CONDEMNING the ‘dreadful conditions’ in Grande-Synthe refugee camp near Dunkirk, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn told Sky News that up to 3,000 people waiting in makeshift camps in Calais should be processed if they want to come to Britain.
The Labour leader said that the Labour Party has been too defensive about its immigration record and failed to make the case for the benefits of migration. He added of the Dunkirk camp: ‘We have got people here who have been here for months, if not longer than that, with no proper education, no access to doctors, no access to dentists, limited access to food – in very cold, very wet conditions.’
He added: ‘We as human beings have to reach out to fellow human beings.’ Aid workers said tents at the camp were surrounded by puddles of water and food, which had attracted rats. The population of the camp has risen steadily in recent weeks to about 2,500, including about 250 children, according to Medecins Sans Frontieres. It says most are Kurds from Iran, Syria and Iraq who hope to reach the UK.
Meanwhile, Richard Burnett Chief executive of the UK Road Haulage Association has demanded that the French authorities should deploy soldiers in order to secure the port of Calais. This came after the port was closed on Saturday and services were disrupted overnight after about 50 refugees briefly boarded a UK-bound P&O ferry.
The occupation took place during a 2,000-strong ‘refugees are welcome here’ protest at the port in support of families who are resisting having their dwellings bulldozed as the French police seek to make a ‘buffer zone’ between the ‘Jungle’ camp and a motorway.
Burnett said yesterday that the incident was the latest in a string of recent incursions in Calais, claiming it was ‘only a matter of time before our worst fears become a reality and a UK-bound truck driver is killed’. He said: ‘This shocking breach of security clearly shows that the migrant mayhem in and around Calais is not being tackled.
‘It is now time for the authorities to acknowledge and meet our demand for the French military to be deployed to secure the port and its approaches.’
He added: ‘The number of migrants in the camp has escalated, the number of attempts, violent attempts against drivers, has been escalating, and we think now, after yesterday’s incident, enough is enough, the time for discussion’s over – we need action.’
Damian Collins, Tory MP for Folkestone and Hythe, backed Burnett”s call, telling the BBC it was ‘incumbent on the French authorities to protect the port’. ‘If that requires deploying the military, then the French should do that,’ he added.