Yvette Cooper: We Must Take 500 Lone Child Refugees Before France Closes The Calais 'Jungle'

'Let our two proud countries both do our bit to help children'.
Joe Giddens/PA Wire

Yvette Cooper is calling on the Government to take 500 lone child refugees as the French government plans to close down the Calais ‘jungle’ camp.

Speaking at Labour conference on Wednesday, the former Shadow Home Secretary is expected to tell Theresa May to stop “the bureaucratic delays” and provide sanctuary to the child refugees.

Cooper is working with fellow Labour MP Stella Creasy and peer Lord Dubs to get support for an amendment which calls for immediate action on the issue.

In a speech tomorrow, Cooper - Chair of Labour’s Refugee Taskforce – is expected to say: “In Calais tonight 1000 children will go to sleep in muddy tents, alone in a camp run by traffickers and criminal gangs.

“Now France say they will dismantle the camp by Christmas, moving people to accommodation centers across the country where their asylum claims will be assessed. And they are right to do so. The camp is dangerous.

“But there are no places for lone children. No safe accommodation for the child refugees alone in the camp to go. Last time they cleared the camp, many of the children just disappeared. This is urgent.

“The French and British Children’s Commissioners are demanding action

“This stand-off between France and Britain over who will help the children has to end.

“Children’s lives and children’s safety are being put at risk because politicians and bureaucrats can’t agree.

“Let us call on them now to end the stand off, let our two proud countries both do our bit to help children.

“Stop the bureaucratic delays, stop forcing children to live in fear and danger while the bureaucratic wheels turn.

“Let each country now take half the children and get them into safety fast while their assessments are done

“And for Britain that must include all the children whose family are here and who can care for them.”

The French government is planning to close the Calais camp by October 31.