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Boris Johnson presents five-point Channel plan to Macron after deaths

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Boris Johnson and Macron

There appears to be deeper cooperation to break trade after a tragic loss of life on Wednesday (Photo: PA / Rex / Reuters / AP)

Boris Johnson set out a five-point plan to Emmanuel Macron after the disaster that occurred yesterday in the Channel.

The Prime Minister wrote to his Paris counterpart asking him to cooperate more to prevent people from attempting the dangerous crossing.

More than 25,000 people have crossed the dangerous waters in small boats so far this year and 27 people have lost their lives trying to emulate them yesterday.

The French prosecutor’s office investigating the incident said the dead included 17 men, seven women, plus two boys and a girl who are believed to be teenagers.

President Macron has confirmed that he is seeking further help to crack down on human trafficking networks operating on the north coast of France.

Mr Johnson said his plan, which includes joint patrols to prevent boats from leaving France and a bilateral return agreement, would have an immediate and significant impact on crossings.

He also suggested that the deal would be in France’s best interests by breaking the business model of the criminal gangs that run the smuggling trade in people from Normandy.

epa09602238 Graves of migrants who died trying to cross illegally from France to Britain, at the Nord cemetery, in Calais, France, 25 November 2021. At least 27 migrants died and two others were taken to hospital after a boat in which they were attempting to cross the English Channel to Great Britain sank on November 24.  EPA / MOHAMMED BADRA

Some of those killed were buried in Calais but others continue to attempt the crossing (Photo: EPA)
Gangsters can earn tens of thousands from a single boat full of desperate people looking to start a new life in the UK (Photo: Reuters)

In an open letter posted on Twitter, he called for joint patrols to prevent more boats from leaving French beaches and for the deployment of more advanced technologies, like sensors and radars.

He also suggested reciprocal maritime patrols in each other’s territorial waters with airborne surveillance and real-time intelligence sharing to make more arrests.

Finally, he called for immediate work on a bilateral return agreement with France, alongside talks to establish a return agreement between the UK and the EU.

Mr Johnson added: If those who reach this country were promptly returned, the incentive for people to put their lives in the hands of traffickers would be greatly reduced.

It would be the biggest step we can take together to reduce the attractiveness of northern France and break the economic model of criminal gangs.

I am confident that by taking these steps and building on our existing cooperation, we can fight illegal migration and prevent more families from suffering the devastating loss we saw yesterday.

More than 25,000 people made it through this year, but dozens lost their lives (Photo: AFP)
A protest took place outside the Home Office today with people calling for more action to protect vulnerable people trying to cross (Photo: PA)

Earlier Home Secretary Priti Patel said the drownings were a horrendous shock and described the crossings as absolutely unnecessary after renewing an offer to send British officers to join patrols on French beaches during ‘an appeal with the French Minister of the Interior Gerald Darmanin.

She said in an emergency declaration in the Commons: There is no quick fix either.

It’s about tackling long-term pull factors, crushing criminal gangs that treat people like commodities, and attacking supply chains.

The government subsequently confirmed that Ms Patel will meet with Mr Darmanin over the weekend to discuss the response to the crisis, while officials from the Interior Ministry and law enforcement officials will visit. in Paris on Friday to step up cooperation and intelligence sharing.

Two more small boats carrying desperate individuals are believed to have arrived on British shores today.

A group wearing life jackets and wrapped in blankets were seen curled up aboard an RNLI lifeboat before disembarking in Dover on Thursday morning. Strong winds interrupted crossings later in the day.

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

Five people were arrested by French authorities following Wednesday’s capsizing, with prosecutors pursuing possible homicide charges.

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