The media concentrate on two main stories today.

Calais migrants

The first is the continuing problem of migrants trying to get to the UK from Calais.  The BBC quotes a Sunday Telegraph piece: 

In the Sunday Telegraph, Home Secretary Theresa May and her French counterpart Bernard Cazeneuve said the situation was a “global migration crisis”.

Migrants in Calais are making nightly bids to cross the Channel.

The appeal comes as more details emerge of bolstered security measures agreed between the UK and France, including extra private security guards.

The measures planned for around the French end of the Channel Tunnel, which also include more CCTV surveillance, French police reinforcements and extra fencing, were agreed in a phone call between Prime Minister David Cameron and President Francois Hollande on Friday.

More than 600 French riot police have already been deployed to Calais to work alongside local police.

ITV also quotes the Sunday Telegraph.

Home Secretary Theresa May and her French counterpart Bernard Cazeneuve have called on other EU nations to tackle the root causes of the chaos in Calais.

They suggested that the long-term solution to the problem would be to persuade would-be migrants hoping for a better life in Europe that “our streets are not paved with gold”.

The comments were made in a joint article for the Sunday Telegraph.

Sky News goes for its own take on the story.

Hundreds of migrants stormed the Channel Tunnel overnight, pulling down fences before being halted from crossing to Britain by riot police.

Around 200 migrants broke through several layers of security before approaching the tunnel entrance.

As the migrants scrambled down to the final fence line, dozens of police arrived to back up the military.

The migrants and security forces faced off for close to an hour, with the migrants shouting slogans including: “Open the border” and “We are not animals”.

And Breitbart has a video of the migrants’ attempts.

Thousands of people have tried to reach the UK via the Channel Tunnel over recent months.

Breitbart also reports hauliers’ claims that the country could face food shortages this summer thanks to the growing migrant crisis in Calais.

Freight trucks have already faced severe delays, with queues now five miles longer than the Channel Tunnel itself, as they try to cross into Europe. Now haulage firms say the delays could cause shortages of key supplies, thus causing food prices to shoot up.

The Daily Mailreportsthat some truck drivers have been stuck in their cabs for days, requiring emergency food and water supplies as well as chemical toilets. At its peak, the queue reached 36 miles and barely moved 500 yards in two days. It is now expected to reduce in length over the weekend, but many drivers will still be stranded for the next few days.

Jack Semple, director of policy at the Road Haulage Association, said: “It is really disrupting supplies. You can no longer guarantee supplies will be delivered on time.

“Companies importing produce, but also components, are switching to air freight which is more expensive. This will also push up prices.”

The Mail is one of those papers on a different tack.

Hundreds of migrants who have smuggled themselves into Britain from Calais are being put up in hotels at taxpayers’ expense.

Stowaways who have illegally entered the country on lorries or trains through the Channel Tunnel are being transported across England and given their own hotel room, three cooked meals a day and a cash allowance of £35 a week – all within days of entering the UK.

They are being accommodated in hotels boasting pools, gyms and spas even before claiming asylum, because official reception centres cannot cope with the recent surge in illegal arrivals.

But their presence has angered paying British guests, who have taken to posting reviews on TripAdvisor warning other holidaymakers that otherwise reputable hotels all over the UK have been turned into impromptu ‘refugee camps’.

After a week of chaos in Calais that has seen thousands of migrants trying to sneak into Britain – and hundreds succeeding – critics said the decision to house new arrivals in hotels was further evidence that Ministers have lost control.

The Government pays private companies £150 million to accommodate would-be asylum seekers after they have been caught by the police entering the country illegally.

But private contractor Serco has admitted that 100 recent immigrants are staying in hotels as an emergency measure because the country’s six dedicated immigration centres, built to accommodate 1,200 people, are already full.

As does the Express.

MIGRANTS who have smuggled themselves into the Britain from Calais are being housed in hotels at the taxpayer’s expense, it has been revealed.

Hundreds of stowaways are receiving three cooked meals a day in hotels boasting gyms and spas – along with £35 a week in spending money.

They have been spotted smoking cigarettes and talking on mobile phones in the hotels by holidaying families.

One migrant, identified only as Adam, was taken to a hotel in Lancashire after arriving in Britain stowed away in a lorry.

Adam, from war-torn South Sudan, said: “The situation is really good here, much better than the situations we have been through.”

He is now waiting to be given a lawyer so he can make a formal application to claim asylum in Britain.

The Guardian reports that the Church has attacked the Prime Minister for his lack of compassion.

The Church of England has made a dramatic intervention in the migrant crisis, delivering a stern rebuke to David Cameron for his “unhelpful” rhetoric.

Speaking with the backing of the church, the bishop of Dover accused senior political figures, including the prime minister, of forgetting their humanity and attacked elements of the media for propagating a “toxicity” designed to spread antipathy towards migrants.

Peers scandal

The other main story is the House of Lords.  BBC News quotes Lord Soley saying rogue peers should be suspended.

The House of Lords should have the ability to immediately suspend members who are accused of wrongdoing, a senior Labour peer has said.

Lord Soley, a former chairman of the Parliamentary Labour Party, said delays in taking action “magnified” damage done to the reputation of the House.

His comments, in a letter to Lord Speaker Baroness D’Souza, come after Lord Sewel resigned from the Lords.

He quit after being filmed allegedly taking drugs with prostitutes.

Lord Soley wrote: “It is my belief that the damage done to the reputation of the House is magnified by any delay in taking action. Delay ensures the story will run continuously in the media.

“I know you acted quickly in making a statement about Lord Sewel but I think we need to establish a method for imposing a quick suspension of a member. This is important for the member as well as the House.

“The damage done to the reputation of the Lords could have been less if we had been able to suspend Lord Sewel as soon as the story broke. That change can and should be made. It is what any other organisation would have done.”

ITV also quotes Lord Soley.

A senior Labour peer has said rogue peers should be immediately suspended from the House of Lords when scandals break. Former chairman of the Parliamentary Labour Party, Lord Soley made the call in a letter to Lord Speaker Baroness D’Souza in the wake of the allegations against Lord Sewel.

The ex Labour minister resigned from the House of Lords after days of claims he took drugs while cavorting with prostitutes but not before David Cameron led calls for him to go and his party membership was suspended. The fierce row has prompted calls for wholesale reform of the unelected chamber of Parliament.

Lord Soley said the House had to be able to answer the question of why it could not suspend a peer immediately.

As does the Mirror.

We could just laugh at Lord Sewel, the careless, haughty peer who allegedly snorted cocaine with prostitutes.

Or we could create a merry new Christmas song: “One lord cavorting, two lords inhaling, three lords a-sleeping, four lords a-lying, five lords embezzling and a partridge sick in the tree.”

Or become cynical, and damn all politicians. Such reactions, though understandable, are worthless. This latest scandal has exposed serious rot in the House of Lords, a pompous, dysfunctional, fusty, backward institution.

We do have some extraordinary peers. They deserve better. As do we as a nation.

Some peers stop the government from becoming too intrusive or authoritarian and have high moral values. Helena Kennedy, Shirley Williams and Martha Lane Fox, Anthony Lester and some others represent the best of Britain. But they can’t offset the failures.


City AM reports Nigel Farage’s rallying cry for Eurosceptics.

UKIP leader Nigel Farage called on fellow Eurosceptics to “get cracking” yesterday as a major new poll from Survation showed 45 per cent of Britons saying that they planned to vote to stay in the European Union, compared to 37 per cent who said they would vote to leave.

“There is no doubt at all that the Yes side are in the lead,” Farage said yesterday in a speech in Westminster, adding, “We cannot allow Cameron to go into this renegotiation unchallenged, we cannot allow the Yes side to have the massive head start they have got.”

Prime Minister David Cameron has promised an in/out referendum on Britain’s EU membership by the end of 2017, following a period of renegotiation with Brussels. It is widely understood that if the reform talks are successful, Cameron and the government will push for a “Yes” vote for Britain to remain in the EU, while many questions remain who will lead the official No campaign.

Farage ruled himself out yesterday, saying that he hoped a business leader or sports figure would be the face of the campaign, instead, but blamed fellow Eurosceptics for staying quiet, saying they were giving the Yes camp a “massive head start.”

Breitbart also quotes Farage.

The United Kingdom is going to have a referendum on our membership of the European Union before the end of 2017. As somebody who has sought and campaigned for this outcome for over twenty years, I’m left in a state of shock that it’s actually on the verge of happening.

Even more surprised is our old Etonian prime minister David Cameron who pledged a referendum after years of denying one in an attempt to “shoot the UKIP fox”.

He is probably even more stunned than me that this referendum now needs to happen. It is to be an in/out referendum. But crucially this vote follows a renegotiation.

And the terms of that renegotiation are the key.

The Eurosceptic group in the House of Commons appears to be even more stunned than myself and the prime minister at this outcome. In fact they currently appear to be paralysed. The line given from some old time, long serving Tory and Labour Eurosceptics is let us give the prime minister a chance. Some have even said lets us not snipe at the prime minister in his attempt to get Britain a better deal. And herein lies the problem.

Dave is being allowed to set his own terms for the renegotiation. He is virtually unchallenged within the Westminster village. He has set his sights on changes to migrant benefits and perhaps on a good day, to repatriating some powers over employment legislation.

If unchallenged he is likely to come back with his new good friend Mr Juncker having made several concessions (probably after a very good lunch).


Sky News reports Nicola Sturgeon’s determination to have another vote on Scottish independence.

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon has warned “no politician has the right to stand in the way” of another independence referendum if Scotland backs another vote.

The First Minister has been pressed over whether a proposal for another referendum will form part of her party’s manifesto for next year’s Holyrood election.

There are concerns among supporters of the Union that another landslide for the Scottish nationalists could be used as a mandate for a re-run of last September’s poll, in which a majority rejected a split from the rest of the UK.

Speaking during a visit to Hong Kong, Ms Sturgeon outlined the conditions she felt would cause “a swell of demand for a further independence referendum”.

As well as accusing the Westminster Government of blocking more powers for Scotland, Ms Sturgeon also raised the prospect of an exit from the EU in the upcoming referendum, in which the SNP is calling for a Scottish veto.

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