Wednesday 16 January 2019

National Theatre supports showing of Calais migrant play for Sajid Javid

The Home Secretary has been criticised for his approach to migrants attempting to cross the English Channel.

The National Theatre has offered to support a performance of a play about refugee camps for Home Secretary Sajid Javid (Stefan Rousseau/PA)
The National Theatre has offered to support a performance of a play about refugee camps for Home Secretary Sajid Javid (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

By Keiran Southern, Press Association Los Angeles Correspondent

The National Theatre has offered to support a performance of a play about Calais refugees for Home Secretary Sajid Javid.

Mr Javid was criticised for questioning whether people risking their lives crossing the English Channel are “genuine” refugees and defended his decision to declare the migrant crossings a “major incident”.

He had been accused of “positioning for the forthcoming Tory leadership battle”.

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Home Secretary Sajid Javid has been criticised for questioning whether people risking their lives crossing the English Channel are ‘genuine’ refugees (Gareth Fuller/PA)

More than 200 migrants have arrived in the UK by boat since November and 543 attempts to cross the Channel were recorded in 2018.

Now, Good Chance Theatre, which has staged plays in the Calais Jungle refugee camp, has offered to host a performance of The Jungle for Mr Javid.

The Jungle is written by British playwrights Joe Murphy and Joe Robertson and depicts a grim year inside the camp.

In a tweet, Good Chance Theatre said: “@SajidJavid We’d like to offer you & the @HomeOffice a special performance of @TheJungleUS to #startaconversation about why people seek asylum, worsening conditions in Calais causing people to risk their lives & to try to better understand the human beings behind the headlines.”

And the National Theatre’s official Twitter account endorsed the message, writing: “We’d be thrilled to support this performance. @TheJungleUS is such an important piece that brings to life the complex human stories behind asylum claims. #startaconversation.”

Responding to criticism of his approach to the migrant situation, Mr Javid acknowledged the situation had “provoked a debate”.

And he defended questioning how “genuine” the migrants were.

He said: “I’m not afraid to say that I think there are some legitimate questions that need to be asked, why for instance are so many people to cross the Channel from France to the UK when France itself is a safe country?”

“The principle of the first safe country is well established and widely accepted in international law.”

Press Association

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