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French and British back sending army to Calais

Ben McPartland · 11 Aug 2015, 17:23

Published: 11 Aug 2015 17:23 GMT+02:00

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A call by the furious head of a UK hauliers association for the British army to be sent to Calais has won support from the general public in both Britain and France, a new poll has revealed.
A survey by YouGov found that a majority of the British public (67 percent) favoured sending in troops to help police the Eurotunnel and ferry terminals in Calais which are subject to nightly raids by migrants desperate to reach the UK.
And in France, where resentment has grown towards a 2003 treaty that moved the British border to French soil, there is also support among the public for sending in UK troops.
The survey revealed 54 percent of French people were in favour of sending in the troops, whereas as 27 percent opposed the idea.
It is not just the French public who would accept a deployment of British soldiers on French soil, with the head of local French police union also suggesting the idea of British soldiers helping to police the ferry and shuttle terminals was not a bad one.
"We have only 15 permanent French border police at the Eurotunnel site. Can you imagine how derisory this is given the situation? So I say, why not bring in the British army, and let them work together with the French?” said Bruno Noel, head of the Alliance union in Calais.
However when it comes to who is to blame for the Calais crisis, the public in France think a little differently to their British counterparts.
"You might expect French people to be blame the British government more, but actually they’re most likely to say the French and British government have equal responsibility (41 percent say this) or that neither of them do (33 percent)," writes Will Dahlgreen of YouGov. 
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"Only 11 percent of French people blame the British government."
But over the other side of the Channel, British people are quick to blame the French government with 40 percent saying Paris is more responsible for the crisis. 
And when it comes to the reason why so many migrants want to get to Britain, the British public believe it is because the UK has more welfare benefits, whereas the French think migrants head across the channel because it is easier to work without official documentation in Britain.

Ben McPartland (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

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