France stops only HALF of migrant crossings despite UK paying huge sum
James Cleverly hits back at Gary Lineker claims
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Britain has handed France an eye-watering £300 million to stop Channel migrant crossings but the success rate only stands at around 50 percent, research shows. It comes as Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is today meeting French President Emmanuel Macron at a summit in Paris where the issue of small boats will be high on the agenda.
According to a House of Commons research briefing in December 2022, the UK has committed £232 million since 2014 in successive agreements with France to get a grip on the problem.
The document also shows additional payments of almost £87 million.
But despite the huge amounts of money being coughed up, the success rate at stopping small boat crossings is only around 50 percent.
Evidence provided to the Home Affairs Committee last October from the Home Office showed that so far in 2022, the French authorities had stopped 42.5 percent – 28,000 people – attempting to make the dangerous journey.
They had also intercepted and destroyed 53.4 percent – 1,072 – of boats.
In 2021 the interception rates for people and boats were both about 50 percent.
It comes amid reports Mr Sunak will announce that Britain will give France £200 million to invest in police, security and intelligence to help solve the small boats crisis.
The Prime Minister said he is “throwing everything” at tackling the problem as he defended the prospect of handing the French government millions more pounds.
Speaking on the Eurostar to France, Mr Sunak said the UK Government was ready to “pull all the levers at our disposal” to stem the flow of boats.
He said the money invested was “yielding benefits” and the payments amounted to “sensible investments for the UK”.
Mr Sunak said: “If you look at the track record in the last couple of years more recently, not only are we able to intercept thousands of boats just this year, actually, which is positive, the joint work has led to something like a few hundred different arrests, disrupted something like 50 different organised crime gangs.
“That’s the outcome of all that joint work, so those are sensible investments for the UK.
“I think everyone knows that we are spending £5.5 million a day plus on hotels.
“We would rather not do that, and the best way to stop that is to stop people coming in the first place.”
Meanwhile, Foreign Secretary James Cleverly this morning defended the large sums of cash already sent to Paris over the years to try to solve the problem.
Mr Cleverly told GB News: “The truth is we have already seeing a return on our investment.
“The French authorities have stopped around half of the attempted crossings.
“But we are seeing unprecedented numbers of people who are migrating through continental Europe, often through France attempting to get to the UK.
“It is in our collective interests to get a grip on this. The French authorities and the British authorities have been working together, we want to find ways of being able to do more together, to be more effective together, this is in part what we will be discussing today at the Anglo-French summit.
“The money that we have been spending with the French authorities has made a difference.
“There have been many more people making the attempt, as I say the French have stopped around of the attempted crossings and we’re looking at finding ways of working with them to try and do more.”
Senior Conservative Sir John Redwood urged the Prime Minister to “seek value for the money” during his meeting with his French counterpart.
Sir John said: “When the PM talks to President Macron tomorrow he should seek value for the money we give France to stop the small boats.
“Why do they let so many obviously illegal, life-threatening and overloaded boats set out from their beaches?
“The UK giving France more money whilst they allow thousands to leave their beaches on illegal boats risking their lives would not be a good deal.”
Nearly 3,000 people have arrived via small boats in the UK already this year but it is understood that Paris has successfully prevented around the same number from leaving the large stretch of coastline in northern France to southern England.
A record of over 45,000 migrants made the perilous journey in flimsy dinghies across the English Channel last year.
The UK Government is known to want a bilateral returns agreement with Paris, a deal that would allow London to immediately return those arriving on British shores unlawfully from France.
The meeting is unlikely to lead to a breakthrough on such an accord, with British ministers and diplomats instead privately aiming to cajole Mr Macron’s administration into being a driving force behind an EU-wide returns agreement with the UK.
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