The Dutch and UK governments have agreed that migrants must be returned to the first safe country they arrive in in a meeting ahead of EU talks from which the UK is excluded.
A statement from the Home Office said Home Secretary Priti Patel spoke with Dutch Migration Minister Ankie Broekers-Knol this morning about people crossing the Channel in small boats after the death of 27 Wednesday.
This afternoon, Ms. Brokers-Knol participates in a meeting organized by France with Germany, Belgium and the European Commission but Mrs. Patel was uninvited after Boris Johnson tweeted a letter with suggestions about the crisis he sent to French President Emmanuel Macron.
According to the press release from the Ministry of the Interior, Patel and her Dutch counterpart agreed that the “tragic incidents” of last week demonstrated the “need for European partners to work together”.
âIt was clear that shared problems required shared solutions,â he said.
“The Home Secretary said it was unfortunate that she was not present at today’s meeting of interior ministers in Calais to discuss this issue.”
They discussed ideas for tackling the criminal gangs orchestrating the trips “through shared intelligence and joint law enforcement initiatives.”
“The two agreed that the return agreements are essential to break the criminal business model,” the statement added.
People gathered on Folkestone beach on Sunday where a bell rang 27 times in memory of the 27 people who died crossing the Channel this week.
They also called for safe routes for asylum seekers, writing in the sand: âSafe routes now.
On Sunday morning, Health Secretary Sajid Javid said the government hoped the French would work with the UK to stop the crossings of migrants despite being turned down from the talks.
He defended Boris Johnson as the diplomatic row with France continued.
He told Sky News’ Trevor Phillips on Sunday: “We cannot do it ourselves, we need the cooperation of the French and again you asked me about the Prime Minister’s letter and I think the prime minister has established, that’s exactly the sort of thing we need to do and hopefully the French will take that and work with us. “
The meeting, held after 27 people died while attempting to cross the English Channel on Wednesday, will take place without Ms Patel today. Interior ministers from France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and the European Commission will be present.
Mr Javid called France “our friend” and said he believed that the five points made by Mr Johnson tackling the problem of people crossing the Channel in small craft “are good questions”.
âWe should work together on them,â he added.
One of the points called for asylum seekers arriving in the UK by boat to be returned to France, as the government says they should seek asylum in the first safe country they go to.
It would also have angered the French government.
Mr Javid said: âWhatever we can do, we must always cooperate with our French friends.
“I think contacting them and suggesting to them, making proactive suggestions, whether it’s joint patrols, whether it’s an agreement on terms, I think that’s all the right things to do. . “
Labor has criticized both the British and French governments, with Shadow Foreign Secretary Lisa Nandy saying they “are playing a blame game while children are drowning off our shores”.
She told Phillips: “This is simply unacceptable and any responsible government on either side of the Channel would put aside these differences and work together to resolve what is a shared collective problem that will only be resolved together.”
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Ms Nandy added that legitimate routes to the UK to help people fleeing war and persecution must be developed.
“These roads simply do not exist, and they will not exist until the government continues to engage in a game of blame with others and does not make the effort to sit around the table and agree. of how we’re going to deal with it together, âshe said.
It has been a difficult month for the Prime Minister, who has faced sordid accusations over lobbying violations by former Tory MP Owen Paterson, saw his majority reduced due to welfare changes, did praise Peppa Pig World in a speech, had a diplomatic dispute with France over migrant crossings and now a new variant.
Backbenchers sharply criticized the PM in all respects but asked if Mr Johnson could still win an election, Mr Javid saying: ‘Yes, absolutely.
“It is a government that keeps its promises and meets the challenges they face.”