Downing Street said that a deal between France and the UK to combat people who cross the Channel using small boats is in its “final stage”.
Rishi Sunak had met Emmanuel Macron, France’s president, earlier today at the COP27 Climate Talks in Egypt to discuss this issue. The prime minister said he left with “renewing confidence and optimism”.
Sunak stated that there would be more details in the next weeks.
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When pressed for details, his spokesperson said that a deal was in the works and that talks were ongoing separately to determine if they would include Home Office officials.
Nearly 40,000 migrants arrived in the UK this year after crossing the Channel.
According to reports, Mr Sunak wants to reach an agreement with Mr Macron on stopping boats and the number of French officers who patrol beaches. He also wants to allow French Border Force officers to deploy to France.
Prime Minister said he was determined to handle the situation but also stated that there wasn’t a single solution that would solve it overnight. He pledged to work with European leaders to address the “shared problem”.
After the meeting, the spokesperson for the French president stated that the leaders had agreed to keep in touch in order to improve coordination between the countries in the face the challenges of irregular migration.
Sir Keir Starmer, Labour leader, said earlier that he would work upstream with Mr Macron to “stop the smugglers” if he was prime minister. He added: “Before becoming a politician I was director for public prosecutions. I understand how these cross-border operations operate.
“That’s the kind of discussion I’d have. I hope it will be the discussion our prime minister will have.”
“Challenge far from finished”
Last week, the migrant crisis was highlighted by crowding at the Manston processing center in Kent. There were 4,000 migrants who had crossed the border and were crammed into a space that could hold 1,600.
This led to increasing pressure on Mr Sunak regarding his reappointment as Home Secretary Suella Braverman. There were claims that she ignored legal advice and prevented people from being moved to hotels. She denies these accusations.
Sir Roger Gale, a veteran Tory MP, spoke in the Commons today. He had previously described the Manston situation “a breach of humanity conditions” and said that “we are almost back to where it needs to be, with the Manston processing center operating efficiently.”
Robert Jenrick, the immigration minister, assured him that Manston was a processing center and not an accommodation facility.
Jenrick stated that the number of people living in Manston has fallen to 1,600. It was not the government’s intention that Manston be made into a permanent housing site for migrants.
He stated that the population has returned to a reasonable level, which is a significant achievement. It is essential that it continues to be so. He is correct to point out that the challenge remains…we must be aware of this and plan accordingly.
Lee Anderson, Tory MP from Nottinghamshire, stated that sourcing accommodation to “illegal immigrants” left him with a “bitter” taste in his throat.
“I have 5,000 Ashfield residents who want to live in council housing, but they can’t get it. He said, “But, we’re still here debating the nonsense once more.”
“The blame lies in that place right now. When are we going back to do the right thing, and send them back that day?
Jenrick stated that the government should be guided by “our common desire for decency, because those are our values,” but also by hard-headed common sense.