France criticised by Brits for allowing channel crossings
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Speaking at the Conservative party conference in Manchester, the Home Secretary pledged to continue doing all she could to stop human trafficking operations exploiting vulnerable people. After previously accusing France of not doing enough to stop the crossings, she said: “With all of this, we will continue to pursue joint solutions to joint problems.
“France is a safe country, one not riven by war or conflict.”
Last month saw a record number of migrants cross the Channel with over 4,000 people making the treacherous journey.
More than 17,000 have made the journey so far in 2021, more than double the total for the whole of 2020 with three months of the year still to go.
The UK has agreed it will pay £54million to France to help Paris stop attempts to cross the Dover Strait.
Funding will go towards helping boost the number of French police patrolling beaches and training on using drone technology to thwart the efforts of people smugglers.
Speaking to a crowded room on the main stage of the conference, Mr Patel added: “What is happening in the Channel with small boats is unsafe, unfair, and unacceptable.
“From the vast camps outside Calais of mainly male, economic migrants, to the shocking images of people crammed onto flimsy boats crossing the Channel, exploited by people smugglers.
“Vile criminals characterised by ruthlessness and greed, who even threaten to drown small children to line their pockets. This cannot continue.”
The Home Secretary said she would make “no apology for securing our borders” and was willing to do everything necessary to put a stop to the crossings.
Last month Ms Patel threatened to withhold the £54million funding from France unless there was an increase in the number of boats being stoped.
In a meeting with Tory MPs she said: “We’ve not given them a penny of the money so far and France is going to have to get its act together if it wants to see the cash.
“It’s payment by results and we’ve not seen those results.
“The money is conditional.”
More to follow…
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