French government disputes Home Office account of Patel migrants meeting

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Migrants at a makeshift camp on the site of a former industrial complex in Grande-Synthe, east of Dunkirk, as French police are evacuating migrants from the site, where at least 1,500 people had gathered in hopes of making it across the English Channel to Britain. Picture date: Tuesday November 16, 2021. (PA Wire)
Migrants at a makeshift camp on the site of a former industrial complex in Grande-Synthe, east of Dunkirk, as French police are evacuating migrants from the site, where at least 1,500 people had gathered in hopes of making it across the English Channel to Britain. Picture date: Tuesday November 16, 2021. (PA Wire)

France has rejected a British claim that Priti Patel and her counterpart Gerald Darmanin agreed to work to prevent “100% of crossings” of the English Channel

The Home Office issued a joint statement from the pair which said they had agreed measures to “stop the dangerous crossings” of the “deadly route”.

But the French embassy in London said the 100% figure “should not be presented as an agreed figure”.

Ms Patel and Mr Darmanin held talks on Monday night with the UK and France involved in a long-running row over how to address the problem of migrants seeking to cross the Channel.

The “joint statement” issued afterwards said: “Both the Home Secretary and interior minister agreed to strengthen operational cooperation further.

“More must be done to stop the dangerous crossings.

“They agreed to accelerate the delivery of the commitments made in the joint agreement of July 2021 to deliver on their joint determination to prevent 100% of crossings and make this deadly route unviable.”

But the French embassy said on Twitter: “For the record, the 100% figure was not agreed between the Home Secretary and French interior minister @GDarmanin and should not be presented as an agreed commitment: it is not.

“And it is not part of the joint statement.”

However, in a press conference on October 9, Mr Darmanin said that with the correct resources and the support of the British authorities, 100% should be able to be reached.

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