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Boris Johnson tells President Macron to take back migrants who have made it across Channel

Mr Johnson published a five-point plan to prevent another tragedy after 27 people died while crossing the Channel

Mr Johnson published a five-point plan to prevent another tragedy after 27 people died while crossing the Channel

Boris Johnson has called on Emmanuel Macron to take back migrants who make it across to Britain from France as he published a five-point plan to stop cross-Channel people traffickers after 27 people drowned trying to reach the UK.

The Prime Minister, 57, announced today that he has called on the French President, 43, to agree to take back migrants who cross the Channel, arguing that the incentive for people to ‘put their lives’ in the hands of people traffickers would be reduced if they knew they would be sent back.

As relations between the UK and France become increasingly fraught, French politicians pointed the finger at Britain for failing to tackle the migrant crisis after 27 people died in the Channel on Wednesday when a doomed dinghy deflated just off the coast of France.

Hundreds gathered outside the Home Office in Westminster, London, today as a vigil was held to commemorate those who drowned yesterday, while people also protested the Government’s immigration policy and demanded an end to deaths in the Channel.

On Wednesday, a total of 757 migrants crossed the Channel in 17 boats, while French authorities also prevented 176 people from reaching the UK in eight incidents, according to the Home Office. 

Meanwhile, Home Secretary Priti Patel said there is ‘no quick fix’ to tackle migrants crossing the Channel in small boats as asylum claims in the UK hit their highest level for nearly 20 years and migrants told MailOnline that they are more determined than ever to reach the UK.

French President Emmanuel Macron said he was requesting ‘extra help’ from the UK as French police failed to stop 62 migrants crossing the Channel to Britain today in the wake of the deadliest crossing on record. 

Mr Johnson has now published an urgent five-point plan in a bid prevent another tragedy, which included measures such as starting joint patrols with France to stop boats leaving French beaches, deploying sensors and radar technology and using airborne surveillance.

He also argued that France should agree to take back migrants who reach Britain, saying it would have a ‘significant’ impact on the migrant crisis and reduce the dangers posed by people traffickers.

Setting out his five-point plan, he tweeted: ‘Tonight I have written to President Macron offering to move further and faster to prevent Channel crossings and avoid a repeat of yesterday’s appalling tragedy which claimed the lives of at least 27 people.

‘I pay tribute to the emergency services who have been dealing with this devastating situation. 

‘Following our conversation last night I know President Macron recognises, as I do, the urgency of the situation we are both facing.’

The Prime Minister, 57, announced today that he has called on the French President, 43, to take back migrants who cross the ‘dangerous’ Channel after 27 migrants died while making the crossing

Home Secretary Priti Patel said there is 'no quick fix' to tackle migrants crossing the Channel in small boats as France demanded fresh assistance and dozens more made the perilous crossing today

Home Secretary Priti Patel said there is ‘no quick fix’ to tackle migrants crossing the Channel in small boats as France demanded fresh assistance and dozens more made the perilous crossing today 

Mr Johnson published an urgent five-point plan to prevent another tragedy, which included measures such as starting joint patrols with France to stop boats leaving French beaches. Pictured: Protest outside Home Office on Thursday

Mr Johnson published an urgent five-point plan to prevent another tragedy, which included measures such as starting joint patrols with France to stop boats leaving French beaches. Pictured: Protest outside Home Office on Thursday

Hundreds gathered outside the Home Office in Westminster, London, today to protest the Government's immigration policy and demand an end to deaths in the Channel following the tragedy

Hundreds gathered outside the Home Office in Westminster, London, today to protest the Government’s immigration policy and demand an end to deaths in the Channel following the tragedy

In his action plan, Mr Johnson explained that five urgent steps needed to be taken to ensure that another tragedy did not take place, including deploying more advanced technology, such as sensors and radar, to prevent Channel crossings

In his action plan, Mr Johnson explained that five urgent steps needed to be taken to ensure that another tragedy did not take place, including deploying more advanced technology, such as sensors and radar, to prevent Channel crossings

Mr Johnson went on to explain that five urgent steps needed to be taken to ensure that another tragedy did not take place, including deploying more advanced technology, such as sensors and radar, to prevent Channel crossings.

He reiterated the UK’s offer to set up joint patrols with the French, just one week after Clandestine Channel Threat Commander Dan O’Mahoney said this proposal was rebuffed.

His words echoed Priti Patel saying the perilous crossings were ‘absolutely unnecessary’ after renewing an offer of sending British officers to join patrols on French beaches during a call with French interior minister Gerald Darmanin.

Explaining the five steps, Mr Johnson wrote: ‘I have set out five steps we should take as soon as possible: 

‘Joint patrols to prevent more boats from leaving French beaches. Deploying more advanced technology, like sensors and radar. Reciprocal maritime patrols in each other’s territorial waters and airborne surveillance.

‘Deepening the work of our Joint Intelligence Cell, with better real-time intelligence-sharing to deliver more arrests and prosecutions on both sides of the Channel.

‘Immediate work on a bilateral returns agreement with France, alongside talks to establish a UK-EU returns agreement.’

The Prime Minister went on to call on the French President to take back migrants who cross the Channel, after Britain have blamed French authorities for not doing enough to prevent migrants from leaving French beaches on dinghies.

He continued: ‘An agreement with France to take back migrants who cross the Channel through this dangerous route would have an immediate and significant impact.

People protested outside the Home Office today (pictured) after 27 people died in the Channel on Wednesday after a doomed dinghy deflated just off the coast of France. Five people have been arrested in France over the deaths

People protested outside the Home Office today (pictured) after 27 people died in the Channel on Wednesday after a doomed dinghy deflated just off the coast of France. Five people have been arrested in France over the deaths

Following the deaths, Mr Johnson published a five-point plan to prevent another tragedy, which included measures such as starting joint patrols with France to stop boats leaving French beaches. Pictured: Protestors at Home Office on Thursday

Following the deaths, Mr Johnson published a five-point plan to prevent another tragedy, which included measures such as starting joint patrols with France to stop boats leaving French beaches. Pictured: Protestors at Home Office on Thursday

Migrants in Calais told MailOnline they are more determined than ever to reach the UK as French police again failed to stop 50 migrants crossing the Channel to Britain today. Pictured: Protestor holds 'no one is illegal' placard outside Home Office

Migrants in Calais told MailOnline they are more determined than ever to reach the UK as French police again failed to stop 50 migrants crossing the Channel to Britain today. Pictured: Protestor holds ‘no one is illegal’ placard outside Home Office

Mr Johnson reiterated the UK's offer to set up joint patrols with the French, just one week after Commander Dan O'Mahoney said the offer was rebuffed. Pictured: People protest the Government's immigration policy in Westminster on Thursday

Mr Johnson reiterated the UK’s offer to set up joint patrols with the French, just one week after Commander Dan O’Mahoney said the offer was rebuffed. Pictured: People protest the Government’s immigration policy in Westminster on Thursday

Demonstrators at the Home Office on Thursday lit tea-light candles and held roses just one day after 27 people drowned when their vessel sank in the English channel in the deadliest crossing on record

Demonstrators at the Home Office on Thursday lit tea-light candles and held roses just one day after 27 people drowned when their vessel sank in the English channel in the deadliest crossing on record

‘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.

‘This would be the single biggest step we could take together to reduce the draw to Northern France and break the business model of criminal gangs.

‘I am confident that by taking these steps and building on our existing cooperation we can address illegal migration and prevent more families from experiencing the devastating loss we saw yesterday.’

His comments come as French police again failed to stop a group of asylum seekers crossing the Channel on two boats in choppy conditions this morning. They were brought shivering into a freezing Dover by the RNLI at dawn.

Small groups of officers were seen patrolling beaches close to Calais this morning but again failed to prevent dozens setting off for the UK in dinghies amid claims in Britain that the French have been sitting on their hands. 

Migrants launch their boats from France along a 100mile stretch of beach, making it harder for authorities to stop them from crossing the Channel. Out of 40,000 crossings this year, only around half were stopped, according to official figures.

Yesterday’s tragedy saw 17 men, seven women – one of whom was pregnant – and three children die after a doomed dinghy deflated just off the coast of France.

Five people have been arrested in France over the 27 deaths, including one man held overnight driving a German-registered vehicle packed with inflatable ribs, although there is ‘no provable link’ with the sinking, according to prosecutors, despite French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin insisting all were ‘directly linked’ to the drownings.

On the same day as the tragedy, a total of 757 migrants crossed the Channel in 17 boats, while French authorities also prevented 176 people from reaching the UK in eight incidents, according to the Home Office.

A further 62 migrants successfully made the dangerous journey in two boats on Thursday and French authorities stopped 30 people from making the crossing in two incidents. 

The latest confirmed figures mean 6,869 migrants have arrived in 201 boats so far in November and 26,591 have made the treacherous trip in 2021 – compared to 8,410 in 2020 and just 1,850 in 2019.

Thousands of migrants are in the Calais region hoping to get to the UK by Christmas, and speaking in France, a Kurdish computer programmer called Kochar, 25, told MailOnline: ‘It is not going to stop people from wanting to come to England. Everything in life is a risk, and it is worth a big risk to get to England’.

A vigil was held outside the Home Office in Westminster on Thursday to commemorate the 27 refugees who had drowned in the English Channel the day before

A vigil was held outside the Home Office in Westminster on Thursday to commemorate the 27 refugees who had drowned in the English Channel the day before

Small groups of officers were seen patrolling beaches close to Calais this morning but again failed to prevent dozens setting off for the UK in dinghies. Pictured: A vigil is held outside the Home Office to commemorate the refugees who drowned

Small groups of officers were seen patrolling beaches close to Calais this morning but again failed to prevent dozens setting off for the UK in dinghies. Pictured: A vigil is held outside the Home Office to commemorate the refugees who drowned

People take part in a protest outside the Home Office in Westminster, London, demanding an end to deaths in the Channel after 27 drowned when their boat sank in French waters yesterday

People take part in a protest outside the Home Office in Westminster, London, demanding an end to deaths in the Channel after 27 drowned when their boat sank in French waters yesterday

Protestors demonstrate against the British Government's policy on immigration and border controls, outside of the Home Office in central London on Thursday

Protestors demonstrate against the British Government’s policy on immigration and border controls, outside of the Home Office in central London on Thursday

French politicians pointed the finger at Britain for failing to tackle the migrant crisis after 27 people died in the Channel on Wednesday after a doomed dinghy deflated just off the coast of France. Pictured: People protest outside Home Office

French politicians pointed the finger at Britain for failing to tackle the migrant crisis after 27 people died in the Channel on Wednesday after a doomed dinghy deflated just off the coast of France. Pictured: People protest outside Home Office 

French police failed to stop a group of asylum seekers crossing the Channel on two boats in choppy conditions this morning. They were brought into a freezing Dover by the RNLI at dawn. Pictured: Protestors gather outside Home Office on Thursday

French police failed to stop a group of asylum seekers crossing the Channel on two boats in choppy conditions this morning. They were brought into a freezing Dover by the RNLI at dawn. Pictured: Protestors gather outside Home Office on Thursday

Home Office officials and law enforcement officers will travel to Paris on Friday 'to intensify joint co-operation and intelligence-sharing', according to the Government. Pictured: Protesters hold roses outside the Home Office on Thursday

Home Office officials and law enforcement officers will travel to Paris on Friday ‘to intensify joint co-operation and intelligence-sharing’, according to the Government. Pictured: Protesters hold roses outside the Home Office on Thursday

Another Iraqi Kurd called Aram, 41, said: ‘There are some people who will be put off if they think they are going to die, but most people have no choice. We have to try to get to England.

‘I will get on a boat some time. It might be this week or it might be next. I got a call from my friend who told me about the people who had died. I did not know any of them.’

The migrants told how heartless people traffickers have slashed their prices for a place in a boat across by 500 euros since news of the tragedy filtered through to people living in makeshift camps around Grandy-Synthe near Dunkirk.

Those hoping for a new life in the UK told MailOnline that the fare for a place in an open dinghy had been reduced from 2,500 euros to 2,000 euros.

Kochar said: ‘The people smugglers are worried about losing business – so they want to give a better deal.’

Meanwhile, Home Secretary Priti Patel is set to meet French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin this weekend to discuss the migrant crisis following Wednesday’s tragedy. 

Home Office officials and law enforcement officers will also travel to Paris on Friday ‘to intensify joint co-operation and intelligence-sharing’, according to the Government.

The Home Secretary spoke to her counterpart on the phone on Thursday to ‘put forward plans for greater collaboration and innovation in stopping these deadly crossings’.

The Government said the ministers ‘underlined the need for deeper co-operation on stopping the Channel crossings and the need to work closely with European partners’.

Ms Patel said there is ‘no quick fix’ to tackle migrants crossing the Channel in small boats as France demanded fresh assistance and dozens more made the perilous crossing today in the wake of the deadliest day of the crisis on record.

Ms Patel said the drownings were a ‘dreadful shock’ and described the crossings as ‘absolutely unnecessary’ after renewing an offer of sending British officers to join patrols on French beaches during a call with French interior minister Gerald Darmanin.

Those hoping for a new life in the UK told MailOnline that the fare for a place in an open dinghy had been reduced from 2,500 euros to 2,000 euros following the tragedy. Pictured: People hold candles at vigil to commemorate those who drowned

Those hoping for a new life in the UK told MailOnline that the fare for a place in an open dinghy had been reduced from 2,500 euros to 2,000 euros following the tragedy. Pictured: People hold candles at vigil to commemorate those who drowned 

French President Emmanuel Macron said he was requesting 'extra help' from the UK as French police failed to stop 50 migrants crossing the Channel to Britain today. Pictured: Crowds protest outside the Home Office on Thursday

French President Emmanuel Macron said he was requesting ‘extra help’ from the UK as French police failed to stop 50 migrants crossing the Channel to Britain today. Pictured: Crowds protest outside the Home Office on Thursday

Migrants launch their boats from France along a 100mile stretch of beach, making it harder for authorities to stop them from crossing the Channel. Pictured: Woman holds 'borders kill' sign during protests on Thursday

Migrants launch their boats from France along a 100mile stretch of beach, making it harder for authorities to stop them from crossing the Channel. Pictured: Woman holds ‘borders kill’ sign during protests on Thursday

Home Secretary Priti Patel is set to meet French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin this weekend to discuss the migrant crisis following Wednesday's tragedy. Pictured: Protestors demonstrate against Channel deaths on Thursday

Home Secretary Priti Patel is set to meet French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin this weekend to discuss the migrant crisis following Wednesday’s tragedy. Pictured: Protestors demonstrate against Channel deaths on Thursday

A person holds a sign calling for the Government to provide 'safe' routes for asylum seekers as protesters demonstrate outside The Home Office against migration deaths in Westminster

A person holds a sign calling for the Government to provide ‘safe’ routes for asylum seekers as protesters demonstrate outside The Home Office against migration deaths in Westminster 

A demonstrator holds up a sign reading 'your borders kill' as they take part in a protest outside the Home Office on Thursday, demanding demanding an end to deaths in the Channel after 27 people drowned on Wednesday

A demonstrator holds up a sign reading ‘your borders kill’ as they take part in a protest outside the Home Office on Thursday, demanding demanding an end to deaths in the Channel after 27 people drowned on Wednesday

As dozens of people gathered outside the Home Office to protest on Thursday, Priti Patel said the drownings were a 'dreadful shock' and described the crossings as 'absolutely unnecessary'

As dozens of people gathered outside the Home Office to protest on Thursday, Priti Patel said the drownings were a ‘dreadful shock’ and described the crossings as ‘absolutely unnecessary’

The Government confirmed Ms Patel would meet Mr Darmanin over the weekend to discuss the response to the crisis, while Home Office officials and law enforcement officers will travel to Paris on Friday ‘to intensify joint co-operation and intelligence-sharing’.

But the scale of the problem was further illustrated by new figures from the Home Office showing asylum claims in the UK have hit their highest level for nearly 20 years, fuelled by soaring Channel migrant crossings and a rise in numbers following the Covid-19 pandemic.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer expressed his frustration that the Home Secretary ‘isn’t doing anything to deal with this effectively’ following the ‘heartbreaking tragedy’.

In an urgent statement to MPs, Ms Patel said: ‘What happened yesterday was a dreadful shock, it was not a surprise but it is also a reminder of how vulnerable people are put at peril when in the hands of criminal gangs.

‘There is also no quick fix. This is about addressing long-term pull factors, smashing the criminal gangs that treat human beings as cargo and tackling supply chains.’

After the Prime Minister was understood to have made the same offer in an emergency call with Mr Macron, Ms Patel said she had made a ‘very clear’ offer to her French counterpart of British officers taking part in ‘joint patrols to prevent these dangerous journeys from taking place’.

But Pierre-Henri Dumont, the MP for Calais, dismissed the ‘crazy’ proposal that he said ‘will not change anything’ along the vast shoreline.

Speaking during a visit to Croatia, Mr Macron said: ‘We are going to ask for extra help from the British because all these men and these women don’t want to stay in France.

‘We tell them they’re obviously able to do so, and there are centres in Calais and Dunkirk where they can go, but we’re going to reinforce in fact saving them at sea.’

As French politicians pointed the finger at UK authorities for failing to tackle the issue, two more small boats carrying desperate individuals were believed to have arrived on British shores.

One group wearing life jackets and wrapped in blankets were seen huddled together on board an RNLI lifeboat before disembarking in Dover on Thursday morning. High winds put a stop to the crossings later in the day.

As a former prosecutor, Sir Keir said he would ‘take a lot of persuading’ that the evidence was not there earlier to make the arrests of five suspected smugglers believed to have been involved and prevent the latest deaths as he called for greater cooperation with France.

Pictured: People hold signs reading 'no more deaths' and 'your borders kill' as they demonstrate against migrant deaths outside the Home Office on Thursday

Pictured: People hold signs reading ‘no more deaths’ and ‘your borders kill’ as they demonstrate against migrant deaths outside the Home Office on Thursday

One protestor held a rose in his hand and held a sign that said there is a 'frightening' 'absence of empathy' across Britain, calling for 'safer' and 'legal' routes to allow migrants to reach the UK

One protestor held a rose in his hand and held a sign that said there is a ‘frightening’ ‘absence of empathy’ across Britain, calling for ‘safer’ and ‘legal’ routes to allow migrants to reach the UK

Figures released by the Home Office showed more than 37,500 asylum claims were made in the UK in the year to September, which is the highest level for nearly 20 years. Pictured: Woman holds a placard as she protests outside Home Office

Figures released by the Home Office showed more than 37,500 asylum claims were made in the UK in the year to September, which is the highest level for nearly 20 years. Pictured: Woman holds a placard as she protests outside Home Office

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer expressed his frustration that the Home Secretary 'isn't doing anything to deal with this effectively' following the 'heartbreaking tragedy'. Pictured: Crowds hold placards as they protest outside Home Office

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer expressed his frustration that the Home Secretary ‘isn’t doing anything to deal with this effectively’ following the ‘heartbreaking tragedy’. Pictured: Crowds hold placards as they protest outside Home Office

Demonstrators held up a 'refugees welcome' banner as they gathered outside the Home Office just one day after 27 people drowned when their vessel sank in the English channel in the deadliest crossing on record

Demonstrators held up a ‘refugees welcome’ banner as they gathered outside the Home Office just one day after 27 people drowned when their vessel sank in the English channel in the deadliest crossing on record

‘We’ve got to improve our law enforcement here because the people smugglers, the traffickers have got a real hold on these desperate people, we’ve got to break that,’ he told reporters.

‘I’m also frustrated that the Home Secretary makes no end of headline-grabbing statements but isn’t doing anything to deal with this effectively.’

Speaking to French radio network RTL, Mr Darmanin earlier blamed human trafficking gangs who promised people the ‘El Dorado of England’ for a large fee.

Mr Darmanin said the boat which sank had been very flimsy, likening it to ‘a pool you blow up in your garden’.

He was unable to state the nationalities of the victims, but said the two survivors of the wreck were Somali and Iraqi and had been treated for severe hypothermia.

The French prosecutors’ office tasked with investigating the incident said the dead included 17 men, seven women and two boys and one girl believed to be teenagers.

A joint search and rescue operation by the French and British authorities that was launched after a fishing boat spotted people in the sea off France was finally called off late on Wednesday.

The French authorities have arrested five suspected people traffickers in connection with the incident, and the French prosecutors’ office said magistrates are investigating potential charges of homicide, unintentional wounding, assisting illegal migration and criminal conspiracy.

Following a meeting of the Cobra emergencies committee, Mr Johnson said it is clear that French operations to stop the migrant boats leaving ‘haven’t been enough’ despite £54million of UK support, adding that the people traffickers are ‘literally getting away with murder’.

However, Mayor of Calais Natacha Bouchart said it is the British who are to blame and called on Mr Johnson to ‘face up to his responsibilities’.

‘The British Government is to blame. I believe that Boris Johnson has, for the past year and a half, cynically chosen to blame France,’ she said, according to French media reports.

In the tragedy yesterday, 17 men, seven women - one of whom was pregnant - and three children died. Pictured: Protestors demonstrate against the British Government's policy on immigration and border controls outside of the Home Office

In the tragedy yesterday, 17 men, seven women – one of whom was pregnant – and three children died. Pictured: Protestors demonstrate against the British Government’s policy on immigration and border controls outside of the Home Office

Protestors at the Home Office held bunches of roses and candles as they paid respects to the 27 people who died while crossing the Channel yesterday

Protestors at the Home Office held bunches of roses and candles as they paid respects to the 27 people who died while crossing the Channel yesterday

Speaking to French radio network RTL, Mr Darmanin earlier blamed the tragedy on human trafficking gangs who promised people the 'El Dorado of England' for a large fee. Pictured: People take part in a protest outside the Home Office on Thursday

Speaking to French radio network RTL, Mr Darmanin earlier blamed the tragedy on human trafficking gangs who promised people the ‘El Dorado of England’ for a large fee. Pictured: People take part in a protest outside the Home Office on Thursday

Franck Dhersin, vice president of transport for the northern Hauts-de-France region, said the 'mafia chiefs' at the top of the trafficking networks live in the UK and must be arrested. Pictured: Protestor holds a 'borders kill' placard on Thursday

Franck Dhersin, vice president of transport for the northern Hauts-de-France region, said the ‘mafia chiefs’ at the top of the trafficking networks live in the UK and must be arrested. Pictured: Protestor holds a ‘borders kill’ placard on Thursday

More than 25,700 people have made the dangerous journey to the UK in small boats this year - three times the total for the whole of 2020, according to new data. Pictured: People take part in a protest outside the Home Office in Westminster

More than 25,700 people have made the dangerous journey to the UK in small boats this year – three times the total for the whole of 2020, according to new data. Pictured: People take part in a protest outside the Home Office in Westminster

Franck Dhersin, vice president of transport for the northern Hauts-de-France region, said the ‘mafia chiefs’ at the top of the trafficking networks live in the UK and must be arrested.

‘And the mafia chiefs live in London… They live in London peacefully, in beautiful villas, they earn hundreds of millions of euros every year, and they reinvest that money in the City,’ he told French TV station BFMTV.

A number of people are also believed to have reached Britain in small boats on Wednesday, with an Afghan soldier who had worked with British forces reported to be among those landing at Dungeness in Kent.

The Dover Strait is the busiest shipping lane in the world and has claimed many lives of people trying to cross to Britain in inflatable dinghies.

More than 25,700 people have made the dangerous journey to the UK in small boats this year – three times the total for the whole of 2020, according to data compiled by the PA news agency.

Figures released by the Home Office on Thursday showed that more than 37,500 asylum claims were made in the UK in the year to September, which is the highest level for nearly 20 years.

The backlog in cases also reached its highest point since comparable records began, with more than 67,500 asylum applications awaiting a decision at the end of September.

Calais MP Mr Dumont argued that more patrols ‘will not change anything because we have 200-300km of shore to monitor 24/7’.

‘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,’ he told BBC Breakfast.

‘That is not acceptable and will not change anything.’

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