Times publishes Migration Watch chair calling for deportation deal with Syria’s Assad

Lord Green of Deddington has some novel solutions to the Calais crisis


Today the Times has turned over a chunk of its comment pages to Lord Green of Deddington, chairman of the never-reliable Migration Watch.

Lord Green calls for ‘radical action’ over attempted migration from Calais, France, displaying his trademark penchant for vague statistics and draconian measures. 

Here he is in full steam:

“I propose, therefore, that there should be a full search of trucks as they arrive at Dover, and that migrants discovered there (or subsequently at motorway service stations) should be taken to detention centres near by.

These centres should be ‘one stop shops’ that consider any asylum claims rapidly and on site; those who fail should be held until they can be removed.

If this requires changes in the present law then so be it. Further, our huge aid programme should be used as a carrot and, if necessary, as a stick to achieve return agreements with source countries.”

Since the ‘source countries’ for most of the people tying to reach Britain are war-torn Syria and Eritrea, this presumably means using ‘our huge aid programme’ to do a deal with Bashar al-Assad and Eritrean dictator Isaias Afewerki!

It might be quicker just to kill the asylum seekers ourselves at Dover.

Meanwhile Libya – another ‘source country’ – doesn’t really have a government with which to ‘achieve a return agreement’. Is Lord Green unaware of this?

As for changing the law so we can search trucks and detain people for as long as we like, it is odd that during the noble Lord’s classical education at Cambridge he never came across the Latin term Habeas Corpus.

Lord Green then calls for the introduction of ID cards in Britain. As Nick Cohen pointed out last week, the UK is currently one of the few countries in western Europe where the state may not order you to ‘produce your papers’ without just cause. But to hell with centuries of common law rights; Lord Green wants us to hunt migrants.

He also asserts, without referencing any evidence, that

“those who claim asylum have a 75 per cent chance of staying in Britain, illegally or otherwise.”

Without knowing where he plucks this from, we can only note that so far this year 72 per cent of all asylum claims were refused – that’s nearly three quarters of all applicants. (If anyone knows where Green’s numbers come from, please email [email protected])

Lord Green ends the piece with a vague line about how all this ‘might permit a more generous response to the needs of very vulnerable Syrians in UN camps‘ – a nice recycling of the ‘deserving vs undeserving migrants’ schtick which essentially means: Syrian refugees in camps in the Middle East = good, Syrian refugees in a camp in France = bad.

In fact, the refugees in Calais, er, came from the Middle East. It’s the same people.

Pause to note: this man is a knight of the realm with a seat in the upper chamber of parliament.

Adam Barnett is a staff writer at Left Foot Forward. Follow MediaWatch on Twitter

DONATE to support MediaWatch here.

Read more: 

Daily Mail is annoyed women were released from Yarl’s Wood ‘onto Britain’s streets’

Mail slams BBC Songs of Praise for filming Calais priest… then publishes his picture

Sign up for our weekly email by clicking here.

Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.