Fury as top French politician calls for part of Calais migrant camp to be officially made part of UK

A TOP French politician has called for a hotspot in Calais where migrants waiting to cross the Channel can claim British asylum.

Regional president Xavier Bertrand wants an area at the Jungle camp to become UK territory.

But Downing Street has dismissed his suggestion, saying: “The principles of asylum are governed by international rules and they won’t be changing.”

Mr Bertrand wants an agreement similar to the Treaty of Le Touquet, which allows British immigration to check passports in Calais and their French counterparts to do the same in Dover.

 

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This would interfere with the Dublin RegulationCredit: AP:Associated Press

He said: “I want a new treatment for asylum claims of migrants who want to claim asylum in England.

“It is not possible to keep the border here without a new agreement between the French and British governments.”

But his suggestion would be a radical departure from the Dublin Regulation, which states refugees must register in the first European country they reach.

Understanding the Calais ‘Jungle’ camp where thousands of refugees are desperate to make it to Britain

THE “Jungle” camp in Calais is home to roughly 10,000 desperate migrants and refugees from war-torn or poverty-stricken countries across the world. Many in the camp seek to enter the UK illegally via the Port of Calais, Eurotunnel, or by sneaking onto lorries making a trip across the Channel. Most come from conflict zones such as Somalia, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and Sudan. The name "Jungle" came about because it is a translation of the Pashto word "dzhangal" which means forest, according to Calais Migrant Solidarity – a local activist NGO. Pashto is one of the two official languages of Afghanistan and is the second-largest regional language in Pakistan, and is used by many of the thousands of the refugees in the Calais camp. Migrants would set up camp on unoccupied land before building a camp elsewhere after being moved on by the authorities. Fourteen years later in April 2015 it was reported the "principal" camp in Calais was based on a former landfill site three miles from the centre of the city. It was said to be home to the 1000 of the 6000 refugees in Calais at the time, and was one of nine camps in the city. Unlike the others it had showers, toilets, electricity, and one hot meal was served each day. There have been various "jungle" camps around the French city since 1999.

And a Home Office source said: “This is a complete non-starter. The Home Secretary is crystal clear that people in need of protection should seek asylum in the first safe country they enter.”

Britain is threatening to review its security ties with France if the Calais border is shifted across the Channel.

A senior Government source said: “It is a bilateral agreement. They depend on us for a lot of security advice and co-operation after the Nice attack.

"There are other elements in our security relationship I don’t think they would be interested in having changed.”

Mr Bertrand’s proposal echoes that of former French president Nicolas Sarkozy, who is seeking re-election.

At a recent rally, Mr Sarkozy demanded “a centre in Britain to deal with asylum seekers so Britain can do the work that concerns them”.

Former ambassador to Paris Sir Peter Ricketts said Mr Bertrand’s calls could lead to more migrants arriving in Calais, aiming for the UK.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd makes her first overseas engagement today to visit French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve in Paris to discuss security.

A spokesman said: “We remain committed to working together to protect our shared border in Calais.”

Tory MP for Dover Charlie Elphicke said: “We need order at the border. That means both Britain and France must work together.”

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