‘We’re being taken for a ride’ Tory MP slams Ministers over ‘clearly...

‘We’re being taken for a ride’ Tory MP slams Ministers over ‘clearly adult’ child refugees

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Philip Davies said the row over the real ages of supposed minors being brought over from the Jungle camp was doing “irreparable damage” to public confidence in the asylum system and called for tougher checks.

The Shipley MP said he had been contacted by a “large number” of people who had said “how angry they are that we’re being taken for a ride” since his fellow Tory David Davies made a proposal to make new arrivals undergo dental tests to verify their ages.

And he blasted: “We agreed to take in child refugees. Surely it’s not too much to ask of the Government to ensure that they are children and clearly this is not the case.”

Mr Davies was speaking in the House of Commons, where he had called an urgent parliamentary question to address the spiralling controversy over Britain’s child refugee policy.

The Tory backbencher said the escalating row was seriously harming the prospects of genuine child refugees living in the horrific Jungle camp by eroding public confidence in immigration and turning opinion against helping asylum seekers.

And he referred to a recent controversy where the fostering charity TACT was forced to issue a grovelling apology after wrongly claiming that one refugee child whose age was questioned was actually an interpreter.

Home Office minister Robert GoodwillHome Office minister Robert Goodwill slammed the media for publishing their pictures

A child refugeeThe ages of some of the refugee children have been questioned

He said: “People only have to see the pictures of the so-called child refugees to see that many of them are not children.

“The Home Office have admitted that two-thirds of people claiming to be child refugees are shown to be not children.

“Even the charities have had to accept this, trying to explain people who are clearly older as translators only to be told that they weren’t translators at all they were actually claiming to be child refugees.

“A large number of my constituents have contacted me to say how angry they are that we’re being taken for fools, taken for a ride and our generosity is being abused.

“Does the Minister not understand that unless a grip is taken over this then it will do irreparable damage to public confidence in the asylum system?”

People only have to see the pictures of the so-called child refugees to see that many of them are not children

Tory MP Philip Davies

In response Home Office minister Robert Goodwill said that the media should not have published photographs of the refugees arriving in Britain, arguing that they are “vulnerable children” and need protection.

He said: “I think we’d all agree that teenagers appearances vary widely and my officials and all those working in these difficult circumstances have the safety and welfare of young people in mind.

“We have made significant progress to bring to the UK those children with family members. We are absolutely determined to get those children here, but I would call on all members of the house, the media and the public to respect the privacy of those vulnerable young people.”

Mr Goodwill also reiterated the Government’s opposition to bringing in dental checks for refugee children, quoting medical experts who have branded them “inaccurate” and “unethical”.

But he was stumped when Mr Davies quoted back at him policy from the Home Office’s own website which extols the virtues of the tests, saying they should be given “considerable weight” in determining children’s ages.

Mr Davies raged: “How on earth can they be unreliable or unethical in this particular example when they’re being touted on the Government’s as being sensible?”

The Tory MP then addressed concerns, raised by some, that adult asylum seekers posing as children could be sent to mainstream state schools to sit in class alongside British youngsters.

As he was heckled by some MPs on the opposition benches, he said: “If somebody claims to be 14, do we just accept it and send them to a local school with all the obviously safeguarding issues that would be involved if they were actually adults?

“The Government owes the British public and genuine child refugees a promise to get a grip on this particular situation.”

Britain is bringing across around 200 child refugees from the Calais Jungle camp, which is due to be razed to the ground by French authorities.

However, the Home Office scheme has descended into farce following a series of revelations about the lax checks that have been carried out on the youngsters.

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