Gloating French claim 'nothing to learn from British' as migrant row erupts

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    In 2021, the UK has seen record numbers of channel crossings, with more than 23,500 people making the journey. The high number of crossings has seen British officials furious with France, with a Paris official now mocking the UK for its handling of migrant crossings.

    Gérald Darmanin, Interior Minister, dismissed suggestions France has lessons to learn on management of migrants who want to reach Britain.

    His comments come ahead of his meeting with Home Secretary Priti Patel on Monday evening.

    He said the UK “must stop taking us for punching bags of their domestic politics”, and stressed “we have no lessons to receive from the British”.

    He added: “We are neither their collaborators nor their auxiliaries.”

    Mr Darmanin then claimed the situation in Calais was the fault of Boris Johnson’s Government.

    He fired at Ms Patel ahead of their meeting; “I would remind my British counterpart that the NGOs that are preventing the police and gendarmerie from working are largely British NGOs with British citizens who are on French soil and doing agitprop.

    The French minister also pointed out that “the smugglers, who organise networks and exploit women and children (…) are very often in Britain”.

    He also blasted the “labour market which in Britain works largely thanks to a reserve army, as Karl Marx would say, of illegal migrants who can work at low cost”.

    Mr Darmanin added: “If the British changed their legislation very strongly – they have done so, but not enough – people would no longer be in Calais or Dunkirk.

    “We are the ones who suffer from the British policy. We shouldn’t reverse the roles.”

    READ MORE: Brexit: Ignore Article 16 – EU told border is ‘your problem’

    Ms Patel’s meeting with Mr Darmanin comes after the UK saw a record 1,185 migrants arrived on Thursday.

    The figure surged past the previous record of 853 crossings in one day, set just eight days earlier.

    So far in 2021, more than 23,500 people have crossed the channel into the UK to seek asylum.

    This year’s figure is nearly three times the 8,400 recorded throughout the the whole of 2020.

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    British officials claimed a the lack of enforcement over channel crossings on the French coast is part of a “Brexit punishment strategy”.

    A UK Government source told The Times: “They don’t think the French are going to give them anything at all.

    “With the elections coming up they think it will only get worse.

    “They think it’s part of Macron’s Brexit punishment strategy.”

    Gen Frantz Tavart, who oversees the 130 gendarmes policing a 45-mile stretch of coastline covering the Pas-de-Calais region, has blasted back at accusations Paris is intentionally allowing migrants to cross to the UK.

    He told the Telegraph: “I can tell you categorically that the orders coming from French authorities are to be as effective as possible to try and intercept a maximum number of migrants.

    “It would be as stupid to suggest we would open the migratory floodgates due to a fishing dispute as it would to suggest we shouldn’t turn out to commemorate the British soldiers who died on French soil on Armistice Day, which I did today in Arras.”

    Border Force is expecting a surge of people over the next three days because forecasts predict wave heights as low as 30cm (1ft) today, tomorrow and on Wednesday.

    Waves are also expected to increase to 1m by the end of the week.

    Additional reporting from Maria Ortega



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