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MPs demand answers from Home Secretary over Calais Jungle camp

Published 10/10/2016

Children at the Jungle camp at Calais
Children at the Jungle camp at Calais

Home Secretary Amber Rudd will be summoned to answer questions from MPs about the future of the Jungle migrant camp in Calais.

Tory MP David Burrowes, who has raised concerns about the fate of children in the camp, has been granted an urgent question in the Commons.

Ms Rudd's Commons appearance comes after her French counterpart said the UK had a "moral duty" to take in all children with family links to Britain who are currently in the camp.

French president Francois Hollande has said the Jungle site would close before winter, with its 9,000 inhabitants dispersed around the country.

The Home Secretary was holding talks with French interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve which are expected to cover the migrant crisis and the situation at the English Channel port.

Ahead of the talks, Mr Cazeneuve told RTL radio he wanted the UK to take in " several hundred isolated minors with family in Britain".

In a sign of the continuing difficulties around Calais, a British driver was involved in an accident which killed an Eritrean migrant and left his wife injured.

Reports suggested the Eritrean man had been part of a group trying to put obstacles in the road to slow down lorries in an effort to climb on board.

Ms Rudd has insisted the UK is not "slacking" in taking in vulnerable youngsters from France.

The first group of around 100 unaccompanied youngsters are expected to come to the UK in the next few weeks.

The Home Secretary told The Daily Mail: "We have about 100 in train who we hope to bring over in the next few weeks but on top of that I've made it clear that we will take children from the Dubs agreement."

She said official estimates of unaccompanied children in the Jungle ranged between 900 and 600, adding: "If we ended up taking half of that lesser number that would be a really good result."

But her efforts were condemned by Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron who said: "The Government knows that there are 387 children who have a legal right to come to the UK and whose details have been passed, by campaigners, to the Home Office.

"These terrified children are trapped in a refugee camp in Calais that a judge said was a 'living hell'.

"These children are suffering squalor, destitution and desperation because the Government is dragging its feet. The Government have betrayed these children. It's unforgivable.

"This is a stain on the conscience of Theresa May and it is a stain on Britain's reputation."

In a statement, French officials at the Prefecture du Pas-de-Calais said: "On Sunday October 9 towards 8.30am on the motorway A16, after around 50 migrants overran the road and tried to slow down the traffic by placing different objects on the road to try and climb onto heavy goods vehicles heading to the UK, a driver trying to avoid these obstacles struck two Eritrean migrants.

"Emergency services attended and took the two victims to hospital in Calais."

The injured man, whose age is not known, died later that evening. The other injured migrant was a woman in her thirties.

The British driver, who was set upon by migrants, continued his journey and went straight to police at the site of the Tunnel.

An investigation is under way.

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From Belfast Telegraph