Channel crossings: Border force patrol following deaths
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Labour’s Shadow Foreign Secretary Lisa Nandy, 42, appeared on Sky News with Trevor Phillips, 67. During the Wigan MP’s appearance on the Sunday morning current affairs programme, she accused the UK and France of “engaging in a blame game” over the ongoing Channel crossing crisis.
Ms Nandy told Mr Phillips: “France blames Britain, Britain blames France – the truth is that both governments are engaging in a blame game while children drown off their coastline.”
She added: “It’s just simply unconscionable and any responsible government on either side of the Channel would set aside those differences and work together to deal with what is a collective shared problem that will only be solved together.”
The comments come after Paris snubbed the UK’s Home Secretary Priti Patel, 49, by withdrawing an invite to a meeting with European Union ministers in Calais on Sunday.
France opted to make the move after Boris Johnson, 57, released a tweet which included a letter on the Channel crossing crisis to his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron, 43.
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Representatives from Belgium, Germany, Holland and the European Commission joined French officials in Calais.
The meeting came just days after 27 people died trying to cross the Channel to the UK.
Despite being cut from talks, the Wigan MP is believed to have met with the Dutch interior minister Kajsa Ollongren, 54, and UK officials are reported to have held other talks in France.
But Ms Nandy criticised the UK Government for trying to carry out diplomacy on social media.
Labour’s Shadow Foreign Secretary said: “The Government is writing open letters to the French that they are releasing via social media, calling on the French to do things that any responsible government would have already done – to get in place a mechanism across Europe to be able to return people to safe third countries they travel through, to agree safe and legal routes for people who have no obligations to come here.”
She added: “The asylum system across Europe and across the world has completely broken down.
“If you look at the countries that people are fleeing from, it’s Syria, it’s Afghanistan, there are reasons why people are on the move and the world has been completely unable to come together to deal with that.
“One of the people on the boat that sank just a week ago was an Afghan soldier who said he had given up hope of being able to get to Britain through a legal route, because although the home secretary announced an expansion of their Afghan refugee settlement scheme, that scheme hasn’t even opened yet and that was three months ago.
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“These routes simply don’t exist and they won’t exist for as long as the Government continues to engage in a blame game with others and doesn’t do the hard yards of sitting down around a table and agreeing how we are going to tackle this together.”
Ms Nandy has also used social media to publish letters she has sent to the UK Government.
The MP for Wigan released a two-page letter to her Tory counterpart Liz Truss, 46, on the “worsening situation in Ethiopia” via Twitter on November 26.
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