29 JAN 2016

Keeping our borders safe and secure

The situation at Calais is of grave concern to us all. Migrants have tried to rush the port and some got onto a ferry before the boarders were repelled by the ship's crew. Migrants daily seek to stow away onto lorries and the haulage industry is calling for the army to be sent in. The conditions at the camps in Calais and Dunkirk are dreadful. Hard left militant anarchists from Britain are agitating in the camps and seeking to inflame an already bad situation.

This is an even bigger problem because the Dover to Calais route is critical for our international trade. Every time a stowaway gets on a lorry the load has to be thrown away. Lorry drivers who pick up a stowaway get heavily fined, so the haulage industry is forced to invest in expensive detection equipment and park up in secure lorry parks.

What then is to be done? Some will say the easy answer is simply to leave the EU. There are many good reasons to make that case. Yet our border security is not one of them. If we left, the border would surely move from Calais to Dover. The migrants at Calais would no longer be in Calais and this would take Dover back to the dreadful situation of some years ago.

Others say we should simply open our borders and allow everyone in. The same people also argue that we should take the nuclear defence out of our nuclear submarines and hand the Falkland Islands over to Argentina. These are all very bad ideas - they would undermine our national security, our border security and the safety of us all. The return to the bad old days of the open door to Britain that used to exist before 2010 would be a danger for migrants too, for once you allow anyone to wander in, more will seek to follow.

Attracted by the magnet of an open border people will make ever greater and more dangerous efforts to enter Britain. As we have seen before, this all too often ends in tragedy. This is why the Prime Minister is right in saying that we should take vulnerable people in need from close to the nations they have been forced to flee in order to discourage the making of long, treacherous and dangerous journeys.

The situation at Calais is serious. We need better security for hauliers in Northern France. We need to ensure our border remains in Calais and is not brought back to Dover. We need to keep working closely with the French Government to increase security. It would be a wrong turn to go back to the days of open borders where anyone could just wander into Britain. We need to be particularly wary not to encourage people to make dangerous journeys across Europe.

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Charlie Elphicke

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