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Folkestone and Hythe MP Damian Collins says French handling of the Calais crisis has been "shameful"


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Folkestone and Hythe MP Damian Collins has branded the way French authorities have handled the Calais crisis as "shameful".

He attacked the French government for being "complicit in allowing migrants to travel to our border".

He then slammed France for not doing enough to move the estimated 3,000 migrants on from the "squalid conditions" in Calais who are living in the "faint hope" of reaching the UK.

MP Damian Collins
MP Damian Collins

His comments come after David Cameron announced during Prime Minister's Questions today, the government is considering providing further investment and resources for the border at Calais.

Mr Cameron this morning met with home secretary Theresa May and transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin to discuss the situation.

But Mr Collins said the scenes witnessed yesterday at the French terminal makes it "one of the worst days we have seen in terms of disruption at the Channel Tunnel".

He suggested whether the UK should consider taking legal action against the strikers and their unions because of the extensive delays and damage caused to the tracks in the tunnel.

Protesters outside the Calais port yesterday morning. Picture: @chriscary180605
Protesters outside the Calais port yesterday morning. Picture: @chriscary180605

Speaking to BBC News yesterday, Philippe Mignonet, a deputy to the mayor of Calais, said French people were "fed up" adding Britain needed to "take responsibility" for policing its borders.

"You're on an island and you can't see that it's your problem to deal with your security. I'm sorry to say so - it's your security." he told the BBC.

Mr Collins went on to criticise the way the situation has been handled by the French authorities.

He said: "It cannot be right that a strike at the Port of Calais can lead to the closure of Eurostar services, and disruption across our area.

"This should never have been allowed to happen.

"Moreover, the chaos has caused long queues for lorry drivers in Northern France, which in turn has provided opportunities for illegal immigrants to attempt to board them in the hope of entering the country.

"The situation is shameful for the French authorities, who have lost control and are complicit in allowing migrants to travel across France to our border. This is why we see the bottleneck in Calais that we do today.

Traffic is building up after a crash. Stock image
Traffic is building up after a crash. Stock image

"We have tried to help the French authorities and have provided funds and security fencing, but it is abundantly clear that they should be doing more.

"The French know that we will enforce our borders but they still allow migrants to congregate in squalid conditions with the faint hope that they might one day reach Britain."

He said 19,000 attempts to illegally enter the UK have been thwarted in 2015 according to the Home Office, more than double up to the same period last year.

Mr Collins added: "Granted, this reflects the worsening situations in many parts of the world, but more importantly it also demonstrates how effective our border controls are."

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