Prime Minister Boris Johnson has called an emergency meeting of the Cobra committee following the deaths of migrants attempting to cross the English Channel.
Downing Street has announced the move following reports from French media that more than 20 people have died after their boat sank near Calais.
Cobra meetings – named after the Cabinet Office Briefing Rooms (COBR) where they held – and are used to coordinate the Government’s response to national or regional crises, or during overseas events with major implications for the UK – BirminghamLive reports.
READ MORE: Boris Johnson Covid briefing: Eight things we learned including Plan B stance
At least 27 migrants have drowned while trying to cross the Channel in an inflatable dinghy, a French mayor has told reporters.
Calais mayor, Natacha Bouchart, told BFM TV that the death toll stood at 27.
Several others are thought to be injured after their boat capsized off Calais this afternoon (November 24).
France’s prime minister said the shipwreck on Wednesday was a “tragedy” and his thoughts were with “victims of criminal smugglers who exploit their distress and injury”.
At present, asylum seekers can only claim asylum once they arrive in the UK.
The UK Government’s website says: “You should apply when you arrive in the UK or as soon as you think it would be unsafe for you to return to your own country. Your application is more likely to be denied if you wait.
“To be eligible you must have left your country and be unable to go back because you fear persecution.
“To stay in the UK as a refugee you must be unable to live safely in any part of your own country because you fear persecution there.”
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