Nicolas Sarkozy is aiming to be re-elected as the French president next year and has been appealing to French populism, in a country reeling from a number of sickening terrorist attacks.
Last week, as he launched his election campaign, he said he would make the burkini ban nationwide, even if the French high courts rejected the law. Sarkozy said he would change the constitution to ensure it was enshrined in law.
Now Mr Sarkozy has pledged to shift the UK border back across the Channel if he was voted back into power. This would mean that the “Jungle” camp in Calais would presumably move to UK shores, in the Kent area. It is assumed this would be met with fierce opposition from the county, who voted to leave the EU.
Sarkozy, in 2003, while working as interior minister, signed the 2003 Le Touqet treaty that allows British officials to check passports on French soil, at Calais.
Sarkozy said during a speech over the weekend: “I’m demanding the opening of a centre in Britain to deal with asylum seekers in Britain, so that Britain can do the work that concerns them.
“The Jungle should not be in Calais or anywhere else, because this is a republic and those with no rights to be here should return to their country.”
The president of the Calais region, Xavier Bertrand, wants to allow migrants in France to claim asylum in the UK, from the port’s “Jungle” camp.
But the British government has rejected Bertrand’s demands and any changes to the existing agreement. A Home Office source told the Independent: “This is a complete non-starter. The Home Secretary is crystal clear that people in need of protection should seek asylum in the first safe country they enter. That’s the long-held norm, and we are going to stick to it.”
Home Secretary Amber Rudd is expected to stand firm on the issue during a visit to the French capital on Tuesday. It was reported today that almost 28,000 illegal entry arrests in past three years.