I am grateful to BBC Radio Kent for taking me to Calais to see at first hand the struggle to secure our border.
I was taken to meet some of the immigrants, mainly it seems from Africa, who are camped out in their thousands around Calais, in extremely basic conditions, trying to make their way to the UK.
Many different factors push or pull illegal immigrants to attempt to cross from Calais to the UK, including for some the respective benefit regimes. However, the number one factor struck me as being the English language. Many of the migrants to one degree or another speak English, while few speak French, and without French they do not believe they will be able to get a job, or perhaps even basic benefits, in France.
Peter from Ethiopia told me about his passage through Sudan and Libya before a perilous crossing by boat to the Italian island of Lampedusa. From there the Italian authorities took him to the city of Bologna and left him near the railway station, where he got a train to Paris and then Calais.
Rather than just focus their ire on the UK because immigrants want to come here, the French should put real pressure on the Italians, since it is the Italians with whom they have chosen to share a common border area within Schengen. How can that be sustainable if the Italians just wave migrants through?
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It is an honour to represent the Rochester and Strood constituency since being elected as our MP in 2010. I enjoy the opportunity to assist many of my constituents with a wide range of problems. I am sometimes able to use my position to assist constituents personally in situations where the constituent feels they are being treated unfairly by intransigent bodies or powerful individuals. Whist I am not successful in all of my efforts on behalf of constituents, I always try my best to deliver the best possible outcome.n
I was elected to represent my constituents in Parliament – not government in my constituency. Much of my time is spent dealing with local constituency matters but, as a Member of Parliament, and particularly as a member of the Home Affairs Select Committee, I also have the opportunity to focus on some of the big national issues which are of importance to my constituents – immigration, crime, policing.
Over the bank holiday weekend I have been speaking on a number of these issues on local and national media and some of these are reproduced below. If you have an opinion, let me know by leaving a comment below or get in touch.
On Islamic Extremists
On Border Controls
Posted in Home Affairs Select Committee
Tagged conservatives, Crime, Europe, Home Office, human-rights, islam, mark reckless, Medway, politics, Prisons, rochester and strood
Speaking to Channel 4 News, Mark Reckless, MP for Rochester and Strood and home affairs select committee member says there is a feverish atmosphere at Westminster over child sex abuse allegations, and suggests that the home secretary should perhaps have gone further.
Mark Reckless MP questions the Home Secretary, Theresa May following announcement of child abuse inquiry:
Mark Reckless (Rochester and Strood) (Con):
The Home Secretary mentioned political parties. On alleged child abuse by past or present Members of Parliament, will she confirm whether the inquiry will consider any allegations or evidence held by the Whips?
The intention of the inquiry panel is to be able to look as widely as possible at these issues. I should perhaps clarify a point: the inquiry panel will not be conducting investigations into specific allegations, which would properly be matters for criminal investigations. It is looking across the board at how these matters have been approached in the past and asking the question—I intend this to be drawn quite widely—whether the proper protections for children were in place, and if not, whether those gaps still exist today, and if so, what we need to do to fill those gaps. I expect as much information as possible to be given to the panel to enable it to achieve that.
The so-called Skullcracker has run rings round the criminal justice system for too long.
He absconded from an open prison on the Isle of Sheppey, having been given a minimum tariff of just 8 years despite having been sentenced to 13 life sentences for armed robbery, and within days committed another armed robbery in South-west London.
Now he has pleaded guilty to that armed robbery and, under the sentencing guidelines, is likely to be entitled to a third off his sentence for pleading guilty.
Why should offenders like the Skullcracker gets such discounts off sentence when they have committed a crime on licence and it has been recorded on camera.
Judges must decide individual sentences, but it is time the sentencing guidelines under which they operate were set, not by a quango, the Sentencing Guidelines Council as at present, but by a Committee of Parliament that would be accountable to the public.
Mark Reckless, MP for Rochester and Strood, joins Tony McNulty, former Labour Minister for Policing, and Jeremy Paxman on BBC’s Newsnight to discuss Theresa May’s speech to the Police Federation highlighting the urgent need for real reform in policing.