Cameron 'shares Philip Hammond's concerns' about migrant threat
shares the foreign secretary’s concerns about millions of African migrants threatening the UK’s standards of living, Downing Street has said.
The prime minister’s official spokeswoman on Monday backed about the inability of Europe to absorb millions of new residents from Africa, but would not repeat his language about migrants “marauding” around the Channel tunnel entrance at Coquelles, near Calais, in northern France.
She said: “The point that the foreign secretary was making, and which the prime minister shares, is the scale of this problem. The figures show the detection of 150,000 migrants seeking to enter the EU.”
She added: “There is a challenge of hundreds of thousands of migrants seeking to come to the EU and the PM has spoken before about the pressure that puts on communities in terms of public services. But the focus should be on the measures we can take, the practical measures.”
Asked whether Cameron would use the same rhetoric as Hammond about “marauding” migrants, she said some had threatened people at Coquelles but she would not be “commenting on every single word that a cabinet minister does or doesn’t use”.
“The prime minister would focus on the practical steps that we should be taking,” she said. “It is a fact that there have been tens, if not more, of migrants around the tunnel entrance at Coquelles every night seeking to threaten people there and to break through our fences and to enter the UK illegally.”
On Sunday Hammond was accused by the Labour leadership candidates of scaremongering after he claimed “can’t protect itself” if it had to take in millions of migrants from Africa.
while visiting Singapore on Sunday, Hammond said: “The gap in standards of living between Europe and Africa means there will always be millions of Africans with the economic motivation to try to get to Europe.
“So long as there are large numbers of pretty desperate migrants marauding around the area, there always will be a threat to the tunnel security. We’ve got to resolve this problem ultimately by being able to return those who are not entitled to claim asylum back to their countries of origin.”
Hammond said EU laws meant migrants could be “pretty confident” that after setting foot on EU soil they would not be returned to their country of origin. “Now that is not a sustainable situation because Europe can’t protect itself, preserve its standard of living and social infrastructure if it has to absorb millions of migrants from Africa.”
In July rights groups and politicians rounded on Cameron when he that there was a “” to seek a better life in Britain.
When it was announced last week that Britain was to fund an extra 100 border guards at the Channel tunnel terminal on the French side, Hammond said the government had “got a grip” on the Calais migrant crisis, but over the weekend the prime minister appeared to contradict the foreign secretary, saying: “We have done a lot in recent days to improve the situation but there’s a lot more to do.”
An estimated 5,000 migrants have gathered in Calais this summer, with hundreds attempting to get on to shuttle trains or freight lorries to travel through the tunnel to the UK. At least nine people have died trying to cross to Britain during the crisis, and it was reported last week that a Sudanese man walked almost the entire length of the 31-mile tunnel from France before being apprehended by Kent police close to the exit at Folkestone.
More than 120,000 migrants have arrived in Greece so far this year, including 50,000 in July alone. About 90,000 have travelled to Italy by sea so far this year, after it received 170,000 in 2014, according to the UN refugee agency.
Many of the newcomers then look to move swiftly to northern Europe, including to England. Germany has more people applying for asylum than any other EU country and is expecting to receive more than 400,000 applications this year, more than double the number in 2014.