COMMONS

Urgent migrant situation at Calais evidence session

14 July 2015

The Home Affairs Committee holds its first evidence session on the urgent migrant situation in Calais.

Witnesses

Tuesday 14 July 2015, Grimond Room, Portcullis House

At 2:45pm

  • Alan Pughsley QPM, Chief Constable, Kent Police

At 3.10pm

  • Richard Burnett, Chief Executive, Road Haulage Association
  • James Hookham, Deputy Chief Executive, Freight Transport Association
  • John Keefe, Director of Public Affairs, Eurotunnel

At 4.00pm 

  • Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP, Minister for Immigration

Background

The newly reformed Commons Home Affairs Committee, chaired by the Rt Hon Keith Vaz MP, takes its first evidence of the new Parliament on the immigration situation in Calais.

Last week a migrant died apparently trying to jump aboard a Channel Tunnel train bound for London, just days after 150 migrants tried to storm the Channel Tunnel terminal in France.

In the last Parliament, the Committee went to Calais to see the illegal immigration situation facing the town.

Chair's comments

Keith Vaz MP, newly re-elected Chair of the Committee, said:

"We in no way underestimate the scale of the task at hand in Calais, but we are concerned that there is a sense that the situation there is spiralling out of control. The Deputy Mayor of Calais told me last week that the situation in Calais is like a "civil war".

The security measures at both the ferry and tunnel ports appear to be creaking under the strain of the enormous increase in migrants who have flooded the town in search of a better life in the UK. Fences are not enough. The number of people who have crossed the border illegally to reach Dover via Calais has trebled in the past year and many lives have been lost in the process, including the two tragic cases we have seen in recent weeks.

We are keen to speak to the local authorities to see whether they have the necessary resources, support and skills to hand to perform the role demanded of them as a major port of entry through Europe and to the UK, as well as the transport operators. It is also important that the Committee hear from those who are tackling the situation on British soil, namely in Kent. The Committee hopes to hear concrete proposals from the UK Minister for Immigration on the situation in Calais to ensure that security is further strengthened and fewer lives are lost."

Further information

Image: PA

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