France takes aim at UK PM's migration 'double talk' after Channel sinking

France takes aim at UK PM's migration 'double talk' after Channel sinking

 

What has so riled the French about Boris Johnson's letter to President Emmanuel Macron recommending how to combat people-smuggling and loss of life in flimsy dinghies in the Channel?

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An angry Paris says it resents the UK "double talk". The French government asserts that the UK prime minister has private conversations with President Macron, by phone or face-to-face, and then his words are misrepresented by Number 10 when discussing those conversations with the press.

Mr Macron's team insists that was the case this week after the two leaders spoke following the death of at least 27 people in the Channel.

This is not the first time Paris has levelled the "double-talk" accusation at Mr Johnson in recent months. And it's an assertion Downing Street would deny.

The UK insists the prime minister's letter to Paris sent on Thursday evening was sincere; meant to be constructive, not combative.

But President Macron is annoyed the letter was made public by Number 10. He seemed impatient on Friday, telling a press conference in Rome that communication between leaders should not take place over Twitter. "We are not whistle blowers. Come on now, come on."

The French suspicion is that the letter, perceived by them to be largely putting the onus on France to improve the Channel situation, was actually directed more at Mr Johnson's Conservative party than Paris.

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