“From today, the Royal Navy will take over operational command from Border Force in the Channel,” Johnson said in a speech announcing a plan to send those who made the crossing to Rwanda.
Johnson announced extra funds for boats, aircraft and surveillance equipment to patrol the Channel and detain people-smugglers.
“This will send a clear message to those piloting the boats. If you risk other people’s lives in the Channel, you risk spending your own life in prison,” he said.
The British government made a deal with France in 2021 to pay €63 million to double the number of gendarmes patrolling the French coast, although a dispute later erupted over whether the money had actually been paid. British sources say the issue has now been resolved.
The issue of Channel crossing has caused tension between French and British politicians, with the British accusing the French of not doing enough to stop people smugglers and an increasing number of French politicians suggesting scrapping the Le Touquet agreement, which put the UK border in northern France.
The British government has announced that migrants and asylum seekers arriving in the UK will be flown to Rwanda for processing.
Kigali on Thursday announced that it had signed a multi-million-dollar deal to do the job, during a visit by British Home
Secretary Priti Patel.
“Rwanda welcomes this partnership with the United Kingdom to host asylum seekers and migrants, and offer them legal pathways to residence” in the East African nation, Foreign Minister Vincent Biruta said in a statement.
The deal with Rwanda will be funded by the UK to the tune of up to €144 million, with migrants “integrated into communities across the country,” it said.
“This is about ensuring that people are protected, respected, and empowered to further their own ambitions and settle permanently in Rwanda if they choose,” said Biruta.
During political disputes between France and the UK over post-Brexit fishing licences, British Navy ships were sent to the island of Jersey, where French fishermen were holding a demonstration.