THE French President has said Boris Johnson’s government’s “hypocrisy” means they are to blame for every single person who dies trying to cross the Channel.

Emmanuel Macron told French newspaper La Voix du Nord that the “responsibility for those who die at sea” falls on the British government for failing to provide a safe immigration route.

He said the UK “continues to have a system from the 1980s, which manages economic immigration through hypocrisy”.

Macron said the fact there “is no legal immigration route” encourages dangerous crossing attempts and illegal operations, such as the criminal gangs which Home Secretary Priti Patel (below) frequently claims to be targeting.

"The responsibility for those who die at sea does not fall upon France but upon this British refusal [to open safe routes]."

The National: For use in UK, Ireland or Benelux countries only ..Undated BBC handout photo of Home Secretary Priti Patel appearing on the BBC1 current affairs programme, The Andrew Marr Show. PA Photo. Issue date: Sunday October 17, 2021. See PA story Crime, Legal

He added: “The British must articulate their needs in terms of the economy and reopen a path to legal asylum requests. We are going to step up the pressure.”

After France took over the presidency of the European Parliament last month, Macron gave an address in which he outlined the “horrendous humanitarian situation”.

He also said that the British system was stuck in the 1980s, saying that then countries had “a level of acceptable economic illegal migration”.

“You allow people to work without papers because it's helpful to the economy, but that doesn't take on board the reality of migratory flows now,” he said.

READ MORE: Priti Patel's 'anti-refugee' bill could erode devolution, legal expert warns

“Secondly, there need to be legal, stable routes to be able to migrate to the UK and this is a situation that we're confronted with. This is a dialogue that we need to pursue with the UK.”

The hardline stance against the UK Government has been read as laying the groundwork ahead of announcing a bid for a second term as president of France.

While Macron has not yet announced his candidacy for the election, which will be held in April, he is widely expected to do so soon. Modelling from the Economist magazine predicted that he has a 79% chance of returning to the Élysée Palace.

The news follows a war of words late in 2021 which saw the French administration un-invite Patel from a cross-government meeting and condemn Boris Johnson as "not serious".

READ MORE: 'Don't communicate via tweets': French president pans Boris Johnson over Channel crossings

Tory MP Tom Pursglove, the Minister Tackling Illegal Migration, said that “people fleeing persecution should seek safety in the first safe country they reach and not risk their lives paying criminal gangs to cross the Channel”.

Purglove went on: “This Government is reforming our approach to illegal entry to the UK and asylum by making the tough decisions to end the overt exploitation of our laws and its impact on UK taxpayers.

“The public have rightly had enough of the blatant disregard of our immigration laws and we are bringing in necessary long-term changes.

“The Nationality and Borders Bill will make it a criminal offence to knowingly arrive in the UK illegally and introduce life sentences for those who facilitate illegal entry into the country.”

The Borders Bill has been widely condemned as an “anti-refugee” piece of legislation that creates a two-tier system of asylum, depending on how people arrive in the UK. This is in direct contravention of the 1951 Refugee Convention.

Furthermore, despite the UK Government’s frequent claims, there is no legal requirement for people seeking asylum to do so in the “first safe country” they reach. Pressures such as language ability or family will often influence a person’s decision to head for the UK, despite the “hostile environment” created by the Tories which aims to discourage people from coming.

The vast majority (98% for January-September 2020) of people reaching the UK in small boats over the Channel claim asylum, rather than seeking to “disappear”.