France warns ‘clown’ Priti Patel cooperation could end if she forces boats to Calais

Macron ‘will make those types of comments’ says Priti Patel

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Officials on the other side of the Channel issued the caution to the Home Secretary after citing fears it could put the lives of migrants at even greater risk. According to The Telegraph, Paris’ Ministry of Interior said in a briefing: “We consider [push backs] to be contrary to maritime law.

“People in danger must be brought to British shores and not into French waters.”

They added: “We cannot cooperate serenely among neighbours if one of the neighbours takes unilateral measures. We cannot work like this.

“The cooperation would be put into question.

“We hope she will come to her senses because we really think it is in no one’s interest.

“When we act at sea, it is to help boats that are in distress.

“If we start intercepting boats on the water there is the risk that they will deliberately drown themselves.”

The MailOnline reports a senior figure inside President Emmanuel Macron’s circle even said the MP for Witham was “increasingly seen as a clown in France”.

The anonymous official from Macron’s La République En Marche party added: “Madame Patel doesn’t know what she’s talking about.

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“She just seems to grab at mad and dangerous ideas without displaying any knowledge of the law or international diplomacy.”

Interior Minister, Gerald Darmanin, said: “France will not accept any practice that goes against maritime law, and will not accept any financial blackmail.”

Mr Darmanin accused Ms Patel of “financial blackmail” after it was reported the Home Secretary had threatened to drop the UK’s £54million payment to fund French patrols.

Despite concern on the other side of the Channel, UK sources suggest Ms Patel is not for turning.

One source claimed: “With hundreds of migrants arriving a day, not taking action is not an option.

“We told France this was going to happen.

“They said they would publicly condemn it and we said we are going to do it anyway.

“Border Force is focused on saving people’s lives.

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“To suggest anything else is absurd. We’re not going to do this to boats in danger.”

More than 14,000 migrants have already made the perilous 21-mile journey from Calais to Dover.

The overall figure is expected to exceed 22,000.

Just 8,400 people crossed the Channel during the whole of 2020.

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