Interior minister Patel says migrants see France as racist, Mail reports

17 Août, 2020, 02:26 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • The boat returned to sea after dropping the group off

The Mail on Sunday quoted a government source as saying that Patel made clear the views were those of migrants and not her own. One MP claimed Ms Patel had told them: 'France is a racist country.

Priti Patel sparked a diplomatic row last night by claiming migrants were crossing the Channel to escape "racist" France, where they feared they would be tortured.

One of the MPs, whose identity was not revealed, was quoted as telling local media that Patel "told us some believe racism to be an issue" when asked why migrants would want to reach the UK.

The Royal Air Force dispatched a surveillance plane to patrol the English Channel for the first time this week, as British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Home Secretary Priti Patel stepped up responses to the growing arrivals.

Priti Patel, the home secretary, and French counterpart Gérald Darmanin signed an agreement last month creating a joint police intelligence unit to combat migrant traffickers, but it is unclear whether this has had any impact. "She was merely trying to explain the pull factors".

The Sunday Telegraph newspaper reported that officials were planning for naval and border force vessels to pick up the migrants and take them directly back to northern France. Officials said a record number of migrants, 235, had arrived on one day last week. (Photo by Ben STANSALL / AFP) / The erroneous date appearing in the caption of this photo by Ben STANSALL has been modified in AFP systems in the following manner: [August 14, 2020] instead of [August 13, 2020]. We are sorry for the inconvenience this notification may cause and remain at your disposal for any further information you may require.

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The Royal Navy has been called in for the first time this summer to help deal with the crisis, after over 1,000 people reached the United Kingdom shores in the last ten days, reported The Telegraph.

More than 4,000 people have successfully crossed the English Channel in hundreds of boats so far this year, according to government figures. A spate of good weather has seen increased numbers of refugees attempting to cross the channel to the United Kingdom from Calais, which has prompted the Home Office to request support from the Royal Navy in stopping the crossings.

However, the spokesman said the Government had limited scope for action until the Brexit transition period comes to an end at the end of the year.

The spokesperson said: "The home secretary is clearly frustrated by the increasing number of small boats crossing the Channel, this is compounded by the fact that we are now restricted in our response by European Union regulations".

The mayor of the French port city of Calais has told Boris Johnson to "calm down" and change strategy in dealing with migrants crossing from France.

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