Rishi Sunak will confront Emmanuel Macron on the spiralling Channel crossings crisis today after labelling fixing illegal immigration as a “key priority”. The Prime Minister is set to hold face-to-face talks with his French counterpart while at the COP27 summit in Egypt.
In his first meeting with Mr Macron, he will demand more be done to stop the influx of people making the dangerous journey across the English Channel.
More than 38,000 migrants have made the treacherous crossing in small boats so far in 2022 – a record number with almost two months of the year still to go.
Government figures also indicate that since 2018 75,000 people have entered Britain after taking a chance on crossing the Channel in unsuitable rubber dinghies.
Ahead of this meeting with Mr Macron, the Prime Minister said: “We are already cooperating a lot with France.
READ MORE: Rishi Sunak told to ‘stop wasting our money’ over pension pledge
“We want to make sure that is productive for both of us, those are the conversations I will have with the President, I want to continue talks.”
Speaking to The Sun, he added: “It’s very important to me, I want to make sure that we absolutely tackle this problem.
“Prime Ministers can only spend their personal time on a handful of really key priorities, this for me is absolutely one of those.
“I have spent more time working on that in the last few days than anything else other than the Autumn Statement.”
Mr Sunak first raised the matter of illegal immigration with Mr Macon during their first phone call shortly after the Prime Minister took office.
He is thought to be pushing for a deal with the President that would allow UK Border Force officials on French beaches.
Rishi Sunak urged to honour Tory promise as 280k back Express rally [UPDATE]
Suella Braverman vows to stop Channel boat migrants [REACTION]
Sunak drags Labour for ‘opposing every measure’ to tackle migration [VIDEO]
Britain has paid millions of pounds to help fund French policing of the border over the past two years, but the number of crossings has continued to rise.
Voters are concerned that the Conservatives have failed in their attempts to stop illegal immigration.
Last week a survey by People Polling suggested 58 percent of Britons believe the “Government has lost control of the country’s borders”.
The results were even high among Conservative voters, with 75 percent fearing ministers are failing to clamp down on the issue.
Home Secretary Suella Braverman has made bringing down the number of successful crossings her top concern in the role.
She said yesterday that “illegal migration needs fixing” and that she is prepared to do “whatever it takes to stop the boats”.
Mr Sunak added: “We can’t have people coming here who are breaking the rules, exploiting that compassion that undermines trust in the system and contains a lot of pressure, which is hard for us to deal with.
“We have to get a grip, do a range of things to stop it from happening, return people who shouldn’t be here in the first place.”