Home Office 'targeting Channel migrants deal after French elections'

Home Office ‘gives up hope’ of Channel migrants deal with France before Emmanuel Macron’s re-election battle in April

  • Home Office officials said to have ‘given up’ on striking deal in next few months
  • They believe they will have to wait for the French presidential election in April 
  • Comes after 2021 saw more than 27,000 migrants make trip across Channel  
  • The Home Office has ‘all but given up’ on striking a new deal with France to tackle Channel migrant crossings before the French presidential election in April, it was claimed today. 

    Priti Patel‘s officials are working on plans to stop people making the perilous journey in small boats after 2021 saw a new record high. 

    But the proposals are only expected to be presented to Paris ‘once the heat of the election is over’ as Emmanuel Macron battles to keep his job. 

    Priti Patel's officials are working on plans to stop people making the perilous journey in small boats after 2021 saw a new record high

    Priti Patel’s officials are working on plans to stop people making the perilous journey in small boats after 2021 saw a new record high

    But the proposals are only expected to be presented to Paris 'once the heat of the election is over' as Emmanuel Macron battles to keep his job

    But the proposals are only expected to be presented to Paris ‘once the heat of the election is over’ as Emmanuel Macron battles to keep his job

    Estimates suggest that more than 27,000 people reached the UK last year after navigating busy shipping lanes from France in small boats. 

    That is more than three times the 8,420 people who were recorded crossing in 2020 which was the previous record high.   

    The sinking of a boat in November last year which resulted in the death of 27 people prompted emergency talks between London and Paris as they sought to hammer out an agreement to stop the crossings. 

    But a breakthrough remained elusive amid a rumbling dispute between Boris Johnson and Mr Macron over a number of issues including Brexit fishing rights.  

    One Home Office official who took part in talks in Paris told The Times: ‘Macron’s officials just sat there saying “non, non, non,” to all our proposals. 

    ‘They didn’t have to say it but they were basically saying there’s no chance of a breakthrough before the election.’ 

    Estimates suggest that more than 27,000 people reached the UK last year after navigating busy shipping lanes from France in small boats. Migrants are pictured arriving at the Port of Dover onboard a Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) lifeboat on December 16

    Estimates suggest that more than 27,000 people reached the UK last year after navigating busy shipping lanes from France in small boats. Migrants are pictured arriving at the Port of Dover onboard a Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) lifeboat on December 16 

    Officials believe Mr Macron is politically unable to offer any significant concessions on the issue before the election. 

    They are now targeting a breakthrough after the poll in April and are hoping the next French president, whether Mr Macron or someone else, will return to the negotiating table with fresh ideas. 

    The UK Government is currently pushing its Nationality and Borders Bill through Parliament which will radically overhaul the asylum system.