Britain and France clash over migrant deaths

The leaders of France and Britain have stepped up war of words after at least 31 migrant people died in the English Channel, washed up on the French side. Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere…

Britain and France clash over migrant deaths

The leaders of France and Britain have stepped up war of words after at least 31 migrant people died in the English Channel, washed up on the French side.

Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere and his British counterpart, Amber Rudd, traded sharp words after reports that people from Africa, the Middle East and Asia were on board a stricken boat.

Britain denies having coordinated rescue missions at sea, accusing France of not acting swiftly enough to rescue the boat.

French authorities have so far only said the survivor told rescuers the ship was heading for England.

Mr de Maiziere said France had done “nothing illegal” but Britain had failed to show “responsibility and solidarity in assisting those in need.”

Bellerive mayor Bertrand Védrine said he believed the incident might be a “bad omen” ahead of the city’s 500th anniversary celebrations this summer.

The mayor added: “It may have happened, but that does not stop us. We always act together, with Britain.”

He said it was not too late to take steps to ensure the MV Irene, a 36-metre wooden fishing boat run by the humanitarian group Care4Sea, got to France.

One man said it looked like the water had been sucked into the boat as it had been battered by waves, according to French television station Europe 1.

Another migrant on board said: “We had to jump overboard.”

Thousands of migrants from Africa, the Middle East and Asia have arrived in France over the past few years. Many travel by boat, risking their lives after clambering onto overloaded fishing vessels.

France’s northern seaport of Calais, where migrants have tried to gain entry to Britain, has been the scene of scuffles between hundreds of migrants and police.

About 1,000 migrants are living in Calais, where they set up a makeshift camp known as “the jungle” near a busy road.

They are kept under close surveillance by police in Calais, with those charged at subject to lengthy jail sentences.

The British opposition Labour Party said the Government had a “moral duty” to act and fund help for people who may have been in the Dover area.

“This is a tragedy, it is an absolute tragedy, but equally the implications are horrifying,” said shadow home secretary Diane Abbott.

She added: “From the moment these people are detained and detained and detained. These people then get on trucks or trains or ferries, and then they get into this country.”

Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn said: “We must not be complacent, people are dying in the Channel now and that is what the government has the obligation to do about.

“We haven’t done that, and it’s appalling and people’s lives are at risk.”

(c) Sky News 2021

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