The Prime Minister of France, Jean Castex, told Boris Johnson that he could not accept a joint British-French patrol in the English Channel in response to the migrant crisis as the issue was a “matter of our sovereignty.”
In a letter to the British prime minister Castex wrote “France is ready to pursue our operational cooperation with the United Kingdom,” but he added that “we cannot accept … British police or military patrol on our coast.”
The cold response comes after Johnson wrote a letter to French President Emmanuel Macron suggesting a joint coast patrol after 27 migrants lost their lives in the Channel trying to reach Britain.
In his letter Castex told Johnson that it was up to Britain to handle the ongoing migrant crisis.
“A large part of the solution does not lie in France, but in the United Kingdom,” he wrote.
“In fact, you can deter the migrants who are not destined to settle [in Britain] from coming to your territory by conducting a more effective return policy,” he added.
The letter marks the latest dramatic twist in an increasingly tense row between Britain and France which has seen Johnson accused of “double-speak” by a French government spokesperson and Home Secretary Priti Patel un-invited by the French interior minister from a meeting in Calais between key European countries to discuss the crisis.