Priti Patel gets tough! Border Force ordered to push migrant boats back to France

Martin Lewis clashes with Andrew Bridgen on migrant crossings

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The new tactic means some vessels could be sent back towards France, rather than recovered by British authorities. It comes during a record-breaking year for migrant crossings of the English Channel, with over 14,000 believed to have made the trip.

On Wednesday 301 migrants were intercepted by UK authorities, and taken to Britain, according to Home Office figures.

Another 302 people were prevented from making the journey by French police.

Turning around migrant boats would be legally risky, and could provoke a direct confrontation with Paris.

The Times reports the French government warned the move would have “a negative impact on our co-operation”.

Border Force personnel are understood to be getting special training, before the “push back” tactic is used.

It is only likely to be deployed in “very limited circumstances”, against larger and more sturdy migrant boats.

The operational details of turning back migrant boats from France have yet to be confirmed.

The number of migrant crossings have surged over the past few days, thanks to the warm and calm weather.

On Monday 785 arrived in the UK by boat, the second highest figure of the year.

Video footage shows migrants, including women and children, collapsing with relief after arriving on a British beach.

On Wednesday Ms Patel confronted Gerald Darmanin, the French interior minister, about channel migrants’ crossings.

Speaking on the side of a G7 meeting in London, the Home Secretary told her French counterpart the British public “expect to see results”.

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The UK had agreed to provide France with another £54million to stem the tide of migrant boats.

However, speaking to MPs earlier this week, Ms Patel warned the funding will be blocked unless France prevents three out of four Channel crossings by the end of September.

The remarks sparked anger from the French interior ministry.

In a statement it said: “Funding granted by the British Government within the framework of this co-operation (£54million) is a fair contribution to this effort, which relies mainly on French forces.

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“The terms of this funding were negotiated in detail with the British side and there was never any question of making payment conditional on quantified targets.

“Such an approach would reflect a serious loss of confidence in our co-operation.”

The interior ministry also raised concern about early reports the UK could authorise “push back” tactics against migrant boats.

They said: “We also call on the British Government to be cautious about the announced use of procedures to fight against attempted sea crossings which would not only be dangerous for men, women and children on board these boats, but contrary to international law.

“It would also introduce a break in the spirit of mutual trust that has so far underpinned our common action.”

In August one migrant died after a boat carrying around 40 people began to sink in the channel.

They were pulled unconscious from the sea, but later died in a French hospital.

 

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