A blame game has broken out over the English Channel after at least 27 migrants died in a people smuggler’s boatwreck with the United Kingdom, which has done nothing to prevent illegal and dangerous channel crossings pointing the finger at France, which has also done nothing to prevent illegal and dangerous channel crossings.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that French efforts to stop migrant boats “haven’t been enough” after one vessel capsized off the coast of Calais, leaving at least 27 dead, including at least one pregnant woman.
The comments were made by the prime minister after an emergency meeting of COBRA, the UK’s emergency response team.
Channel Migrant Crisis: Dozens Reported Dead as Boat Capsizes Off the Coast of Calais, Johnson Convenes Emergency Meeting https://t.co/NanutVSMjk
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) November 24, 2021
According to the BBC, Boris Johnson also said that there had been great difficulty persuading France, along with other third-party countries, to take action “in a way that we think the situation deserves”.
“I say to our partners now is the time for us all to step up, to work together, to do everything we can to break these gangs who are literally getting away with murder,” the prime minister said after the tragedy.
“There is no doubt the gangsters concerned, unless they are shown their business model won’t work, they can’t simply get people over the Channel from France to the UK, they will continue to see people put people’s lives at risk and get away with murder,” Johnson added.
Before yesterday’s incident, French officials had previously put the number of migrants who have died trying to cross the English Channel this year at 14. The International Organization for Migration also said per the BBC that the deaths were the worst single loss of life in the English Channel since it began keeping records in 2014. Meanwhile, it is estimated that people smugglers involved in the Channel crisis can earn as much as €350,000 (£295,000/$393,000) per boat.
At a meeting earlier in the day, the prime minister had reportedly stated that he was planning to take action over the crisis. Such claims have been made dozens of times before, indeed the Channel Migrant Crisis was declared a “major incident” all the way back in 2018 but nothing concrete has actually been done to dissuade crossings.
Yet the tragedy in the Channel this week, where migrants died at the hands of callous people traffickers — as they have all over Europe over the Europe Migrant Crisis — may yet prompt Britain into belated action.
“He was saying that the French have been particularly unhelpful,” one MP present at the latest meeting with the British Prime Minister told The Times. “We told him he just needs to be resolute like the Australians and we will back him.”
Another who attended said that “he agreed that we can’t just wait for the borders bill, but that we have to do something now. He told us to ‘watch this space’.”
Outrage has also been sparked over perceived inaction by the French police regarding the crisis.
Conservative MP Natalie Elphicke said that the French were “playing us for fools” after an image surfaced appearing to show French police merely watching migrants launch a 30ft inflatable dingy on France’s north coast.
“It’s infuriating to see pictures of the French authorities seemingly standing by and just watching while migrants pile into small boats and launch themselves into the water,” the MP said, according to a report by The Telegraph.
Migrant Arrivals Around TRIPLE that of 2020, Majority of Voters Think Tories Are ‘Too Soft’ on Crisis https://t.co/dQYvILDYkz
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) November 23, 2021
French officials have meanwhile reported that President Emmanuel Macron told Johnson that “he was expecting the British to cooperate fully, and that they abstain from instrumentalizing a tragic situation for political purposes”.
“France will not let the Channel become a cemetery,” the French president said in a separate statement made on Wednesday evening.
Meanwhile, right-wing populist French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen criticised Macron’s government, saying: “Lax migration policies lead to tragedies.”
It was reported on Tuesday that France had purchased 100 vehicles at a cost of around £9 million to help prevent migrant crossings.
Around 25,000 migrants have illegally crossed the English Channel this year, around three times the number of those who made the journey last year, with some migrants being bussed over 500 miles away for processing as UK immigration infrastructure is overwhelmed.
Brexit leader Nigel Farage stated that he was sad to hear of the tragedy, but that he was not surprised, having repeatedly warned that such a tragedy was on the cards if boats were not turned back.
“These people are taking huge risks,” Farage stated, and that the crisis was not “getting any better”.
They’re Using Jet Skis Now! Nigel Farage Says UK’s Migrant Crisis ‘Humiliation Continues’ https://t.co/IRSb3mr1j0
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) November 17, 2021