British Prime Minister Theresa May will offer France on Thursday 44.5 million pounds to bolster security at French border controls, part of measures to deepen cooperation that she hopes will foster goodwill in Brexit talks.
At talks with French President Emmanuel Macron at Sandhurst, Britain's army officer training academy, May wants to show that Britain still has plenty to offer France and other members of the European Union as she negotiates her country's departure.
But after a choreographed drumbeat of new agreements to be signed at what aides said was the 35th Anglo-French summit, the overtures, including the loan of the 11th century Bayeux Tapestry, fell flat in Britain's eurosceptic media.
"What a stitch up! Did borrowing the Bayeux Tapestry cost Britain 45 million pounds more to stop migrants at Calais," the Daily Mail asked, while the Sun mocked up the depiction of how William the Conqueror invaded England in 1066 as a tale of the EU trying to stop Britain leaving the bloc.
May has long seen defence and security as one of its strongest arguments to gain leverage in talks to unravel more than 40 years of union. But France and other member states have been cool on allowing Britain to bypass Brussels.
After lobbying from Macron for Britain to help with security at Channel ports which have become a focus for migrants, London said an additional 44.5 million pounds ($62 million) would be sent to France to help improve fencing, CCTV and technology.
"This is about investing in and enhancing the security of the UK border," a government spokesman said.
"Just as we invest in our borders around the rest of the UK, it is only right that we constantly monitor whether there is more we can be doing at the UK border controls in France and Belgium to ensure they are as secure as possible."