Macron Punishing UK with Migrant Crisis Because of Brexit, Ministers Believe: Report

DOVER, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 08: A group of migrants are brought into Dover docks by Border Force on September 8, 2021 in Dover, England. The week has seen a major increase in migrant numbers due to fair weather. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Ministers in the British government reportedly believe that French President Emmanuel Macron is punishing the UK by allowing tens of thousands of illegals to cross the English Channel because of Brexit and for political gain ahead of the 2022 presidential elections.

The UK saw its first day ever of more than 1,000 illegal boat migrants land on British shores on Thursday, with a record-breaking 1,185 arrivals. So far, more than 23,500 illegal aliens have successfully reached the UK since the start of this year, with the former head of Border Force Tony Smith warning the UK could see 100,000 migrants arrive annually unless a deal is struck with France.

The record-breaking daily arrivals came shortly after the British government had signed off on the first instalment of £54 million in taxpayers’ money going to the French to support them policing their maritime borders, as their country becomes a transit zone for mostly young men from Africa and the Middle East to illegally cross the English Channel.

But British government ministers doubt that millions in bribes to the French will solve the issue, according to a government source speaking to The Times.

“They [ministers] don’t think the French are going to give them anything at all,” the source told the newspaper of record in an article published on Monday.

Implying that Macron was using the crisis to both punish Britain for leaving the EU and for political gain domestically, the source continued: “With the elections coming up they think it will only get worse. They think it’s part of Macron’s Brexit punishment strategy.”

“Unfortunately we’re just part of a much bigger issue with the election, Northern Ireland and fishing. They don’t want to be using French taxpayers’ money ahead of the election,” another source, this time from the Home Office, the department in charge of borders and security, told the newspaper.

France has already attempted to avoid responsibility for the crisis by chastising the UK, with its interior minister, Gérald Darmanin, saying that his country “needs no lesson from the British” over the Channel migrant crisis.

Ahead of a crunch meeting with his British counterpart Home Secretary Priti Patel, Mr Darmanin told CNews in comments reported by POLITICO Europe: “The British must stop using us as punching bags for their domestic politics.”

He also alleged that the majority of aid charities “preventing police from working are mostly British NGOs… with British citizens that are doing agitprop on French territory”.

“The smugglers, who organise networks and exploit women and children, are very often based in Britain,” he added.

Darmanin further blamed the draw for illegals to travel to the UK on the British black labour market, “which, in the UK, mostly works thanks to a reserve army, as Marx would say, of irregular workers who can be hired at low cost”.

Unlikely remarks the UK government, or indeed concerned Britons, wish to hear, the criticisms of black economies operating widely in the UK as a draw for illegal mass migration have been raised before by Brexit leader Nigel Farage, often during his coverage of the migrant landings.

Meanwhile, Tony Smith, the former director-general of the Border Force, predicted that illegal landings could be five times higher in the coming years, up to 100,000 annually without a deal with France.

“If you’re talking about 1,000 a day you are getting to the epidemic proportions I predicted we might reach in 2001. That’s when we had 100,000 in a year with the vast majority coming across the Channel,” the former border chief said.

Smith, who had helped forge a deal with France in the early 2000s to hold back a similar surge in landings and which led to the closure of the infamous Sangatte camp, told The Telegraph: “If we don’t fix the problem of returns, we cannot stop the boats. They will keep coming until and unless we get some kind of a breakthrough with the French with an agreement on returns and what we do in the Channel itself.”

Like those in government, however, Smith also senses that the current French president will not be seeking an agreement with the British “because they don’t want the migrants back”.

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