Migrant camps will come here if we quit EU, warns Cameron
Farage dismisses claim but MPs say idea of The Jungle in Kent is credible
Prime Minister David Cameron claims that migrant camps like The Jungle could spring up in Folkestone and Dover if the UK votes to leave the EU.
Folkestone and Hythe MP Damian Collins said it was a credible claim because the French authorities would have no incentive to co-operate by continuing to allow border controls to operate on the French side of the Channel.
The Prime Minister has said that if Britain leaves the EU, France will stop allowing UK officials to conduct the checks in their country under a treaty drawn up in 2003.
His claims have triggered a political row but Mr Collins said: “It is a credible claim because the current arrangements do work massively in our favour. If the French authorities were to remove border controls, then the migrants at Calais would end up in Kent and claim asylum here... it is a real risk.”
Ashford MP Damian Green, a supporter of staying in the EU, echoed: “The Prime Minister is quite right to warn about this. And it is not just the Prime Minister but the French Interior Minis- ter who has said there is a chance of this happening and the Mayor of Calais is actively campaigning to end the treaty.”
He said it was right to underline that leaving the EU would have negative consequences.
“It is right to underline both the negative and positive aspects. It is completely realistic to say that this could be a consequence of pulling out.”
But Ukip leader Nigel Farage dismissed the claims, pointing out that the treaty which had led to UK border controls being in Calais was a bilateral agreement.
In a tweet, he said: “David Cameron is doing anything he can to distract the British people from his disastrous, shambolic, pathetic EU deal.”
Dover MP Charlie Elphicke endorsed the PM’s warning, saying: “This treaty is extraordinarily important to our border controls.
“We need to remember it was agreed because of Sangatte [an earlier migrant camp] and if it was scrapped it would be a disaster. We work very well with the French with our border controls in place in Calais.”
According to The Telegraph, a Downing Street source said: “The French would love to pull out of the arrangement. We will be telling people – look, if we leave the EU The Jungle camp in Calais will move to Folkestone. That is not something people want.”
Mr Collins has also said that he is likely to support remaining in the EU on the basis of the package of reforms put forward by Mr Cameron.
Migrants at The Jungle makeshift camp in Calais
David Cameron’s claims have triggered a row