10:52 GMT23 September 2020
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    Sir Edward Leigh suggested a couple of solutions to the issue of migrants travelling to the shores of Britain from France, via the English Channel.

    He posted a tweet, addressing the “cross-Channel migrants problem.”

    “We should never have lost Calais in 1558. Why not take it back? On second thoughts, cheaper to pay the French a few million to stop them on the beaches,” Sir Edward said.

    ​A Conservative MP, who has served as a backbencher since 1983 and is a Brexit supporter, posted his tweet, as UK saw 65 migrants trying to cross the English Channel on 16 August.

    The boats were discovered a day after at least 151 migrants arrived on the Kent coast.

    Sir Edward Leigh’s proposals saw an extensive reaction among commentators online. One of them pointed out that the whole aim of Brexit “was to stop paying Europe and to take control of our own borders?”

    ​Other users discussed whether Sir Edward was suggesting “going to war with France.”

    ​Another user said: “Not all of us are still living in 1558 like you are, Edward.”

    ​Sir Edward, who comes from a conservative tradition, has represented Gainsborough since 1983 and was a junior minister in the Department of Trade and Industry in the early 1990s.

    A spike in immigrant numbers has prompted the UK Immigration Minister Chris Philp to visit France to engage in negotiations and demand stronger measures from French authorities.

    Following a meeting on 11 August, Philp said the two countries are working on a “wide, new plan to” stop “dangerous and unnecessary small boat crossings” of migrants.

    Immigration was high on the list of concerns raised by Brexiteers during the 2016 referendum on UK’s membership of the European Union. In the recent days, more than 500 people have been intercepted crossing the English Channel, pushing the UK Home Office to ask defence chiefs for help with illegal migrant crossings.

    Tags:
    Calais, migrants, English Channel, Immigration
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