Britain and EU are both sliding into place on a dangerous track amid deep rift

London Letter: The EU would view the UK’s use of article 16 as particularly aggressive

David Frost, the UK’s Brexit minister, speaks to the media prior to meeting Maros Sefcovic, vice-president of the European Commission, in Brussels earlier in November. Photograph: Valeria Mongelli/Bloomberg

David Frost, the UK’s Brexit minister, speaks to the media prior to meeting Maros Sefcovic, vice-president of the European Commission, in Brussels earlier in November. Photograph: Valeria Mongelli/Bloomberg

The tragedy in the English Channel on Wednesday that saw 27 people drown trying to seek asylum has highlighted the necessity of co-operation between Britain and its European neighbours. But the British government’s first instinct was to blame the French, with home secretary Priti Patel agreeing with fellow Conservative Robert Jenrick that “it is within the gift of the president of France to bring this to an end now”.

Britain has taken the same approach in its dispute with France over post-Brexit fishing rights, prompting French fisherman to threaten to block British freight movements in the Channel Tunnel and the port of Calais on Friday.

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