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Boris Johnson calls for joint patrols with France to stop migrant crossings



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oris Johnson has called on France to agree to joint police patrols along the French Channel coast after a migrant boat capsized with the loss of 31 lives.

The Prime Minister spoke to President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday evening in the wake of the worst incident of its kind in the Channel since the current migrant crisis began.

Downing Street said they had agreed to “keep all options on the table” in their efforts to break up the human trafficking gangs responsible for putting desperate people at risk in one of the world’s busiest sea lanes.

Immigration compliance minister Tom Pursglove confirmed that Mr Johnson had renewed a previous offer to send UK police and Border Force officers to mount joint patrols with the French.

The aim is to prevent migrant boats from attempting the perilous crossing but the French have previously resisted amid concerns about the implications for their national sovereignty.

Boris Johnson and French President Emmanuel Macron agreed to ‘keep all options on the table’ (Alastair Grant/PA) / PA Wire

Mr Pursglove said, however, the last incident showed the two countries needed to deepen their co-operation in dealing with the issue.

“The Prime Minister and President Macron have had exactly that discussion this evening. That is something that I am very keen to see happen,” he told BBC2’s Newsnight.

“It is the case that in the past we have offered to host and to help with joint patrols. I think that could be invaluable in helping to address this issue. I really do hope that the French will reconsider that offer.”

There was shock and dismay on both sides of the Channel at what was widely described as a “tragedy”.

A joint search and rescue operation by the French and British authorities launched after a fishing boat spotted people in the sea off France was finally called off late on Wednesday.



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