French Prime Minister Jean Castex rejected calls for joint patrols on the beaches around Calais as tensions continued over the small boats crisis
France has slapped down Boris Johnson’s plan to crack down on people making dangerous Channel crossings.
The Prime Minister had called for British officers to carry out joint patrols on the beaches around Calais to deter migrants from crossing the 21-mile Dover Strait.
He renewed his demand after at least 27 migrants perished trying to cross to the UK last week when their inflatable dinghy sank.
But in a letter to Mr Johnson, French Prime Minister Jean Castex said “we cannot accept” the presence of British police officers or soldiers on French soil because it would compromise the nation’s sovereignty.
He also suggested the UK should carry out reforms to offer “legal immigration paths” for people to come to Britain instead of risking the perilous voyage.
But he promised France would examine “in good faith” some of the proposals put forward to resolve the crisis.
Mr Johnson sparked fury in France by publishing his letter to President Emmanuel Macron calling for further action in the wake of last week’s tragedy.
The bitter feud included reports Mr Macron labelled Mr Johnson a “clown” and a “knucklehead” in charge of a “circus”.
According to Le Monde, Mr Castex wrote: “We have always accepted to examine and discuss in good faith British proposals of reinforcement and cooperation.
“We have accepted some, we have declined others.”
He added: “We cannot accept, for example, that British police officers or soldiers patrol our coasts.
“It comes from our sovereignty.”
The French PM said more than 700 police officers and gendarmes were already covering the area around Dunkirk and Calais to prevent small boats carrying migrants taking to the water.
But these efforts “only permit us to contain the phenomenon, not to bring a lasting response”.
A No10 spokeswoman said: “Last week’s devastating events were a tragic reminder of the dangers of these crossings and like our French neighbours the UK Government is determined to prevent further loss of life in the Channel.
“We stand ready to discuss all options in the spirit of our close cooperation and partnership, and as a shared, global challenge it is vital we address illegal migration collectively and urgently.”