Ministers are accusing France of letting migrants cross the Channel in retaliation for Brexit as Priti Patel braces for confrontation talks with her Paris counterpart this week.
The Home Secretary will meet Gerald Darmanin in the coming days after a record 1,185 migrants arrived on Thursday, shattering the previous daily high of 853 just eight days earlier.
However, the government fears that there will be no tougher response from Emmanuel Macron and the situation could get even more serious as he centres on the emerging presidential elections.
There are claims that the lack of enforcement on the French coast, which saw just 99 migrants caught on Thursday out of 1,284 who sought to reach the United Kingdom, is part of a Brexit punishment strategy and has become linked to disputes over fishing and Northern Ireland.
The total to have reached British shores since the start of the year stands at more than 23,500, almost three times the 8,400 in the whole of 2020, but one government source told a newspaper outlet that ministers are bleak about the chances of tougher action by France.
The source said that they don’t believe that the French are going to give them anything at all, and that with the elections coming up they think it will only get more serious and that it’s part of Emmanuel Macron’s Brexit punishment strategy.
A Home Office source continued that they were just part of a much bigger problem with the election, Northern Ireland and fishing and that they don’t want to be using French taxpayers’ money before the election.
Last week Boris Johnson pressed President Emmanuel Macron to close off the door to migrants entering French territory and attempting dangerous Channel crossings.
This month, the Home Office sent the first instalments of a £54 million deal with France to finance beach patrols, but migrant numbers have since soared.
Priti Patel emphasised that the migrant dilemma was a shared problem with France, and Emmanuel Macron’s government was understood to have opposed the introduction of her pushback tactic to intercept small boats and direct them back to the French shoreline.
Priti Patel said that last week showed that they must do more and that she wants to go further and faster, and that was why she would be holding discussions with Gerald Darmanin.
Border Force has been resisting requests to use the pushback strategy, citing objections such as weather and the size of the boats being intercepted.
The more we accept them and encourage them, then we help people smugglers make more money.
The trouble is, Priti Patel is always having crisis meetings and this will be just another meaningless gesture.
It’s not France’s responsibility to regulate our borders, much like it’s not our responsibility to control theirs. We’re an island and it’s our border and our responsibility. Priti Patel and Boris Johnson are just attempting to cover up their incompetence, yet again!
And if Priti Patel and Boris Johnson do nothing, it will only get more serious.
It’s astounding, when it comes to raising our taxes our government are all action, but when it comes to immigration, it’s all talk.