Rishi Sunak to have crunch small boat summit with Macron in Paris this year

Britain's Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, right, hugs President of France, Emmanuel Macron, during a bilateral meeting, at the COP27 summit, in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, Monday, Nov. 7, 2022. Nearly 50 heads of states or governments on Monday will take the stage in the first day of "high-level" international climate talks in Egypt with more to come in the following days. (Ludovic Marin, Pool via AP)

RISHI Sunak will meet Emmanuel Macron in March for crunch talks on stopping small boats.

In Paris the close political pals will also discuss global security, climate change and the economy.

Rishi Sunak and political pal Emmanuel Macron will meet in Paris in March for small boat talks

It will be the first formal UK-France summit to take place since 2018.

A No10 spokesperson said: “The idea of this summit was discussed by the two leaders during their first phone call in October 2022.

“It will be the first meeting of this kind since 2018 and an opportunity to deepen co-operation between the UK and France in a huge range of areas including security, climate and energy, the economy, migration and shared foreign policy goals.”

Mr Sunak’s close relationship with Macron marks a shift from that of his predecessor.

Liz Truss and her then-French counterpart had frosty relations, with the ex-PM once saying the “jury is out” on whether Macron is a friend of Britain.

Last week Mr Sunak listed tackling small as one of his top five priorities for 2023.

And last December he pledged to clear the ballooning asylum backlog by the end of this year.

More than 40,000 migrants have now waited between one and three years for a decision on their asylum claim, costing the taxpayer millions and clogging up the system.

Meanwhile, in 2022 more than 44,000 came to Britain in small boats via the Channel.

Tory MPs would love Mr Sunak strike a deal with France that would see those who come from Calais illegally in boats sent straight back over.

In December the PM vowed to boot out failed asylum seekers with no right to stay in the UK.

But he could not say how many people would be sent to Rwanda once the long-awaited scheme finally gets underway.

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