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Tuesday, 23 June 2015
Cameron set to let the dogs out
By ALAN OAKLEY - Fri Jun 26, 11:16 am
PM vows to get tough over ‘migrant crisis’
David Cameron looks set to reinforce border controls around the French port of Calais after what he said were unacceptable scenes involving illegal migrants trying to reach Britain.
In broad daylight, migrants look for UK-bound lorries to board
TV news footage throughout this week has shown dozens of migrants openly boarding queued lorries after traffic was halted through the Channel Tunnel linking Britain and France due to disruption by striking French ferry workers.
Home Secretary Theresa May said “a significant number” of migrants had been intercepted by UK border officials and French authorities in the previous 24 hours.
“We have been looking at whether we can put more personnel and indeed sniffer dog teams on that side of the Channel to make a difference,” Mr Cameron told parliament, adding: “There is also more work being done in terms of installing fencing not just around the port at Calais but also around the Eurostar and Eurotunnel entrance.”
Mr Cameron said European Union member states needed to work together to tackle the migrant problem at its source in order to “break the link” between getting in a boat to cross the Mediterranean and getting settlement in Europe.
The Government says it is establishing a 90-strong taskforce, including representatives from the National Crime Agency, Border Force and immigration enforcement, to help gather intelligence on the trafficking gangs and their routes.
A spokeswoman for Mr Cameron said about 10 members of the team would be split between Europol in The Hague and an intelligence cell in Sicily, while the rest would be on standby to be sent out to Africa and other countries around the Mediterranean.
The mayor of Calais has criticised the British government for not doing enough to fund security in the port, and said Britain needed to overhaul its generous welfare system and improve identity controls she says make it a magnet for illegal immigrants.
Mr Cameron said Britain had already committed to investing £12 million on bolstering the border and was happy to do more if needed.
“We should work with the French closely, there is no point either side trying to point the finger of blame at each other. This is a strong partnership that we have in place and we should keep it that way,” he said.
Labour MP Keith Vaz, who chairs Westminster’s Home Affairs Select Committee, said the crisis at Calais “has been waiting to happen”.
And Shadow Immigration Minister David Hanson warned: “The situation has been caused by a wider humanitarian issue across the whole of the Mediterranean and North Africa, and is caused by hunger, civil war, political instability and by movement of peoples across the Mediterranean.”
EU Ministers were urged to find and fund “civilised camps” where migrants could be held until asylum and immigration claims were processed.
Tory veteran Ken Clarke said: “Obviously the member states of the EU – none of them can just take in the vast numbers of people who are fleeing here from poverty and oppression in Africa and the Middle East.
In stark contrast to the blanket coverage the so-called ‘migrant crisis’ is receiving in the UK, French media seem to be making a point of playing down events in Calais. There was not a single word in the pages of Thursday’s print versions of the national newspapers Libération, Le Figaro or La Parisien.
Wednesday’s papers had also ignored Calais, with the exception of Le Parisien, which devotes all of 100 words on page 8 to the news that Eurotunnel traffic had partially resumed. It too pointedly doesn’t mention anything about hundreds of migrants clambering onto trucks in the hope of getting across the Channel to England.