Priti Patel threatens to hold £54m if French don't stop more migrants

French fury over Priti’s £54m threat: Paris official warns Home Office it owes promised cash to stop migrants and not paying will mean MORE people cross the Channel – after Patel said they wouldn’t get a penny unless surge is halted

  • France hit out at Priti Patel over threat to withhold £54million promised to help end migrant crossings
  • Ministry of the Interior told Patel said it would damage efforts to limit crossings
  • Gerald Darmanin travelling to London today for a showdown with Priti Patel
  • More than 13,000 migrants have arrived in the UK by boat so far this year 

France hit back at the Home Secretary last night over her threat to withhold £54million promised to help end a surge in migrant Channel crossings.

The Ministry of the Interior told Priti Patel that going back on the pledge would seriously damage efforts to limit the illegal trips.

And it warned that attempting to send would-be refugees straight back to France would be dangerous and break international law, after Tory MPs urged her to take the dramatic step to discourage others from taking the same route.

Minister of the Interior Gerald Darmanin is travelling to London today and is set to have a showdown with Miss Patel about how best to tackle the record number of illegal crossings. More than 13,000 have arrived in the UK by boat this year.

France hit back at the Home Secretary last night over her threat to withhold £54million promised to help end a surge in migrant Channel crossings

The Ministry of the Interior told Priti Patel that going back on the pledge would seriously damage efforts to limit the illegal trips

As smuggling gangs took advantage of fair weather at sea, an estimated 785 people made it to English beaches on Monday, close to the daily high of 828 set last month.

In response, Miss Patel briefed Conservative backbenchers that unless France started intercepting three in four attempted crossings then she would go back on an agreement signed in July to hand the country another £54million to double coastal police patrols and improve aerial surveillance.

‘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 yet seen those results,’ she told the MPs. But yesterday the Ministry of the Interior insisted there had been no conditions attached to the deal.

‘The terms of this funding were negotiated in detail with the British side and there was never any question of making payment conditional on quantified targets. Such an approach would reflect a serious loss of confidence in our co-operation,’ the department said.

Minister of the Interior Gerald Darmanin is travelling to London today and is set to have a showdown with Miss Patel about how best to tackle the record number of illegal crossings. More than 13,000 have arrived in the UK by boat this year

France insisted it was ‘deploying considerable and constantly increasing resources to prevent crossings’ and had prevented half of those attempted this year, stopping more than 10,000 migrants getting across. 

Miss Patel was also urged to resist calls by her backbenchers to start sending boats full of migrants including children back to France before they can claim asylum in the UK.

‘We also call on the British government to be cautious about the announced use of procedures to fight against attempted sea crossings which would not only be dangerous for men, women and children on board these boats, but contrary to international law,’ the Ministry of the Interior said.

And it added that Mr Darmanin will meet Miss Patel this week on the sidelines of a G7 gathering of home ministers, to ‘clarify the terms of our co-operation’. 

Another 500 migrants are thought to have reached the UK yesterday after another bout of good weather led to a wave of departures from France.


Elated: A Channel migrant reaches the shore at Dungeness, Kent, falls to his knees and kisses the pebble beach yesterday

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