The home secretary has told MPs that she has reiterated the British government’s offer to kickstart joint patrols in French waters in order to prevent the crossing of small boats.
In a statement his afternoon, Priti Patel told MPs that she has spoken with the French interior minister Gérald Darmanin in order to approach a solution to the crisis, following yesterday’s tragedy.
The Prime Minister spoke with French President Emmanuel Macron yesterday evening following a migrant boat accident on Wednesday afternoon in the English Channel, in which as many as 33 people are reported to have died, including a little girl.
Around 10 other migrants have died in recent weeks attempting this journey.
“I’ve literally just spoken again with my French counterpart Minister Darmanin and I’ve once again reached out and made my offer very clear to France in terms of joint France and UK co-operation, joint patrols to prevent these dangerous journeys from taking place,” Patel said this afternoon.
“I’ve offered to work with France to put officers on the ground and do absolutely whatever is necessary to secure the area so that vulnerable people do not risk their lives by getting into unseaworthy boats.”
The minister argued that there was no quick fix” to the crisis, but welcomed French president Emmanuel Macron’s remarks that “indicated his determination to stop the vile people smuggling gangs”.
“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,” she went on.
“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.”