Since my fact finding visit to Calais, the Government has put forward a response. And a weak response at that. The propose a holding centre at Calais. After the people there pass through passport control. At the moment, people are living in a place called the Jungle - pictured - which is really disgusting. What does not make sense to me is that we adopt the whole problem by having some kind of British holding centre at Calais. At present, it looks like there will be six cells. A drop in the ocean considering there are 1,000 people from overseas at Calais.
Yet in wanting to spin "action" at home, we could be conceding who has responsibility for the people at Calais. For as soon as they go through British passport control, the people there will surely be our responsibility. While it might seem great that we and the French are sharing the costs of building the holding centre, are we adopting the responsibility? Who will pay for the running costs? Who will pay for the flights home? Will we have to take in all the children? Currently 1,000 children costs Kent County Council £35m - or £35,000 each a year. It’s a big cost for our county. Surely the French should be looking after the children rather than us? Beyond the cost of all this in difficult times for our nation, I worry that the holding centre could grow and might not stay in Calais. If you were French, don’t you think you might be tempted to insist that it is moved to our side of the channel in future? Might not they say we should expand the DRC into somewhere like Connaught Barracks? This would be completely unacceptable to people in Dover and Deal. It must not be allowed to happen.
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