France says UK CAN'T turn around migrant dinghies
Britain has made a dramatic offer to pick up and return migrant boats in the Channel that resist French intervention, it emerged as roughly 2,000 migrants gathered by the Channel.
The UK's offer – made as a result of growing exasperation with the crisis in the Channel – has been rebuffed by France.
Amid record numbers of crossings, it is understood that UK officials have been left hugely frustrated at the inability to intercept migrants at sea and turn them around.
Privately, the UK authorities admit that the surge in arrivals will continue for the rest of the year because they do not have a 'silver bullet' to solve the issue.
It is now believed that the number of migrants in northern France has roughly doubled since March, with more than 9,000 already having reached Britain so far in 2021. Around 8,000 people have been prevented from crossing.
Organised gangs now rely to an extent on small boats due to reductions in ferry crossing amid the Covid pandemic.
Sources said tackling the surge has been complicated because most migrants now try to resist intervention in French waters, sometimes threatening violence. Under its interpretation of maritime law, France says it can only then intervene if there is an immediate danger to life.
So in cases where migrants threaten violence or resist, French patrols are instead forced to watch the boats until UK border officials take over.
In an attempt to solve the issue, UK sources said yesterday that the nation's warships were offered to intercept such vessels before taking them back through French waters.
But the measure was ruled out by Paris due to the political difficulty for a 'proud sovereign nation' giving Britain permission to return migrants to its shores.