As the Calais migrant crisis worsens, is Nigel Farage right that the army should now be drafted in?

Nigel Farage says the army should intervene (Source: Getty)

Steven Woolfe, Ukip’s migration spokesman, says Yes

Of course he is! The answer is found in the narrative of the question. As any Sandhurst student will tell you, “aid in support of civil authorities” is one reason why we have our armed forces. Unfortunately, instead of aiding the civil authorities for things like floods, in this case, the army needs to be deployed in part because of government incompetence in reducing the number of UK border staff in Calais and Dover.

What dedicated border staff remain can’t cope, and need army support. As the first UK politician to visit both the official €3m (£2.1m) Calais migrant camp in January and the latest “Jungle” camp six weeks ago, I witnessed this crisis beginning to unfold, and said so at the time.

The French and UK governments’ co-ordinated response has been, lamentably, too little, too late and it is likely that military support is going to be required on both sides of the border as the summer heats up.

Brendan O’Neill, editor of Spiked Online, says No

The way people are talking about the Calais migrants, you’d think that they were a chapter of Isis. They’re trying to “storm” Britain, papers say. Tory leaders have held Cobra meetings, basically putting Britain on a war footing. All in response to a measly 5,000 migrants across the Channel, a few hundred of whom have crossed in recent months.

Some desperate people, from dirt-poor African countries or war-torn Syria, get to Britain, and we lose the plot. New York famously asked the world to give it their “huddled masses”; we see huddled masses and virtually declare a state of emergency. What illiberal meanness.

Much of Britain was built by Irish sweat, is nursed with Nigerian care, and has hospitality provided with a Romanian smile: migrants make this nation tick. We shouldn’t send soldiers to keep out the Calais hopefuls; we should send a welcoming committee. Let them in to do what they long to do: be safe, work, live.

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