‘But they can stay in France?’ Dale stuns refugee activist on ‘desperate’ crossing claim

Iain Dale tells activist that refugees 'have other choices'

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CEO of Refugee Action Tim Naor Hilton gave his assessment of the refugee crisis in Afghanistan and said many people were “desperate” and looking for ways they could lead safe and fulfilling lives. He called for the UK to “step up” and accept more refugees as he and LBC’s Iain Dale debated the English Channel migrant crossings after there were record-breaking crossings once again on Saturday. But Mr Dale took issue with Mr Hilton’s claim, suggesting if the refugees were so desperate for safety why then do they not stay in France and choose to make the dangerous Channel crossings.

Speaking on LBC, Mr Hilton looked at the situation in Afghanistan and defended those who were making the dangerous crossing to the UK in search of a better life. 

He told the radio station: “The situation we are seeing in Afghanistan we are seeing in real-time how people become refugees.

“The chaos, the terror, the fear, and this situation is playing out across the world, it may not be playing out on the world’s media but the people arriving in this country are fleeing very similar situations. 

“And they’re fleeing their situations without any possible routes to safety and so the people making these trips in the boats don’t have any other choice…”

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Mr Dale quickly interrupted and said refugees could stay in France rather than sail to the UK.

He added: “There’s no point saying ‘yes but’, that is a clear option there are many countries that they will have come through before getting to Calais and yet they choose to make these dangerous journeys.

“I can understand some of the reasons for that, a lot of people want to come to this country and in a way, it’s a tribute to this country. 

“But you can’t sit there and say they have no other options because they do.”

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Mr Hilton said the situation was a “global crisis” and the majority of the refugees end up in neighbouring countries or other nearby nations. 

He said many do not come all the way but those who do usually have family connections or are desperate and so the UK should help them out. 

The activist concluded and said the UK should be stepping into this crisis to help out as there is only a small amount of people attempting to enter the UK. 

Migrant crossings in the Channel have been ramping up in recent weeks as the UK Government is pushing through a new migrant bill aimed to crack down on crossings. 

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On Saturday, a record 828 migrants crossed the Channel with French authorities stopping a further 193 people crossing in 10 different incidents.

The UK Government have been spending millions to bolster security at France’s northern beaches to stop migrant crossings but critics have slammed France for not doing enough. 

Home Secretary Priti Patel also announced the UK will resettle 20,000 Afghans over the course of the next few years despite calls from Labour to increase the amount. 

Refugee activists, like Mr Hilton, believe the ongoing situation in Afghanistan will cause another refugee crisis in Europe with the EU attempting to resettle refugees closer to Afgahniatsn before they arrive at the external border. 

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