CAROLINE ANSELL MP: Speedy help needed for Calais refugee children

Conservative MP Caroline Ansell chats to Syrian mother Samar* and her two month-old daughter Nahla*, inside Save the Children's Child Friendly Space during a visit to the Kara Tepe refugee camp on Lesvos, Greece. SUS-160510-131511001

Conservative MP Caroline Ansell chats to Syrian mother Samar* and her two month-old daughter Nahla*, inside Save the Children's Child Friendly Space during a visit to the Kara Tepe refugee camp on Lesvos, Greece. SUS-160510-131511001

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With a number of colleagues, earlier this week I wrote to the Home Secretary Amber Rudd, urging speedy help for unaccompanied children and young people in the Calais Jungle who have family in Britain.

I should stress that these young ones already have an established legal right to join us.

I was pleased to see the letter printed in the Daily Telegraph on Monday.

The letter was organised and supported by UNICEF, who are doing extraordinary work in very troubling circumstances.

Within hours of the letter appearing I had a complaint that I am condoning illegal immigration.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Not only is the Jungle a humanitarian nightmare, it is a harbour for those who, by day and night and using any and every means, do, illegally attempt to storm our borders.

The camp is going, we must move swiftly to lift those who have already been granted access to the UK but who languish on, caught up in bureaucracy.

Anyone who knows my work and my thinking in this area will know that I support unequivocally the government’s strategy to focus our resources in the region and to not act in any way which would inspire people to make the perilous journey across the continent.

My time in the refugee camps and in the shoreline in Lesbos with Save The Children only confirmed that to me.

Part of the letter is printed here, with the full text is available on my website, and as ever I would be interested in your views.

Email me at caroline.ansell.mp@parliament.uk

Dear Home Secretary,

Our Prime Minister recently returned from President Obama’s global summit on the refugee crisis having rightly committed to ensure that the UK can tackle this problem at its source.

We now must show we can do the same closer to home.

Recently, a 14-year-old boy died in Calais when he fell off a truck while trying to reach the UK.

He had a legal right to be with his brother, but having waited for months in wretched conditions for the process to work, he took fate into his own hands with devastating consequences.

He had travelled thousands of miles to find his family and his journey ended in tragedy twenty miles from our border. 

We are sure you feel as heartbroken as we do about this and the conditions in the camp he was trying to escape.

Children are living alone in tents donated by the generous British people, living each day in fear of violence, exposed to criminals and, as we have seen, at risk of losing their lives.

With the French authorities planning to dismantle the camp, life is only likely to get harder for these vulnerable children.