Migrants: Boris Johnson speaks after deaths in the Channel
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On top of the current controversy regarding fishing permits that have been deteriorating diplomatic relations between France and the UK, a migrant journey between Calais and British shores ended up with dozens of casualties on Wednesday. The catastrophe follows recent updates from Gérald Darmanin, the French Interior Minister, who revealed local authorities would be better equipped with night-vision apparatus and new vehicles while patrolling the coast.
Funding for the new equipment comes from the £9m of British taxpayers money Priti Patel agreed to send to France after the £54 million deal she signed last July.
Reports published last week said Boris Johnson was allegedly “exasperated” by the unsolved migrant crisis.
A senior government source told The Times: “He sees this as one of his biggest priorities and he’s concerned that after two years there are still no viable solutions.
“He’s told ministers to redouble efforts to fix this, no matter how difficult it is.
“If it looks bad now, it’s going to look much worse in spring when it’s warmer.”
Downing Street confirmed Boris Johnson has spoken with Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday evening “following the distressing loss of life in the Channel.”
A Number 10 spokesman said: “They agreed on the urgency of stepping up joint efforts to prevent these deadly crossings and to do everything possible to stop the gangs responsible for putting people’s lives at risk.
“They underlined the importance of close working with neighbours in Belgium and the Netherlands as well as partners across the continent if we are to tackle the problem effectively before people reach the French coast.
“Both leaders were clear that today’s tragic loss of life was a stark reminder that it is vital to keep all options on the table to stop these lethal crossings and break the business model of the criminal gangs behind them.”
On Wednesday Emmanuel Macron urged “European ministers faced with the migration challenge” to meet following today’s deaths.
The French president added he won’t let the Channel become a “cemetery.”
He said: “It is Europe’s deepest values, humanism, respect for the dignity of each person, that are in mourning.”
Migrant crisis: Boris Johnson vows to take on people smuggling gangs [BREAKING]
Channel horror: Little girl and five women among dead [REPORT]
UK using drone checks to monitor migrant crossing five days a week [ANALYSIS]
Mr Macron went on to promise to find those responsible for the deaths of 31 people who drowned while attempting to reach the UK on Wednesday.
BFM TV reported Macron as saying: “France will not let the Channel become a cemetery, the networks of smugglers endanger lives and challenge what we are.”
The International Organisation for Migration said Wednesday’s catastrophe was the biggest single loss of life in the Channel since it began collecting data in 2014.
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