicans are calling for greater European co-operation against the smuggling gangs blamed for the tragedy.
Britain, which finances patrols on France’s northern coast, told Paris to “step up” those efforts and suggested that UK border police should be sent to join them.
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About 94,000 more EU nationals left the UK than arrived there last year
About 94,000 more EU nationals left the UK than arrived there last year, the first turnround in migration patterns since 2019, when 32,000 more people immigrated from the continent into Britain than emigrated, according to data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) published by The Financial Times.
The ONS’ estimates show about 34,000 more people moved to the UK than left the UK in 2020, down from 271,000 in the previous year — by far the lowest figure since 2011 when comparable data was made available.
Data from the Home Office also showed that the majority of visas given to skilled workers were from India, the Philippines, the US and Nigeria.
French police round up migrants on coaches
Footage shows the moment French police round up migrants in Calais who attempted to make the Channel crossing on Wednesday.
Officers have been pulling down makeshift camps and escorting men, women and children to waiting coaches.
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French police round up migrants on coaches
Emmanuel Macron has warned Boris Johnson not to exploit migrant crisis for political gain
Emmanual Macron spoke on the migrant crisis during a visit to Croatia today. He said he would hold the UK to account and he called for additional aid in catching the smugglers.
He said everything will be done to find and condemn those responsible for “exploiting misery and distress.”
He said French police forces have been working day and night, but now “Europe must act collectively.”
Mr Macron continued: “When these men and women arrive on the shores of the Channel, it is already too late. We are going to ask for an additional mobilisation of the British because I remind you that in this respect we are protecting the border for the British and that all these men and women do not want to stay in France. We need to better prevent the arrival of migrants on French soil and better integrate the British in the prevention of these flows.”
Additional reporting by Maria Ortega.
Tory MP says Priti Patel must go further n tackling human traffickers
A conservative MP has urged home secretary Priti Patel to go further in tackling human traffickers.
Sir John Hayes said: “She (Priti Patel) needs to go further, and that’s why the common sense group of MPs have written to her saying we need to disrupt those criminal gangs, we need offshore processing of claims, and we need to turn round boats in the Channel as the law allows us to do.
“For people who voted to take back control have every right to ask the question: if you can’t protect the integrity of the borders, what can you control?”
Patel responded: “He mentions offshoring, third country, these are all options that are under consideration and the Bill does actually – the new plan for immigration – covers those areas.
“He’s absolutely right in terms of the principal point that he makes, which is why we are determined and we will not just stop and cease with the measures that we have already announced, we will look to augment and enhance some of the measures as well.”
Government should focus on causes of migration not on stopping migrants says Corbyn
Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has argued that the Government should focus on the causes of mass migrations rather than stopping people from coming into the country.
Mr Corbyn, who currently is currently an independent MP, said: “Does the Home Secretary (Priti Patel) accept that the only way in which people traffickers and gangs can operate is because of the absolute desperation of people across Europe and indeed across the world?
“And instead of concentrating on more frontiers, more barbed wire, more surveillance not just in this country but all across Europe, what we should be doing is looking at the causes of asylum in the first place: the environmental disasters, the wars, the abuse of human rights, the poverty?”
In her response Ms Patel said that the Government is working to address these issues with the international community, adding: “Migrants are not just in the hands of people smugglers, they are travelling through safe countries where there are functioning asylum systems in these safe countries where they could claim asylum. That also is something that all international partners should be supporting.”
Home Secretary says she will join MSP in asking BBC to reflect on use of language
Home Secretary Priti Patel has said she will join with SNP MSP Brendan O’Hara in asking the BBC and other media outlets to think about the language they use after the term ‘migrants’ was used to describe those who had drowned.
Mr O’Hara said: “Last night I tuned in to the BBC 10 o’clock news to get the latest on this terrible disaster and I was absolutely appalled when a presenter informed me that around 30 migrants had drowned. Migrants don’t drown. People drown. Men, women and children drown.
“So will the Secretary of State join me in asking the BBC News editorial team and any other news outlet thinking of using that term to reflect on their use of such dehumanising language and afford these poor people the respect that they deserve.”
Priti Patel said: “Even during the Afghan operations and Op Pitting I heard a lot of language that quite frankly seemed to be inappropriate around people who were fleeing.
“So yes, I will.”
France beefing up sea rescue operations
France stated on Thursday that it is beefing up sea rescue operations and mobilising reservists, following Wednesday’s tragedy.
President Macron has defended Paris’ actions, stating that most of the time France is merely a transit country.
During a trip to Croatian Capital Zagreb, Mr Macron said: “I will … say very clearly that our security forces are mobilised day and night.
Mr Macron promised ‘maximum mobilisation’ with French drones and forces watching the coast.
He added: “But above all, we need to seriously strengthen cooperation … with Belgium, the Netherlands, Britain and the European Commission.”
Priti Patel says surveillance capability is dependant on weather
Priti Patel has said that surveillance capability is dependant on the ‘weather’ and whether planes and drones can fly.
She added: “In fact, on Monday when I came to the House for questions and the urgent questions, I spoke about how drones are now being used in France whereas previously they were not being used in France because their laws did not allow it.
“We also have to recognise our laws differ to my counterparts and our French counterparts and therefore on intelligence co-operation, their laws are different to our own laws.”
Ms Patel says UK needs to work with other countries to tackle crisis
Home Secretary Priti Patel told MPs that the UK needs to work with other countries to tackle the migrant crisis.
Speaking to the Commons she said: “We cannot do it alone. We continue to work closely with the French to prevent crossings. More than 20,000 have been stopped this year, which I think all members of this House should recognise the magnitude and the scale of the illegal migration crisis we are seeing.
“We have dismantled 17 organised criminal groups and secured over 400 arrests and 65 convictions.
“But this crisis continues, clearly demonstrating we need to do more together. This is a complicated issue and there is no simple fix. It does need a Herculean effort and it will be impossible without close co-operation between all international partners and agencies.”
Ms Patel says traffickers have complete disregard for human life
Priti Patel says that traffickers have complete disregard for human life and assault the people who get into the boats.
She said they use the money they make for other heinous crimes and should be brought to justice.
Ms Patel says journeys across the Channel unnecessary
Priti Patel has said that the journey’s across the Channel are unnecessary and dangerous.
She says they are a reminder of what can happen when people get into the hands of exploitative traffickers.
Ms Patel said some migrants do not know they are coming to the UK.
French police watch 50 more migrants cross Channel
French police has reportedly failed to stop another 50 migrants from crossing the Channel after President Macron was urged to get a grip following yesterday’s tragedy.
Ms Patel says she has just spoken with her French counterpart
Ms Patel said she has just spoken with her French counterpart and has said that she has reached out and made an offer to France about joint patrols to stop these journeys from taking place and to stop vulnerable people from risking their lives by getting on unseaworthy boats.
Priti Patel is now making an urgent speech in the Commons
Priti Patel is now making a statement in the Commons about the migrant tragedy.
Ms Patel has said her thoughts are with the families are those affected.
Downing street say tragedy shows need to crack down on trafficking
Downing Street has said that scenes of migrants continuing to cross the Channel following yesterday’s tragedy which saw 27 people drown, shows the need to crack down on human trafficking.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman told reporters: “It illustrates that we absolutely need to step up our work with our French counterparts to dismantle this horrific trade which preys on vulnerable people.
“It demonstrates that it is still ongoing despite the horrific tragedy we saw yesterday, and more needs to be done.
“That’s why the Prime Minister spoke to President Macron yesterday, it is why the Home Secretary is speaking to her counterpart today.”
Home Office criticised for refusing to rule out ‘pushback’ tactic
The Homes Office has been criticised for refusing to rule out the ‘pushback’ tactic after 27 people died trying to cross the Channel.
Immigration Minister Kevin Foster appeared not to eliminate the idea of using the ‘pushback’ method for migrants, which would involve them being sent back on their boats after reaching the UK.
Speaking on Radio 4’s Today programme he said: “What we’ve said is that any maritime tactics would be deployed appropriately, bearing in mind the safety situation, and that would be determined by commanders on the ground.”
The Liberal Democrats home affairs spokesman Alistair Carmichael criticised the pushback tactic, stating: “It is disgraceful that the Government is even considering pushing boats back in the Channel after yesterday’s tragic news.
“Priti Patel must immediately rule out these dangerous and cruel pushback tactics which don’t work and could cause yet more unnecessary deaths.
“The Government’s incompetence and failure to get to grips with this crisis has led us to the heartbreaking situation we find ourselves in.
“Instead of yet more unworkable gimmicks, ministers must now focus on providing safe and legal routes to take refugees out of the grip of smugglers and traffickers.”
Archbishop of Canterbury calls for system based on ‘compassion’
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby has called for a better system for migrants based on “compassion, justice and co-operation across frontiers” following the ‘devastating loss of life’ after a migrant boat capsized just outside Calais.
New figures show that asylum claims in the UK are at their highest level in nearly 20 years.
Below is a picture of the boat carrying the bodies of the migrants to Calais.
Five people arrested
Five people have now been arrested in connection with the drownings just off Calais’ border on Wednesday.
Police have now confirmed that a total of 27 people have died.
Below are some pictures of the belongings of the migrants, which washed ashore.
MP for Calais says calls for increased patrols ‘crazy solution’ to crisis
The MP for Calais has said that increased patrols on France’s beaches are a ‘crazy solution’ to the migrant crisis.
Pierre-Henri Dumont told BBC Breakfast: “I think it’s time for both our governments to stop blaming each other and to try and talk to each other and find real solutions, not a crazy solution such as having more and more people patrolling, sending the British army to the French shore.
“That is not acceptable and will not change anything.”
Mr Dumont said that migrants should be allowed to apply for asylum while outside the UK but that it should be ‘harder’ to find employment and housing when they arrive.
He said: “What I can assure you is having more money or more police officers patrolling the French shore will not change anything because we have 200-300km of shore to monitor 24/7.
“It only takes five to 10 minutes for smugglers to take a boat and put in the sea for the migrants, when the migrants are in the UK it’s too late, they will find a way to cross.”
Priti Patel to make urgent statement in Commons
The home secretary Priti Patel will make an emergency statement in the Commons following a tragedy in which 27 people died trying to cross the Channel on Wednesday.
Ms Patel will address the Commons as she outlines how the UK is going to respond to the tragedy.
Former Chief Immigration Officer says people drawn to UK because ‘everything is free’
The former chief immigration officer has said that a lot of migrants who cross the Channel are not asylum seekers but are ‘economic migrants’ who are drawn to the UK because ‘everything is free’.
Speaking on BBC Breakfast Kevin Saunders said: “The draw to the UK is phenomenal”.
When asked by the show’s host about the young girl who died in Yesterday’s tragedy, Mr Saunders said: “I’m not saying that everyone is an economic migrant, but a lot of them are.”
French MP says he would not be opposed to UK police at French border
An MP representing President Macron’s En Marche! party has said that he would not be opposed to the UK police helping France at the French border.
Asked if Mr Macron would allow this, Bruno Bonnell told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “As long as it is really a common operation and not a way to twist information once more, pretending that the French people are turning their eyes off those long boat departures.
“I think that is something that could probably help the situation, and I would support that.”
UK supplied helicopter during Wednesday’s search, says immigration minister
The immigration minister has said that the UK supplied a helicopter during Wednesday’s search for the migrants whose boat capsized just outside Calais.
Asked on BBC Breakfast how the UK’s response to migrants was going to change after Wednesday’s tragedy, Kevin Forster said:
“The first thing is working with France. “We have offered resources, we are happy to support their operations on the beach.
“We have already agreed £54 million, we’re happy to look at doing more.
“We’re also prepared to offer resources beyond (that) – like yesterday, we deployed a helicopter at their request to help with the search and rescue operation, so we’re not just offering cash. It is in no one’s interest for this to continue.”
“We’re prepared to offer support on the ground, we’re prepared to offer resources, we’re prepared to offer, literally, people to go there and assist the French authorities.”
France says countries including UK need to do more to tackle human trafficking
French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said on Thursday that countries such as the UK, Germany and Belgium need to do more to tackle human trafficking.
Speaking on RTL Radio, Darmanin said that migrants were often attracted by the British Labour market.
He said: “It’s an international problem … We tell our Belgian, German and British friends they should help us fight traffickers that work at an international level.
He said that five arrests had been made in connection with the drownings on Wednesday and that two of those who survived were from Iraq and Somalia.
Emergency update TODAY –Boris orders France to ‘step up’ after deaths
Boris Johnson has demanded that the French Government “step up” and stop migrants from crossing the Channel after at least 27 people drowned off the coast of Calais trying to reach Britain.
Dozens of migrants were found floating in the sea, after their dinghy, which has been likened to a “blow-up paddling pool in a garden”, was hit by a large ship, causing it to capsize.
Among the dead were five women and a young girl.
The Prime Minister said the UK Government would increase its support and suggested that he backed joint patrols on French beaches to intercept migrants.
Later on Thursday, Stephen Barclay will face Cabinet Office questions for the first time since he was tasked with reviewing how to prevent migrants from crossing the Channel.
More people rescued from Channel
Migrants from two boats have been rescued this morning following the deadliest day of the migrant crisis.
A number of people were seen wearing life jackets and wrapped in blankets on a lifeboat, before disembarking in Dover on Thursday morning.
The BBC has reported that the number of migrants that have been rescued is 40.
French interior minister Gerald Darmanin has called the deaths of 27 migrants an “absolute tragedy” blaming human trafficking gangs who promised people the “El Dorado of England” for a large fee.
Boris Johnson has called on France to agree to joint patrols on French beaches to intercept migrants.
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