The UK has offered France the security fencing it used at a recent NATO summit to protect world leaders, suggesting the barrier might deter illegal migrants crossing the Channel from the port town of Calais.
Writing in British daily The Telegraph on Saturday, British Immigration Minister James Brokenshire said the 12 miles of 9ft-high steel fencing, installed for last week's summit at Celtic Manor in Newport, could be used “to replace and enlarge the inadequate fencing at Calais, which is too easy for illegal immigrants to scale”.
It follows demands by Calais mayor Natacha Bouchart that the UK do more to help with the town’s migrant problem, threatening to shut the port if it did not.
“I could take the decision to block the port,” she said. "It would be illegal, but today I want to make a strong gesture towards the British."
However, Brokenshire argued that “it is for the French to maintain security of their port and to maintain public order on their own soil”.
Nevertheless, Britain wants “to do what we can to help”, he wrote.
He pointed to the £3 million the UK offered the Port of Calais earlier this year to help improve security.