The French government has told British Home Secretary Priti Patel that she is no longer invited to a meeting on the canal migration crisis after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson criticized Paris’ handling of the situation.
- British Prime Minister Boris Johnson sent a letter to France after 27 migrants drowned in the English Channel
- Johnson said France was to blame for the tragedy
- France took offense at the letter, calling it “unacceptable and contrary to the spirit” of the partnership
France took offense at a letter Johnson sent to President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday.
A source close to Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin described the letter as “unacceptable and contrary to the spirit of our discussions between partners”.
The decision underscored the poor post-Brexit relations between the two countries and the difficulties they may face in working together to stem the flow of migrants after 27 people drowned in an attempt to reach British shores on Wednesday.
“[Mr] Darmanin told her counterpart that she was no longer welcome, “a spokesman for Mr Darmanin told BFM TV.
British officials in London said they hoped Paris would reconsider.
“No nation can tackle this alone, and therefore I hope the French will reconsider,” Transport Minister Grant Shapps told BBC News.
When their dinghy emptied into the Channel earlier this week, 17 men, seven women and three teenagers died in one of many such risky journeys, attempted in small, overloaded by both people fleeing poverty and war in Afghanistan, Iraq and continue.
It was the worst such tragedy ever in the narrow seaway that separates Britain and France, which is one of the world’s busiest sailing routes.
Johnson said France was to blame, and Mr Darmanin accused Britain of “poor immigration management”.
The deaths intensified hostilities between Britain and France, which already disagreed on post-Brexit trade rules and fishing rights.
French fishermen on Friday blocked a small British cargo ship from docking in Saint-Malo and later plans to block the port of Calais and the Channel Tunnel, both important hubs for trade between Britain and Europe.