In a message seen by AFP, Darmanin told Patel the letter from Johnson to President Emmanuel Macron suggesting France takes back migrants who cross the Channel was a “disappointment.”
He added: “Making it public made it even worse. I therefore need to cancel our meeting in Calais on Sunday.”
The letter from the British PM to French president Emmanuel Macron makes a list of demands, including that British officers patrol French beaches and that France agrees to take back people whose asylum claims have failed.
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My letter to President Macron. pic.twitter.com/vXH0jpxzPo
— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) November 25, 2021
In the wake of the tragedy in the Channel on Wednesday in which at least 27 people, including three children, drowned, Macron had convened an emergency meeting of French, British, Belgian, Dutch and German ministers in Calais.
A source close to Darmanin told AFP that the meeting would be going ahead with the ministers from other European countries but added Patel was no longer invited after Johnson’s “unacceptable” letter.
“We consider the British Prime Minister’s public letter to be unacceptable and contrary to the discussions we had with our counterparts,” said the source, who asked not to be named.
“Therefore, Priti Patel is no longer invited to the interministerial meeting on Sunday, which is maintained in the format of France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and the European Commission.”