Calais camp refugees with ties to Britain should be let into the UK, Jeremy Corbyn says

The Labour leader says some people at the camp have British passports

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Indy Politics

Jeremy Corbyn has called for refugees based at camps on northern France to be let into the UK if they have ties to Britain.

The Labour leader, who visited the refugee areas in northern France at the weekend, said many refugees had British passports but were being denied access with their families to the UK. 

“I’m not saying all 9,000 should come in, I’m saying start with those that have a British connection and a British passport, that’s an obvious one.” he told ITV’s This Morning programme on Monday.

“The Home Office could let up a bit and be reasonable.

“I can’t put a figure on it, but what I would say is there are a number of people who have British passports, they want to come to Britain with their families, the Home Office isn’t allowing them in, for reasons I can only speculate, but maybe to do with the income of the family, possibly because there’s a more distant relative involved, an uncle or something. It seems to be there has to be a process.”

He described the camps, which are mainly inhabited by people who want to come to the UK, as a “public health hazard” and said the French authorities should do more to improve the “dreadful” conditions there.

Mr Corbyn recounted his experience at one of the camps at the weekend, saying he had met a young boy living in a tent whose British resident mother was bringing him weekly food parcels from the UK.

The young man, who the Labour leader said would make a “fantastic fist of his life” in the UK, was not allowed to join his family, however.

“A young man like that surely deserves to come in,” he argued.

David Cameron has said Britain will take 4,000 refugees a year from Syria, but that they would be sourced from camps near the conflict

People who have travelled to Europe are expected to be excluded from the scheme. The Government has previously voiced concerns about safe passage to the UK acting as an incentive for people to make the journey to Europe.

Ministers this weekend suggested a possible U-turn on the policy of excluding people who had travelled to Europe, however.

International Development Secretary Justine Greening told Sky News on Sunday that Britain could take child refugees from nearby camps.

The northern France camps, whose residents number under 10,000, have relatively few residents compared to the total number of refugees coming to Europe.

Germany has said it expects to take around a million refugees this year, while by far the most refugees are living in neighbouring Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon.