The "easy life" on offer in Britain means migrants are willing to risk dying in order to cross the English Channel, the mayor of Calais has said.
Natacha Bouchart told the Commons home affairs committee on Tuesday that fewer than 10% of the migrants and refugees clustered at the port city wanted to stay in France.
And she said she was "disgusted" by David Cameron's refusal to allow into Britain Syrian refugees who had already made it into Europe.
"Today there are 3,500 migrants in Calais. They demonstrate every day outside the Town Hall," she said.
"Less than 10% want to claim alyssum in France. All the others want to come to England. And we are going round and round in this circle. Even if we opened up 50,000 places in France, they wouldn’t claim asylum in France."
Asked why this was, she said "ease of life of immigrants in England" was the cause. "That's why they are ready to die and claim asylum here. And people are dying," she said.
Yesterday Cameron said the UK would let in up to 20,000 refugees over the next five years. However he said these would be from the camps on the Syrian border. Refugees who had already made it to Europe, including those in Calais, would not be allowed in.
Bouchart also sharply condemned the prime minister for this policy. "I am disgusted by that, she said.
"You understand the position we have been in for the last 15 years. When I say Mr Cameron despises, is contemptuous of, Calais, he doesn’t take refugees from Calais, that's proof he is contemptuous of the population of Calais."
Bouchart's comments came as:
- A Tory MP said an asylum seeking barber had prevented him getting a hair cut
- Yvette Cooper called on the government to accept more than 4,000 refugees this year