France’s decision to uninvite Priti Patel from talks over the migrant crisis is more likely to be down to souring relations since Brexit than upset over Boris Johnson’s letter, the Independent’s Sean O’Grady says.
Interior minister Gérald Darmanin told his UK counterpart today that he had cancelled her invitation to a meeting this weekend after the prime minisrer “went public” with a letter to president Emmanuel Macron that criticised France.
“Making it public made it even worse,” Darmanin said in a statement.
“We consider the British prime minister’s public letter unacceptable and counter to our discussions between partners.
“As a result Priti Patel is no longer invited,” he added.
But according to O’Grady, the letter was likely only part of the reason Patel was univited.
Writing in the Independent, he said: “The migrant crisis is bigger than Britain and indeed bigger than Britain and France. It is precisely the kind of thing that demands action at a supranational scale.
“This was what was going to be happening over the weekend, when Patel was going to swap ideas and contacts with counterparts from a half dozen other European countries – just like the old days in an EU Council of Ministers meeting.
“Sovereignty was to be pooled. If the UK was still an EU member state, the French would not have been able to “disinvite” the British home secretary – she’d have freedom of movement for a start.
“Johnson’s pompous attempt at a billet-doux to President Macron was the immediate cause of French irritation but it is Brexit that has clearly poisoned relations.”