The French government have uninvited the UK Home Secretary from a meeting of European interior ministers and the European Commission, after Boris Johnson asked them to “take back” undocumented migrants who cross the Channel to the UK, according to reports.
“We find the open letter from the British prime minister unacceptable … Thus, Priti Patel is not invited anymore to the ministers’ meeting,” a French interior ministry source told POLITICO, which first reported the news.
The dramatic move comes after calls earlier this week by the UK government for joint police patrols along the French Channel coast, following the death of 27 people after a migrant boat capsized.
The Prime Minister spoke to President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday evening in the wake of the worst incident of its kind in the Channel since the current migrant crisis began.
Patel had been due to meet with French interior minister Gérald Darmanin in Calais this weekend, before France called the meeting off, in response to a letter written by the prime minister to French President Emmanuel Macron, setting out five steps to “move further and faster” to prevent similar tragedies in future.
In a statement, the French interior ministry said: “We consider Boris Johnson’s public letter unacceptable and in opposition with discussions between counterparts.”
The meeting on Sunday will still go ahead, he said, with just France, Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany and the EU commission instead.