13 OCT 2016
Calais Jungle must be fully dismantled, never to return
At long last, it appears the Calais Jungle's days may be numbered. When I visited the camp last month, I was shocked. It's worse than I have ever seen it. It should have been dismantled years ago. Instead the numbers there have swollen to 10,000 people. Traffickers roam free, feasting on people's hopes of a better life – yet all they sell are broken dreams and a life of modern slavery should the migrants make it to Britain. This situation puts real pressure on our border at the Dover frontline.
We've heard empty promises from the French before. This time they must ensure the Jungle is fully dismantled – and never allowed to return.
What is needed is a clear plan where the British and French Governments work together to put an end to this shameful situation once and for all:
- The people traffickers must be caught and jailed. Make no mistake – these evil slave-masters are at the heart of the migrant crisis. Britain and France must work together to smash the trafficking gangs and disrupt their networks.
- Protect tourists, truckers and trade at Calais. The attacks we have seen by these chainsaw wielding, tree throwing, petrol bombing criminals on the road to Calais are totally unacceptable. The tragic case of an Eritrean migrant killed in Calais on Sunday by a British driver, who was swerving to avoid an attack by traffickers, shows how dangerous the situation has become. Urgent action is needed to catch these gangs and end their evil trade of modern slavery.
- Patrol our English Channel. We should increase the Border Force budget and have more than three boats to guard 7,000 miles of coastline. Last month, three Iranians arrived at Walmer beach in a dinghy and claimed asylum. Migrants are detected landing on the beaches of Kent in small craft on a monthly, if not weekly basis – who knows how many more arrive undetected? We need a bigger fleet of border boats patrolling the Channel and a squadron of Dover drones tracking traffickers from the sky.
- The Jungle should be fully dismantled – now. That means properly dismantled and the people there should be moved to places of safety far from Calais. The French need to be sure people cannot simply sneak back to Calais. The Jungle must never return.
- The migrants should be helped back to their home nations. Any asylum claims should be processed and failed asylum seekers should be repatriated.
The situation at Calais is appalling. The conditions there are an affront to humanity. That's why it is vital Britain and France work together to help the vulnerable, bolster border security and wage war on the people traffickers. Only then can we properly protect tourists, truckers and trade – and end the evil of modern slavery.
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