First Minister Nicola Sturgeon responds to Boris Johnson's comments after migrant boat capsized in English Channel, killing 27 people

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has reacted to comments made by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, after a migrant boat capsized in the English Channel, causing the loss of dozens of lives.

Thursday, 25th November 2021, 9:22 am

Responding to the incident, Boris Johnson called on France to agree to joint police patrols along the French Channel coast to stop migrant crossings, and said: “Now is the time for us all to step up to work together to do everything we can to break these gangs, who are literally getting away with murder".

The First Minister retweeted a BBC news article which reported Johnson’s comments, and wrote: “Those seeking refuge from dreadful conditions are human beings not political footballs. They’re driven to smugglers out of desperation & lack of humanitarian routes. This, and root causes, need addressed if such tragedies aren’t to be endlessly repeated”.

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After originally reporting that 31 people had died, the French regional maritime authority revised the death toll and said that 27 people had died. French interior minister Gerald Darmanin said the dead included five women - one of whom was pregnant – and a young girl.

Two survivors were rescued and received treatment in a French hospital.

The French authorities have arrested four suspected people traffickers in connection with the incident while the regional prosecutor has opened an investigation into aggravated manslaughter.

Johnson placed blame on the French for the situation, and said: "We've had difficulties persuading some of our partners, particularly the French, to do things in a way that we think the situation deserves," he said.

Nicola Sturgeon called for the "root causes" of migrant boat crossings to be addressed, after a boat capsized on the English Channel, killing 27 people.

However the mayor of Calais, Natacha Bouchart, said that it was the British who were to blame and called on Johnson to "face up to his responsibilities".

Sturgeon’s comment comes only a few days after Home Secretary Priti Patel accused the Scottish National Party of not doing enough to help asylum seekers.

SNP defence spokesperson Stewart McDonald responded to Patel’s comment and described it as “outrageous”.

He asked why the Home Office was “still placing large numbers of asylum seekers in unsuitable hotels in inappropriate locations without so much as notifying the relevant local authority”.

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