The numbers of migrants illegally arriving on our shores here in Dover and Deal is totally unacceptable. It’s clear a fresh approach is needed. First a new pact with France to secure firm action on both sides of the English Channel. Second the long needed reform of human rights laws.
It’s vital to see swift action as Winter approaches. The seas will get rougher. The water colder. The risk of yet more lives being lost greater. Stopping these dangerous crossings is a humanitarian response that both France and the UK should make right away.
Yet a new agreement with France would also be in the interests of France just as much as ourselves. The more migrants who cross to the UK, the more who will come to Calais to try their luck. This is the Calais migrant magnet we saw in the past when smuggling in the backs of lorries was all the rage. Indeed, before effective joint action was taken by France and the UK, thousands of migrants arrived in Calais, waiting for their moment to cross the Channel.
That migrant magnet gave rise to the notorious Calais Jungle. Thousands of people lived in squalor. There was no running water. No sanitation. Only rickety shacks covered with tarpaulins. Criminal gangs were free to pursue their evil enterprises in broad daylight – while people traffickers roamed free across the landscape.
The French authorities only took action to bulldoze the Jungle once it got completely out of hand. We are nearing that stage again with the small boats crisis. That is why a new agreement is now in the interests of France as well as the UK. So rather than a war of words, it is time to talk turkey and do a deal that works on both sides of the English Channel.
Next we need to reform human rights laws. People will only stop trying to get into Britain when migrants and traffickers alike know they will not succeed. Right now, once migrants are in, they are likely to remain, whether or not there is a valid claim to do so or whether they could have claimed a place of safety in France or anywhere else. They get immediate accommodation – and even a Domino’s pizza to keep them going. They know they will never be returned. Because hardly anyone ever is thanks to human rights laws.
It’s clear the reform of human rights is long overdue. Reform is needed now so that we can ensure illegal entrants are swiftly returned to home nations that are safe. It would also help ensure that others who are already here illegally can be returned to their home nations without delay.
Far too many illegal migrants have come to our shores this year. People here in Dover & Deal – and across the country – want to see swift and effective action. So let’s make a new accord with France, and reform human rights laws too, to end this crisis once and for all.