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PM's Brexit 'Jungle' warning dismissed by Shropshire MP Owen Paterson

North Shropshire | News | Published:

David Cameron's claim that leaving the European Union would lead to Calais-style refugee camps on the south coast of England have been dismissed as "scaremongering" by North Shropshire MP Owen Paterson.

Mr Paterson said an arrangement that sees border checks for migrants carried out by British guards at French ports – which Mr Cameron said would be at risk in the event of Brexit – was nothing to do with the country's relationship with the European Union.

He said neither Britain nor France would have any reason to amend the terms of the Le Touquet treaty as it was an agreement between the two countries alone.

About 5,000 migrants and refugees trying to reach the UK are thought to live at the 'Jungle' camp in Calais.

Under the terms of the February 2003 Le Touquet treaty, checks for migrants trying to illegally stow away on lorries or trains heading for Britain are carried out by British border guards at a number of French ports. French border guards have a similar operation in Dover.

Mr Cameron yesterday claimed that migrants would not encounter a British border guard until they were on British soil should the Le Touquet agreement founder, and said leaving the EU would jeopardise the treaty.

But Mr Paterson, a senior member of the Britain Out campaign, said: "This is a bi-lateral agreement between Britain and France. There would be no reason why the two countries would want to change the system we now have.

"We will get a lot more of this scaremongering in the next few weeks."

Mr Paterson said Mr Cameron had promised sweeping changes in Britain's role in the EU, but had failed to secure them.

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He said: "He has secured very little and that will get even less when the European Courts of Justice look at it for it is able to overrule everything. It is a country mile from the changes and reform that the Prime Minister promised."

The North Shropshire MP said that while the EU was looking a major issues, such as the redistribution of wealth from north to south in Europe, Mr Cameron was purely "tinkering around the edges".

"We are going to be left as an associate member of the EU as we will never be part of the Eurozone," he said. "This is the ideal time to wish the EU well and establish new trading relationships."

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