British Prime Minister David Cameron has been slammed for describing migrants who are trying to get into the UK from France as a “swarm”.
Speaking while on his south-east Asian tour, Mr Cameron claimed the UK would not become a “safe haven” for illegal migrants from the French port of Calais.
He was responding to hundreds of French migrants who have attempted to cross into Britain.
“I accept that you’ve got a swarm of people coming across the Mediterranean, seeking a better life,” Mr Cameron said.
“But we need to protect our borders by working hand in glove with our neighbours, the French, and that’s exactly what we’re doing.”
This earned him criticism from acting Opposition Leader Harriet Harman, who said Mr Cameron should “remember he is talking about people, not insects”.
The Refugee Council, a leading charity which works with asylum seekers, said it was “awful, dehumanising language from a world leader”.
Pressure is growing on the British and French governments to find a solution, with no end in sight to long delays caused by the migrants’ activities, and a plea from the council near the British coast for help with growing numbers of unaccompanied minors.
France on Thursday bolstered its police presence in the northern port city of Calais.
They counted several hundred bids to enter the premises of the tunnel terminal, down significantly from the roughly 2300 attempts the night before.
Authorities arrested about 300 of the estimated 800-1000 migrants at the site.
One man died early on Wednesday, apparently crushed by a truck.
A teenage Egyptian boy was also fighting for his life after being electrocuted after jumping onto the roof of a Eurostar train bound for London at Paris’s central Gare du Nord station, a police source said.
France’s Interior Minister has sent an extra 120 police officers to the scene on a temporary basis, while London said it would provide an additional seven million pounds ($A14.76 million) to help beef up security on the French side.
Mr Cameron was on his way to Malaysia on Thursday as part of a tour of south-east Asia.
Earlier this week, it looked as if his visit would be dominated by corruption allegations levelled at Malaysian PM Najib Razak, The Guardian reported.
But now it seemed attention would be on whether the missing Malaysian Airlines plane had finally yielded its first tangible clue.
– with AAP