The UK will take Calais children 'within days' (but not enough)

The Home Secretary told the house that 'dozens' of child refugees would be allowed to settle in the UK, far short of the numbers hoped for by campaigners

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Indy Politics

Dozens of children living in the Calais 'Jungle' camp will be brought to the UK within days, the Home Secretary has announced, amid criticisms that the government should be doing more to help those displaced when the camp is destroyed in the coming weeks.

Amber Rudd said a list of unaccompanied children with family links to the UK is expected to be supplied to the Government by French officials this week.

The Government will then act "with all urgency", Ms Rudd said in a statement to the House of Commons.

"We have been pressing for a list," she said. "The French, we believe, will now give that to us this week, and be in no doubt we will move with all urgency - a matter of days, a week at the most, in order to deliver on that commitment when we get it."

Earlier she said it would be “a really good result” if Britain takes only 300 lone child refugees from the camp.

The demolition of the jungle is expected to begin next week, with campaigners fighting for the future of 387 children with families living in the UK, who they say have a legal right to settle here.

Ms Rudd met French interior minister, Bernard Cazeneuve to discuss dismantling the camp. Before the meeting she 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.”

Official estimates put the number unaccompanied children in the Calais between 600 and 900.

Demolition could start as early as 17 October. The camp’s 10,000 population will be dispersed within weeks.

“We cannot imagine the UK, with its traditions of human rights, will refuse to admit unaccompanied minors into the UK. The main objective is to ensure that these minors have a better life in the UK where they have family or friends living in the country,” said a member of Cazeneuve’s staff.

“At present, the time it is taking for the British authorities to process these children is far too long. It needs to be cut to a matter of days. We need an agreement on this very urgently.”