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Calais Jungle crisis - Dover and Deal MP Charlie Elphicke and French regional leader Xavier Bertrand meet


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Politicians who met today to discuss how to solve the Calais migrant crisis have decided the Jungle camp needs to be closed.

The talks also concluded people traffickers need to be targeted, and migrants should be helped to get back to their own countries.

The Anglo-French meeting at the Calais ferry terminal involved Kent MP Charlie Elphicke and French region leader Xavier Bertrand.

Migrants at Calais. Picture: Oli Scarff/Getty Images
Migrants at Calais. Picture: Oli Scarff/Getty Images

Mr Bertrand said: "The people of Calais cannot wait any longer."

Dover and Deal MP Charlie Elphicke said: "For too long tourists and truckers have been terrorised. Its high time the traffickers' petrol bombing of lorries and and threats with machetes was stopped.

"I watched in shock as a migrant accosted a Mercury reporter for his camera. Even a Danish woman reporter was told to leave the camp by migrants because of her dress."

Also at the meeting were representatives of P&O and DFDS, Calais Mayor Natacha Bouchart and Port of Dover chief Tim Waggott.

The plans will be put forward to both British and French governments. No formal date for the closure of the Jungle was announced.


Reporter Sam Lennon's experience of The Jungle

There is no exaggeration that The Jungle is a squalid Third World shanty town.

Set near a flyover of a main port road to Calais, the N216, on the outskirts of the town it is a sprawling informal community with ramshackle homes, mainly tents and many distinctively blue.

It is in a dunes area close to the sea so literally looks like a desert township.

On a nearby wall are the huge graffitied words "London calling."

Inhabitants are mostly young African and Asian men. I am there with Dover and Deal MP Charlie Elphicke as he attends a conference on the town's ferry terminal.

Earlier, Mr Elphicke was doing interview set pieces at the main entrance to the camp.

I approached some of the migrants coming in and out out to ask them which countries they were from and why they wanted to come to England.

They refused to talk to me, saying "not today".

I climbed a hillock to get some panoramic footage of the camp and I was approached by a man with an Indian sounding accent.

I couldn't understand what he was saying but he suddenly grabbed my camera and rapidly deleted all the footage and stills I had taken so far.

He said something I didn't quite catch but it sounded like the others would "get me".

I retreated and tried again to film more from a discreet distance. I stayed close to tough-looking riot cops.

When I ventured back to the camp entrance I filmed again and an Asian migrant said to me "people don't like you filming here".

Another Asian-looking young man started pulling down my camera, creating upside-down images.

Time to retreat again as my appearance with a camera was like a red rag to a bull.

The Jungle lives up to its reputation as a frightening place, steeped in tension.


Lorry drivers coming into the port are under constant attack from migrants, steered by people traffickers, trying to break into their vehicles to sneak into Britain.

Mr Elphicke previously demanded that two main sources of the problem are tackled - closing down the Jungle migrant camp at Calais, which has now swollen to 9,000 people, and going directly after the people smugglers whom he believes are the chief culprits.

British Immigration Minister Robert Goodwill has just announced plans to build a 4m high double wall to keep migrants off the Calais port road.

The Calais conference with MP Elphicke and French regional leader Xavier Bertrand
The Calais conference with MP Elphicke and French regional leader Xavier Bertrand

But Mr Elphicke has said that high fences already put up has meant that lorries are targeted further down the road.

France’s interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve’s has vowed to dismantle the camp “as quickly as possible” but has not set a timetable for this.

This has been welcomed in a joint statement by the Port of Dover and the ferry companies P&O Ferries and DFDS Seaways.

Charlie Elphicke MP
Charlie Elphicke MP

Mr Elphicke says that dismantling the camp would remove the magnet for migrants.

While it is migrants who are seen breaking into lorries and are being accused of attacking truckers Mr Elphicke believes the problem is being driven by the people smugglers who he says are practicing a trade of “modern day slavery.”

The MP says that some migrants, after being smuggled into Britain, end up having to work in brothels and fruit fields.

He is calling for them to be jailed for at least 20 years and for all their assets to be seized.

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