Sangatte offered a launching pad to hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants to try again and again to enter Britain illegally. It therefore drew many migrants to Calais to try an illegal crossing into our country.
Over a decade on, France’s establishment of Sangatte Two, is a terrible defeat for this government’s immigration policy. The French have ignored the pleas of the Prime Minister, his ministers and successive UK governments.
When I asked the minister what the effect of this new camp would be, he said it was a matter for the French authorities. However, he will have tried to stop the French building it and, like me, he knows that it can only result in a further surge of illegal immigrants coming our way.
For the French too, as I saw on a recent visit to Calais, building a new camp will only make the situation worse.
It can be heart-breaking to meet the bands of mainly single men from Africa who sleep out around Calais. However, supporting illegal immigrants in camps, while they try to break into the port and hide under lorries, or even in the back of returning tourists’ cars, will only attract more.
What the French need to do is to get tough with their EU partners with whom they decided to share a common borders area called Schengen. The UK decided to stay out for now, but it affects us nonetheless.
In Calais I met one young man called Peter. He told me he had come from Eritrea via Libya, where Gadaffi no longer stops the boats, to Italy.
Peter landed on the Italian island near Africa called Lampedusa. Rather than dealing with him there or sending him back to where he had come from, the Italians took him to the city of Bologna in northern Italy and left him by the railway station.
Inevitably, Peter caught a Bologna train to Paris, and on to Calais. Peter then tried night after night to cross to Britain. I suspect he now has.
The EU and human rights laws are not working. It is time we became independent, so we can better turn back illegal immigrants, but also insist EU migrants meet UKIP’s skills based, Australian style points based immigration system.