UK News

Sunak hails £62m migrant deal with Macron and declares 'I'm gonna deliver'

British Border Force officials will be posted in French control rooms for the first time so they can monitor operations tackling people smuggling operations close up. The number of officers stationed on the shoreline in northern France will also be hiked up by 40 per cent under the £62 million deal.

Mr Sunak said stopping illegal migration is a top priority for the public and he has spent more time trying to find a solution to the growing problem than on any other issue apart from the economy since he entered No 10.

The Prime Minister told reporters travelling with him to the G20 summit in Bali he will bring down the number of illegal crossings over time.

He said: “I do think that the absolute priority that the British people have right now, as do I, is to grip illegal migration. 

“I made a commitment that I would grip it in the summer. And I can tell you all that I’ve spent more time working on that than anything else, other than obviously the autumn statement, over the past couple of weeks. 

“I’ve been honest that there’s not a single thing to do to fix it and we can’t fix it overnight. 

“But there’s a range of things I’m working on, including the French deal, where I’m confident we can bring the numbers down over time and that’s what I’m gonna deliver.”

Home Secretary Suella Braverman is signing the deal in Paris today with French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin. 

It means the UK will be increasing its contribution to policing the border from £54 million to £62 million.

More than 40,000 people have made it to Britain in small boats from France mainly organised by people smuggling gangs.

Under the pact, surveillance will be stepped up at ports to prevent illegal entry using lorries.

More drones and night vision technology will be used on the shoreline.

Britain and France will set up a “Calais Group” with neighbouring countries to try to stop illegal migrants and smuggling gangs before they arrive at the Channel.

A new taskforce is also being set up to stop the rising trend of Albanians heading to the UK illegally, with more than 10,000 young men from the country arriving so far this year.

Mr Sunak reset relations with Emmanuel Macron in their first phone call last month and cemented plans for an overhaul of the existing migration deal between France and the UK when they met at the Cop27 summit in Egypt last week.

He said it was only by working with other countries that it was possible to make “progress on the things that impact people at home”.

“I think the best example of that is this migration, right? Illegal migration.”

He said “highlights” of the bolstered deal include a 40 per cent increase in the number of patrols on beaches in northern France and British officials being embedded in French operations to “strengthen coordination and the effectiveness of our operations”. 

“But that isn’t the end of our cooperation,” he added. “What the agreement says is that should be a foundation for even greater cooperation in the months ahead.”


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