UK-France summit latest LIVE: Britain to fund new detention centre in France, Sunak announces after Macron talks

Rishi Sunak and Emmanuel Macron have agreed a deal to tackle illegal immigration that will see the UK fund a new detention centre in France.

The two leaders announced details of the package at a press conference in Paris following hour-long talks at the Elysee Palace.

The Prime Minister committed to sending Paris £478 million to help crack down on illegal migration. It will fund a new detention centre in France as well as hundreds of extra French law enforcement officers.

“This new centre will support French efforts to increase detention capacity, allowing more migrants who might otherwise travel by dangerous and illegal routes to the UK to be removed from the French coast,” the UK Government said.

But there was no sign of the returns agreement with France that the Government desires as Mr Sunak makes “stopping the boats” one of his top priorities.

Earlier on Friday Mr Sunak shook hands with his French counterpart outside the Elysee before the first UK-France summit in five years.

At the press conference, Mr Sunak hailed the UK-France summit as a “new beginning” between the two countries as he welcomed “important progress” made to tackle illegal migration.

Live coverage ends

20:48 , Josh Salisbury

Our live coverage is now ending, thank you for joining us.

Tory ex-minister: I’m ‘not enthused’ by boats deal

20:26 , Josh Salisbury

Conservative former minister Tim Loughton has said he is "not enthused" by "subsidising the French police force even more".

The East Worthing and Shoreham MP, who is a member of the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee, was reacting to Rishi Sunak's migration deal with French president Emmanuel Macron.

He told the BBC's Politics South East Programme: "We're yet to see the details. I am automatically not enthused by the prospect of subsidising the French police force even more. We've given them a lot of money, we've given them a lot of kit, we've given them a lot of joint intelligence.

"The thing that is really going to make the difference is when the French police, in their British taxpayer-funded dune buggy, intercepts a group of migrants, they are arrested, and their claims are processed by the French police - not allowed to go and reappear the following night with a new boat, which is what happens at the moment.

"Preferably, for the boats that are in the water, they would take the passengers back to the French coast."

Labour: Sunak has failed to reach ‘strong agreement’ on small boats

20:06 , Josh Salisbury

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said Rishi Sunak has “failed to secure a strong enough agreement” with France to deal with the small boats crisis.

She said: “He has failed to get a returns agreement in place and it looks like his planned new law will make it even harder to get that vital agreement with Europe.

“Meanwhile some of the border cooperation measures won’t even be in place for several years even though the problem is now.

“That’s why we are calling for a new cross border police unit to properly go after the criminal gangs now as well as new agreements on returns and family reunion to prevent dangerous boat crossings.”

Sunak says he would not give honours to family in swipe at Boris Johnson

18:16 , Josh Salisbury

Rishi Sunak has said he would not hand honours to family members in a thinly-veiled swipe at Boris Johnson's reported plans to knight his father.

Mr Johnson, who was forced out of Downing Street last September following a series of scandals, is said to have included Stanley Johnson as one of as many as 100 names put forward for honours.

Asked if prime ministers should honour relatives, Mr Sunak told reporters travelling with him on the Eurostar to Paris on Friday: “For me a big success is remembering to get my dad a card on Fathers' day, so that is probably about my limit of it."

Pressed if that should be taken as a "no", he said: “Yes. As I said, if I am doing a card I'm doing well. Love my dad as I do."

Challenged again on the principle, Mr Sunak said: “My dad's going to get a card on Fathers' Day and that is about that."

He added that he would not comment on “speculation" about his predecessor-but-one's honours list.

Sunak: New measures will put Kyiv in ‘strongest possible position'

17:19 , Josh Salisbury

Rishi Sunak has said new support measures for Ukraine agreed between the UK and France are designed to put Kyiv in the “strongest possible position" to negotiate a ceasefire.

The Prime Minister and French President Emmanuel Macron used the UK-France summit to sign off on jointly training Ukrainian marines and supplying weapons to the country in its fight against Russia's invading forces.

During a press conference in Paris, the leaders said the immediate priority was to bolster Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's forces and allow them to “mount a successful counter-offensive".

Mr Sunak announced in February, during Mr Zelensky's visit to Britain, that the UK would start to train Kyiv's marines as well as pilots.

Friday's declaration from the summit at the Elysee Palace will see France join Britain in preparing marines for the drive to purge Ukraine of Russian troops.

SNP ‘engulfed in divisions’, claims Lib Dem leader

16:52 , Josh Salisbury

The SNP has been “engulfed” by “poisonous divisions” in the contest to replace Nicola Sturgeon as Scottish first minister, Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey has said.

With Ms Sturgeon having announced she is quitting after more than eight years in charge in Scotland, Sir Ed hit out at her party’s record of “complete and utter failure” in power - and said none of the three candidates vying to succeed her would “clear up the mess she’s left behind”.

Speaking to the Scottish Liberal Democrat conference in Dundee on Friday, Sir Ed criticised the SNP’s record in areas such as health, education and crime.

As Ms Sturgeon prepares to leave office later this month, Sir Ed said “Nicola leaves huge problems behind”.

The SNP is currently holding hustings as the party gears to elect its new leader and Scotland’s new First Minister.

Rishi Sunak vows to ‘stop the boats'

16:09 , Miriam Burrell

Govt should focus on fixing asylum backlog, Red Cross says

15:48 , Miriam Burrell

Christina Marriott, executive director of strategy and communications at the British Red Cross, said: “The focus on more detention in today’s agreement with France is disappointing.

“It comes after the Government’s proposals to stop people from claiming asylum in the UK earlier this week that we remain deeply concerned about.

“We want to see a fast, fair but compassionate asylum system. But this week’s measures take us in a completely different direction.

“The Government should focus its efforts on addressing the real problems with the system – like inefficiencies that have resulted in a backlog of 160,000 people waiting for a decision on their claim.”


Throwing money at the French won’t fix asylum backlog, Amnesty says

15:21 , Miriam Burrell

Amnesty International UK called for the two countries to commit to “providing asylum” for people instead of “heartless anti-refugee measures”.

Steve Valdez-Symonds, the charity’s refugee and migrant rights director, said: “The UK receives a relatively small number of the world’s refugees, and it increasingly treats these people atrociously.

“Fortress Britain policies won’t work and people will continue to drown in the Channel if ministers stubbornly refuse to make safe routes available to people seeking asylum.

“Throwing more money at the French, the Rwandan or any other government cannot fix what the UK Government has wrecked.”

What is the new small boats deal with France?

14:56 , Miriam Burrell

Britain will pay France nearly half a billion pounds over the next three years to step up efforts to prevent small boats from crossing the Channel.

The Prime Minister committed to sending Paris £478 million (541 million euro) to fund a new detention centre in France and hundreds of extra French law enforcement officers.

Rishi Sunak said: “We’re announcing a new detention centre in northern France, a new command centre bringing our enforcement teams together in one place for the first time, and an extra 500 new officers patrolling French beaches, all underpinned by more drones and other surveillance technologies that will help ramp up the interception rate.”

 (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
(POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Pictured: Sunak and Macron press conference

14:50 , Miriam Burrell


New civil nuclear deal struck

14:46 , Miriam Burrell

Rishi Sunak said Britain and France have signed a new deal on civil nuclear co-operation.

He said: “The UK and France are working together so that never again can the likes of Putin weaponise our energy security.

“Today we’re going even further with an ambitious new energy partnership. We’ve signed a new deal on civil nuclear co-operation, agreed that France will examine the case for new energy connectors and committed to work together on low carbon energy.

“Together I believe we are creating a future where every watt of energy powering our homes and industry will come from secure, sustainable and reliable sources.”

Renewable energy collaboration between UK, France

14:44 , Miriam Burrell

Rishi Sunak said Britain and France are co-operating together to accelerate the transition to renewable energy supplies.

The Prime Minister said he is confident that after today’s summit, citizens in both countries are going to get more renewable energy “cheaper and faster”.

UK and France will train Ukrainian marines

14:41 , Miriam Burrell

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said Britain and France will train Ukrainian marines to combat Vladimir Putin’s invading forces.

He said: “We’ve agreed to train Ukrainian marines, helping to give Ukraine a decisive advantage on the battlefield and for Ukraine to win this war.”

France to build ‘new links’ with UK post Brexit

14:40 , Miriam Burrell

Emmanuel Macron said France wants to build “new links” with the UK because “it makes sense” with the two countries’ shared history, geography and “DNA”.

“But [it’s] depending on committment, willingness, but I’m sure we’ll do it,” he added.

‘These are joint efforts’, Sunak says

14:38 , Miriam Burrell

The UK has spent £300m already on UK and French efforts to stem small boat crossings across the Channel.

“What makes you think more money will be effective?” the two leaders were asked by a journalist in the press conference.

“These are joint what is a shared challenge,” Rishi Sunak said.

“There is no one solution...our new legislation will help and co-operation with our allies is an important part of that.”

Sunak: New deal goes ‘further than ever before’

14:35 , Miriam Burrell

The package the UK has agreed with France to tackle migrants crossing the Channel will see hundreds of extra French law enforcement officers using enhanced technology and intelligence to prevent the small boats.

The UK will help fund a detention centre in France for the first time.

Rishi Sunak said: “Today we have gone further than ever before to put an end to this disgusting trade in human life. Working together, the UK and France will ensure that nobody can exploit our systems with impunity.”

‘We must dismantle’ small boat crossings, Macron says

14:31 , Miriam Burrell

Emmanual Macron said France and the UK have to “dismantle” small boat crossing across the Channel.

“This is not an agreement between the UK and France but an agreement between the UK and EU,” he said, referring to the deal struck today.

“We do believe the right way to approach migrations is a border space. The EU and UK have to work together to dismantle these groups and be more efficient”.

Sunak feels ‘very fortunate’ to be serving alongside Macron

14:28 , Miriam Burrell

Rishi Sunak has said “for all the agreements reached today, in the end, it’s about people”.

“The bonds of family, friendship and solidarity,” he added.

“There’s no greater example than the sympathy of the French people on the passing of Her Majesty The Queen.”

Mr Sunak personally thanked Mr Macron for his words of tributes during that time.

“I feel very fortunate to be serving alongside you,” he added.

New deal ‘ramps up interception’ of criminal gangs

14:25 , Miriam Burrell

Criminal gangs should not get to decide who comes to our countries, Rishi Sunak has said.

“Today we’ve taken co-operation to unprecedented level,” he said, referring to the new illegal immigration deal.

The deal includes a new detention centre in northern France, a new command centre and an extra 500 new offices patrolling French beaches.

The deal also includes more drones to “ramp up the interception rate” of small boat crossings.

Summit of ‘renewed ambition’, Macron says

14:23 , Miriam Burrell

Mr Macron said the two countries have committed to greater co-operation between athletes, schools and businesses.

“It wasn’t a summit like any other, given what has happned these last few years,” Mr Macron said, but “a summit of renewed ambition”.

New illegal immigration deal confirmed

14:19 , Miriam Burrell

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has agreed a deal with French President Emmanuel Macron to tackle illegal immigration that will see the UK pay almost half a billion pounds over the next three years, with a new detention centre to be established in France.

‘New beginning’, Macron says

14:14 , Miriam Burrell

During the past five years since the last UK-France summit, both countries have experienced the Covid pandemic, seen return of war and are experiencing an energy crisis, French President Emmanuel Macron said as he opened the press conference.

Mr Macron said the UK and France have a history that binds the two countries.

Mr Macron said it’s a “new beginning” between the two countries.

Press conference to begin

13:59 , Miriam Burrell

In a few minutes we will be hearing from Rishi Sunak and Emmanuel Macron as they hold a joint press conference from Paris.

Pictured: UK France summit

13:57 , Miriam Burrell


PM and Macron had ‘warm and productive meeting'

13:48 , Bill Mcloughlin

Rishi Sunak and Emmanuel Macron are understood to have changed plans to ensure they could speak for longer in private during their “warm and productive” meeting in Paris.

The Prime Minister’s spokesman told reporter: "The Prime Minister and President Macron spoke for more than an hour one to one.

"They were joined at the end by their respective chiefs of staff for a brief period.

"It was a warm and productive meeting. They discussed the upcoming Six Nations match, having exchanged signed shirts.

"They both agreed on the need for further collaboration on a range of issues, including on defence, energy security and illegal migration."

Rishi Sunak and Emmanuel Macron deepen ‘le Bromance’ in hour-long talks

13:14 , Bill Mcloughlin

Rishi Sunak and Emmanuel Macron’s “Le Bromance” relationship saw them hold a one-to-one meeting of more than an hour at an Anglo-French summit in Paris on Friday.

The length of the get-together in the Elysee Palace took officials by surprise as it was planned to be shorter.

Only at the end did they call their respective chiefs of staff in for the meeting.

No translators were present at the meeting which was conducted in English.

They exchanged rugby shirts signed by the England and French teams due to play each other in “Le Crunch” clash at Twickenham on Saturday.

The two then met business leaders and a “family photo” of the PM, president and ministers from both countries was taken.

They then lunched on vegetarian sushi, turbot, artichoke and a praline tarte.

Read more here.

‘We want a returns agreement,’ says UK

13:06 , Bill Mcloughlin

While more money will be given to France in order to reduce the number of small boats crossing the Channel, the Prime Minister’s spokesman said the Government will push for a returns agreement going forward.

"We want a EU-UK returns agreement and will push that forward," the Prime Minister's spokesman said.

"But it is equally important that there is work on the ground right now to stop the crossings we are seeing even in these winter months."

Press conference at 2pm

12:20 , Miriam Burrell

Rishi Sunak and Emmanuel Macron will hold a joint press conference at the Elysee Palace at around 2pm after their talks in Paris, Downing Street has said.

Pictured: Sunak, Macron meet business leaders

12:10 , Miriam Burrell

Emmanuel Macron and Rishi Sunak took part in a round table with French and British companies following bilateral talks in Paris.

 (via REUTERS)

Sunak defends sending money to France

12:06 , Miriam Burrell

Speaking to reporters on the Eurostar to France, Rishi Sunak said the Government was ready to “pull all the leavers at our disposal” to stem the flow of boats.

The Prime Minister defended the cost of potentially handing more money to Paris to crack down on the problem.

He said the money invested was “yielding benefits” and the payments amounted to “sensible investments for the UK”.

“Not only are we able to intercept thousands of boats just this year...the joint work has led to something like a few hundred different arrests, disrupted something like 50 different organised crime gangs,” he said.

“We would not invest any money alongside the French in a joint endeavour unless we thought it was going to go on things that will make a difference.”

Read more here.

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

What is the current illegal migration deal with France?

11:50 , Miriam Burrell

The UK agreed in the autumn to provide £63 million to Paris in a bid to clampdown on trafficking gangs.

Under the commitment, the number of French officers patrolling beaches on the country’s northern coastline rose from 200 to 300.

British officers for the first time were also permitted to be stationed in French control rooms and on the approaches to beaches to observe operations.

Despite the measures, nearly 3,000 people have arrived via small boats in the UK already this year, with almost 46,000 arriving in 2022.

It was reported on Friday that Rishi Sunak is ready to give the green light to a deal that would secure a three-year migration agreement with Paris.

Macron: ‘We are moving forward together’

11:26 , Miriam Burrell

French President Emmanuel Macron has tweeted: “Welcome to Paris, dear Rishi Sunak.”

He said the UK and France share the same challenges, including “preservation of our planet, support for Ukraine, cooperation in matters of security and energy”.

“We are moving forward together,” he added.

Sunak has ‘high mountain to climb’ to rebuild trust

11:21 , Miriam Burrell

The Shadow Immigration Minister says Rishi Sunak has a “high mountain to climb in terms of rebuilding trust” with France and the wider European Union following Brexit.

Stephen Kinnock told Sky News that successive government’s “destroyed” the UK’s relationship with the EU.

“The returns agreement needs to be top of the list,” he said about bilateral talks in Paris today.

“The UK and Paris need to go hand in hand to the EU for further negotiations to get a returns agreement...that will really break morale of the people smugglers and that will make it clear if you come on a small boat, you will be sent back because there are safe and legal routes instead, as agreed through UK and EU negotiations.”

Shadow Immigration Minister Stephen Kinnock (Getty Images)
Shadow Immigration Minister Stephen Kinnock (Getty Images)

‘It’s great to be in Paris’, Sunak says

10:39 , Miriam Burrell

Foreign Secretary confirms more money for France

10:35 , Miriam Burrell

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly confirmed more money would be handed to France for joint efforts to prevent small boats heading across the Channel.

Speaking from Paris, he told BBC Breakfast: “It will cost money, it has cost money and of course we will be negotiating how we fund that joint work to prevent those migration attempts across the Channel.

“We have been spending money doing this, it’s right and proper that we do and of course we will be spending money in the future.”

Emmanuel Macron and Rishi Sunak at Elysee Palace (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Emmanuel Macron and Rishi Sunak at Elysee Palace (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Bilateral talks begin

09:54 , Sarah Harvey

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has arrived at the Elysee Palace in Paris.

He shook hands with French President Emmanuel Macron on the steps outside before entering the building for bilateral talks.

Rishi Sunak and Emmanuel Macron (REUTERS)
Rishi Sunak and Emmanuel Macron (REUTERS)

Pictured: Rishi Sunak arrives in Paris

09:51 , Miriam Burrell


Tackling illegal migration not ‘primary goal’ for Macron

09:31 , Miriam Burrell

Tackling illegal migration will not be “a primary goal” for French President Emmanuel Macron, according to French MEP Nathalie Loiseau.

Ms Loiseau, who also chairs the European Parliament’s EU-UK Parliamentary Partnership Assembly, added that the UK is no longer in a position to directly negotiate the return of people who cross the Channel to France illegally due to Brexit.

She told BBC Radio 4: “The UK decided to leave the European Union, so there is no bilateral agreement possible.

“It’s in a EU competence, and the UK should try to negotiate a deal with the European Union.

“This is not on the table, getting people back from the UK, but more can be done to fight against smugglers.”

Pictured: Rishi Sunak travels to Paris

09:11 , Miriam Burrell

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak spoke to media on his Eurostar train to Paris this morning.


UK, France partnership ‘runs deep’, Sunak says

09:06 , Miriam Burrell

Three-year migrant deal between UK and France - reports

09:03 , Miriam Burrell

Rishi Sunak is expected to provide millions of pounds for France to invest in police patrols and intelligence in a further crackdown on small boat crossings.

The Times is reporting that the Prime Minister will agree to give France annual payments for at least three years that could exceed £200 million.

Under the terms of the deal hundreds more French police officers will patrol beaches and there is expected to be greater intelligence-sharing and investment in technology such as drones, according to reports.

Migrants arrive at Dungeness beach after attempting to cross the Channel on small boats (AFP via Getty Images)
Migrants arrive at Dungeness beach after attempting to cross the Channel on small boats (AFP via Getty Images)

What will be discussed?

08:34 , Miriam Burrell

Rishi Sunak and Emmanuel Macron are expected to discuss a new deal on tackling unlawful migration and support for Ukraine.

They are set to give the go-ahead on enhanced UK-France military co-ordination, including agreeing to scope the co-development of “next-generation deep precision strike weaponry”, No 10 said.

The pair will also make agreements on supplying weapons to Kyiv, working jointly to train Ukrainian marines, and discuss how Nato members can support Ukraine.

Their attention will turn to the Indo-Pacific, a region the UK has already agreed to “tilt” its foreign and defence policy towards, and “responding to the challenge posed by China”.

What is happening today?

08:19 , Miriam Burrell

Rishi Sunak’s Eurostar train bound for Paris left London at 7am on Friday.

The Prime Minister is expected to arrive in the French capital around 9am to meet President Emmanuel Macron.

Bilateral talks between the two will begin at 10am and the leaders will meet UK and French business leaders at 11am.

Mr Macron and Mr Sunak will hold a joint press conference at 2pm and a joint statement is expected by the end of today.