UK Calais Jungle children: Lord Alf Dubs says we must focus on safety, not age

Calais Jungle children: Lord Alf Dubs calls for greater focus on safety over age

A child in the Calais Jungle (Getty)

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Lord Alf Dubs has called for people to accept the fact that migrant children from Calais are here in large numbers and stop focusing on their age.

It's understood that 39 children arrived in the UK from the former site of the Calais Jungle this week, but there have been questions whether some may be adults. 

To verify migrant ages and reassure the public, Conservative MP David Davies called for mandatory teeth checks, although the British Dental Association said this was unethical. Meanwhile, the Home Office has reassured the public that the migrants would face different checks once in the UK.

Lord Dubs, one of Britain's longest-standing campaigners on refugee rights, called for people to focus on what's important, telling Jonny Gould and Ash "I wish [the migrant influx] had happened some months ago, but it's good news."

The Labour peer, who himself arrived in the UK as a child having escaped the Nazis, continued: "I don't think we should be diverted from welcoming what's happened by the emphasis on their age. 

"I'm assured the Home Office and French authories are being diligent in monitoring and assessing all of the young people before they come here. 

"I would have thought the key thing is they're going to have a decent life in this country, a chance for safety, and that's important."