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French police to close ‘jungle’ immigrant camp

FRENCH police are expected to move in today to clear the immigrant camp in Calais known as “the jungle”, and detain about 1,500 mainly Afghan asylum seekers.

British Home Secretary Alan Johnson said yesterday he was “delighted” about the impending closure of the camp.

Britain has ruled out taking them in, and Johnson said genuine refugees should apply for asylum in the country where they entered the EU.

Those who are not escaping persecution should return home, he said.

Speaking after talks in Brussels with his French counterpart Eric Besson, Johnson said reports that Britain could be “forced” to take illegal immigrants were “wrong”.

EU justice commissioner Jacques Barrot has demanded a change in European law to allow a “significant number” to be fast-tracked into Britain, it was reported.

Johnson said: “I met today with Eric Besson at the Justice and Home Affairs Council in Brussels to discuss the issue of illegal immigrants in northern France. I stressed the importance to our joint relationship of closing the ‘jungle’ at Calais and was delighted to be told that France is honouring our July agreement in Evian by closing the camp by the end of the week.

“Reports that the UK will be forced to take illegal immigrants from the ‘jungle’ are wrong.

“Both countries are committed to helping individuals who are genuine refugees, who should apply for protection in the first safe country that they reach.

“We expect those who are not in need of protection to return home.”


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