Hackney North and Stoke Newington MP Diane Abbott has described conditions in the Calais migrant camp as “appalling” after visiting the site known as the ‘Jungle’ with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.
“It’s hard to believe that people are living like this in Europe in the twenty-first century, ” the MP told East London Lines.
During the visit last weekend, they were shown around by volunteers who are providing on site help to several thousand refugees and asylum seekers living there in temporary accommodation. They also witnessed a demonstration against French authorities’ attempts to demolish part of the site and move the migrants elsewhere. Ms Abbott, who is the Shadow International Development Secretary, also hit out at David Cameron’s comment in Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday referring to a “bunch of migrants”. She criticised the government’s response to the crisis and described it as “inadequate”.
David Cameron promised last September to welcome 20,000 Syrian refugees by 2020 to the UK under the Vulnerable Persons Resettlement scheme but some politicians and human rights activists said not enough was being done.
Phase two of the resettlement programme is due to start in March 2017. Ms Abbott insisted that the government had to show more understanding of the crisis and its political causes, to help a large number of people in “a very serious and deeply depressed state”.