In a letter to Emmanuel Macron last night Prime Minister Boris Johnson called for joint patrols on French beaches and a new agreement to return migrants.
Boris Johnson has written to Emmanuel Macron formally proposing joint patrols on French beaches as early as next week to stop small boats carrying migrants heading for the UK.
The deal, if agreed by Paris, would see migrants who arrive on UK shores illegally sent back to France, with London taking in more child migrants with British family links in return.
It is thought if smugglers see France immediately taking back the migrants, some who have travelled through six or seven ‘safe’ countries, it will immediately dissuade the smugglers and break the chain of people making the perilous journey across the Channel.
Downing Street sees the pact as the best long-term solution to the escalating problem of boat crossings, as it would undercut smugglers promising a route into the UK.
A senior government source said:
“A returns agreement would be the single biggest deterrent of these crimes. If migrants that cross the Channel illegally are sent back to France, this totally busts the smuggling gangs.”
Other UK proposals include more sensors on French beaches, better airborne surveillance, extra maritime patrols and deeper joint intelligence work.
The letter will be seen as an attempt to push ahead with constructive discussions after days of finger-pointing between British and French politicians following the tragedy in the Channel.
A copy of the Prime Minister’s letter to President Macron is below: