A LANDMARK £63 million deal with France to help tackle illegal migration has been hailed by Rishi Sunak – and he plans to deepen ties in the months ahead.
The Prime Minister says only by working with other countries can you make progress – in a broadside at Liz Truss who angered the French over her “friend or foe” comment.
Suella Braverman signs a historic deal with French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin, to tackle the small boats crisis[/caption]
Home Secretary Suella Braverman and French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin[/caption]
The agreement that will see a huge increase in the number of officers patrolling the beaches in northern France to stop the scourge.
The Prime Minister declared the pact could go further in the coming months as UK officers will be embedded with their counterparts in control rooms in the initial stages.
His comments come after he met French leader Emmanuel Macron last week at the Cop27 conference in Egypt to tackle the problem head-on with the number of people crossing hitting 40,000.
The Home Secretary travelled to the country to finalise the deal this morning meeting the country’s Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin.
He made a thinly-veiled comment aimed at Liz Truss who caused fury in Paris over the summer when she said the jury was out whether or not Macron was a close ally putting the deal in jeopardy.
The PM, speaking as he travelled to the G20 summit in Indonesia, said: “Only by working with other countries can you make progress on the things that impact people at home.
“The best example of that is illegal migration and I raised it in my first meeting I had with President Macron, we spent time speaking about that when we were together in Sharm at Cop.
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“I’m pleased we’re signing a new deal with the French, the highlights are a 40% increase in patrols happening and for the first time, British officials embedded in French operations to strengthen co-ordination and the effectiveness of our operation.
“But that is not the end of our co-operation and the agreement should be a foundation for even greater cooperation in the months ahead.”
The deal with France will also see more investment in port security to stop illegal entry into lorries with the beefing up of surveillance and more CCTV.
Drones and night vision capabilities will also be used as nearby countries including Belgium and Holland are brought into help the crackdown.
A new taskforce between the UK and France will be established that will be focused on reducing the numbers of Albanians and organised crime gangs exploiting the migration routes.
Cash will also be set aside for reception and removal centres in France for those whose journeys are prevented – to stop them making the perilous journey again.
The Prime Minister added: “When it comes to migration more generally I do think that the absolute priority that the British people have right now, as do I, is to grip illegal migration.
“I made a commitment that I would grip it in the summer. And I can tell you all that I’ve spent more time working on that than anything else, other than obviously the autumn statement, over the past couple of weeks.
“Look, I’ve been honest that there’s not a single thing to do to fix it and we can’t fix it overnight.
“But there’s a range of things I’m working on, including the French deal, where I’m confident we can bring the numbers down over time and that’s what I’m gonna deliver.”
The deal has been announced after Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick insisted the government would move towards more basic accommodation.
He said there must be an end to “Hotel Britain” with hotel costs for asylum and migrant cases costing nearly £7 million a day.
Mr Jenrick said that the UK’s generosity was being abused by people who are “skipping the queue” putting a huge strain on the immigration system.
Mr Jenrick said: “Human decency has to be accompanied by hard-headed common sense: illegal immigrants are not entitled to luxury hotels.”
“Conditions in the UK are almost always better than in neighbouring countries, which helps explain why the UK is a destination of choice for economic migrants on the continent ‘asylum shopping’.
“‘Hotel Britain’ must end and be replaced with simple, functional accommodation that does not create an additional pull factor.”
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Ministers are now looking at alternatives to hotels including disused student accommodation and budget cruise ships.
The highest daily record of crossings across the Channel on small boats saw 1,295 people crossing in just 27 boats.
August 22 saw the highest daily total on record, with 1,295 people crossing in 27 boats.
The move away from hotels comes seven months after ex-Home Secretary said migrants would be sent to Rwanda as part of a deal.
However, due to legal challenges there all flights have been grounded with the legality of the policy with a decision awaiting from the High Court.
Home Secretary Suella Braverman, who was in France to sign the deal, said: “We must do everything we can to stop people making these dangerous journeys and crack down on the criminal gangs.
“This is a global challenge requiring global solutions, and it is in the interests of both the UK and French governments to work together to solve this complex problem.
“There are no quick fixes, but this new arrangement will mean we can significantly increase the number of French gendarmes patrolling the beaches in northern France and ensure UK and French officers are working hand in hand to stop the people smugglers.”
She will travel to Frankfurt this week where she will meet her counterparts from the G7 to tackle a range of issues including organised crime.
There are also plans for her to meet with neighbouring European countries to help reduce illegal migration numbers.
UK and French police have secured 140 people smuggling convictions since 2020 and these criminals now face a combined 400 years in jail.