Thursday 14 December 2017

Cameron: Britain will deter 'swarm' of migrants

David Cameron
David Cameron

Matthew Holehouse in Ho Chi Minh City

Britain will deport more migrants to deter the "swarm" of people who have crossed the Mediterranean to reach Calais, David Cameron has said.

The British government is resisting mounting calls for the Army to be sent in to deal with the deepening crisis, which has claimed the life of at least one migrant this week.

The man, believed to be a Sudanese national, was killed on Tuesday night after he was reportedly crushed by a truck. On Wednesday night, hundreds more migrants tried to reach Britain from Calais as they made new attempts to storm the Channel Tunnel, undeterred by heightened security.

Speaking in Vietnam during his south-east Asian tour, the British prime minister said the French had sent an extra 120 police and the UK was investing in fencing and security measures at the Channel crossings in Calais and Coquelles.

Mr Cameron said: "This is very testing, I accept that, because you have got a swarm of people coming across the Mediterranean, seeking a better life, wanting to come to Britain because Britain has got jobs, it's got a growing economy, it's an incredible place to live.

"But we need to protect our borders by working hand in glove with our neighbours the French and that is exactly what we are doing."

Mr Cameron added: "The French are sending an extra 120 police, Theresa May the Home Secretary has chaired a Cobra meeting to co-ordinate all this activity. We need to work together very closely with the French, very closely with the companies.

"But we do need to recognise the source of this problem, which is people crossing the Mediterranean in search of a better life. We have got to deal with that problem at its source as well."

He said making Britain "a less easy place for illegal immigrants to stay" by restricting their ability to access bank accounts, council housing and stepping up removals would tackle the crisis.


"All of these actions - the internal border - matters, as it were, as well as the external border," he said.

Mr Cameron's language drew some criticism, with Labour leadership candidate Andy Burnham describing his use of the word "swarm" as "disgraceful.".

Meanwhile, UK social services are struggling to cope with a surge in the number of children claiming asylum in the wake of the Calais crisis, a council chief has warned.

Paul Carter, leader of Kent County Council, met officials from the Home Office to highlight the impact of hundreds of minors arriving unaccompanied at the port of Dover.

Irish Independent

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