Eustice grilled on 'irony' of French letting migrants cross channel
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Tensions between France and the United Kingdom over the management of migrants in Calais have been soaring in the past few weeks. Mayor of Calais Natacha Bouchart issued a threat to Boris Johnson over the dispute, accusing the UK Prime Minister of lacking the “courage” to reform Britain’s immigration system.
She said: “We must engage in an arm wrestle with Boris Johnson.
“That’s the only way the British understand.
“And if migrants continue to go to England, it’s because the British government doesn’t have the courage to review their reception system.
“Migrants still have income when they arrive.
“They still have the black market, they still have the advantages.
“I’m sorry, but if we don’t go to this arm wrestling, we will not achieve anything.
“The people who live this every day have to get tough and not be afraid.
“Today we are not at the level we should be.
“We need to review the bilateral agreements between France and England and the Touquet Treaty.”
More than 400 people were rescued during a French-led rescue operation in the Strait of Pas-de-Calais on Tuesday night and into Wednesday, French authorities said.
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A person has died and another is missing after trying to cross the English Channel to get to the UK.
It is believed the person was unconscious when they were pulled from the water and pronounced dead when rescuers returned to the dock.
Searches were carried out after rescued migrants said someone had fallen into the water, according to the authorities.
It comes as figures showed more than 20,000 migrants have travelled to the UK in small boats so far this year.
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On Tuesday, UK authorities rescued or intercepted 456 people who had navigated busy shipping lanes from France in small boats.
According to data compiled by the PA news agency, prior to that at least 19,756 people had already reached the UK so far this year, bringing the total to more than 20,200.
This is more than double the total for the whole of 2020.
Additional reporting by Maria Ortega
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