Prime Minister David Cameron has warned that illegal immigrants using Calais as a launching point to enter the UK were doing so for economic reasons and he was determined to make sure the border was secure.
At the same time he said this country had been “one of the most generous countries in Europe” for granting asylum to refugees fleeing persecution or danger.
Asked today whether the UK does enough to take in people seeking asylum while also tackling illegal immigration, he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I think we do. If you take a 25-year view, Britain has always been one of the most generous countries in Europe for giving people asylum.
“But what we can’t do is allow people to break into our country. A lot of people coming to Europe are coming in search of a better life, they are economic migrants and they want to enter Britain illegally and the British people and I want to make sure our borders are secure and you can’t break into Britain without permission.”
The chaotic scenes at the Channel crossings, with economic migrants attempting to stow away on vehicles travelling on ferries or through the tunnel, has been well covered by Breitbart London. It has been one of the single biggest issues faced by Mr Cameron during his first 100 days of majority Tory rule.
The Prime Minister caused controversy when he blamed the crisis on a “swarm” of migrants risking the dangerous crossing of the Mediterranean to reach Europe. He refused to back away from using the word and while he again acknowledged the problem of illegal immigration was unable to offer a single new policy that could stem the flow.
“I was explaining that there are a large number of people crossing the Mediterranean and coming from the Middle East and coming to Europe,” he said as he defended the use of the word. “I was not intending to dehumanise.”
He added: “I don’t think it does dehumanise people. Look at what Britain’s response has been. I made sure that we sent the Royal Navy flagship to the Mediterranean which has rescued thousands of people, saved thousands of lives.”
The UK’s aid budget had been spent on helping to stabilise some of the countries which had been the source of migrants, he concluded.