26 JAN 2018

We can't let Calais become a migrant magnet again

I have criticised President Macron after the number of migrants in Calais "doubled" in a week.

The number has soared from 350 to 800 according to reports in France. It comes after President Macron visited Calais in mid-January and called for the application process for migrants coming to Britain to be sped up – and for a "more humane approach".

Reports at the time suggested Britain would agree to take in more unaccompanied children from the French port town. And at the time I said this risked turning Calais into a migrant magnet all over again. 

Violence scenes erupted in Calais yesterday between migrants and police. Meanwhile, French fishermen blockaded the port of Calais, causing traffic tailbacks on both sides of the Channel. President Macron urgently needs to get a grip of the situation in Calais. The ink is barely dry on the Sandhurst Treaty – yet we can already see the negative consequences of Britain agreeing to accept more migrants.

Allowing more migrants to come to Britain just encourages more vulnerable people to come to Calais and fall into the hands of ruthless traffickers. More people who make dangerous journeys across Europe that so often end up in tragedy.

It's vital that the UK continues to do the right thing by taking in vulnerable children directly from warzones. Taking in more migrants from Calais only serves to turn the town into a migrant magnet and undermine our own border security. We cannot risk the return of the squalid Jungle camp we fought so hard to dismantle.

Despite the disruption caused by the strikes in France on Thursday, the Dover TAP system on the A20 stopped lorries from clogging up traffic in Dover town. This is yet more proof TAP is doing its job, so we were right to fight for it. Despite ferries not sailing for hours and freight queues building, traffic in Dover itself kept flowing.

I know there are still issues. Aycliffe residents have to put up with awful noise and I have asked for the start point to be moved back. But we got rid of the hated 40mph speed limit – and Dover is no longer brought to a standstill the second there's a minor problem at the port.

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Charlie Elphicke

Here you can read about local news matters and what I've been up to. You can make comments too. I'd welcome your feedback, so please do feel free to comment!

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