No chance of a refund France has already spent the £54m – questions raised over Macron

Lord Ricketts discusses French involvement in migrant crossings

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Britain is growing increasingly frustrated with the French over the spike in migrant crossings. On Thursday, a further 1,185 people crossed the English Channel by boat to reach the UK, marking a new record for crossings in a single day. This comes despite the fact the British Government paid France £54m to increase their immigration controls.

LBC host Andrew Castle asked former French Ambassador Lord Ricketts whether Britain could ask for a refund on that money now.

Mr Castle said: “It was £54m that Britain agreed to pay the French in July in return for 100 percent of crossings being stopped.

“Do you think we can get our money back?”

Lord Ricketts responded: “No, we cannot get our money back because the money has already been spent on extra gendarmes in France.”

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He continued: “We have got to ask the French why we have had this spike. Is it because of the calm weather in the Channel?

“Having offered this money, we have a legitimate reason to say to the French, how much more can you do to make sure these things don’t happen again.”

Earlier in the interview on LBC, Lord Ricketts explained that Britain “can’t, on our own, control our borders”.

He said: “It is extremely difficult to control a long sea border, that has been true throughout history.

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“We can’t, on our own, control our borders. We need the cooperation of the French and the Belgians and the continent and I think they have every interest in cooperating with us.

“There’s no point pretending we have taken back control and sovereignty, we still depend on their cooperation.”

A Whitehall source accused France of losing control of the situation.


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This comes as heartbreaking scenes emerged of children wrapped in blankets helped ashore in Dover, Kent.

Three people are feared lost at sea as two kayaks were found adrift near Calais, according to French authorities.

More than 23,000 people have made the crossing from France to the UK by boat so far this year, a sharp rise on the 8,404 in 2020.

A Home Office spokesperson said: “The British public have had enough of seeing people die in the Channel while ruthless criminal gangs profit from their misery and our New Plan for Immigration will fix the broken system which encourages migrants to make this lethal journey.”

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