BORIS Johnson has called for joint police patrols along the French English Channel coast after a migrant boat capsized, causing 27 fatalities.
France had previously had the death toll at 31 people, including five women and a girl, but it was later revised down. The reasons for the disparity are still unknown.
Unconfirmed local reports suggest the rubber boat capsized after colliding with a container ship.
Following the tragic incident, Mr Johnson told French President Emmanuel Macron that France should grant access to British soldiers to stop people smuggling gangs from “getting away with murder”, the Daily Mail reports.
Four alleged people smugglers thought to be connected with the incident were arrested by police just north of Dunkirk, near the Franco-Belgian border, on Wednesday evening.
A fifth suspect has since been arrested in connection with incident, French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin confirmed.
In total, seventeen men, seven women and three children drowned when the boat carrying them to the UK sank.
A Downing Street source said the government was going to "keep all options on the table" in effort to shut down the activities of human traffickers who are responsible for putting migrants at risk in one of the world's most frequented sea lanes.
A joint search and rescue operation by the French and British authorities, launched after a fishing boat spotted people in the channel, was finally disbanded yesterday.